Wassup all. I hope those who have been checking out my blog have been sending teh word out to others about this. I'm trying to create an atmosphere where it's no holds barred on what I say and how you all will repsond to it. Feel Free to Post up when you feel
OK on to the town...Last weekend was the Missouri Black expo weekend and I partaked all of it. On Friday, I checked out the benefit gala and awards banquet at The Pageant. It was a sit down, black tie affair. I rolled up in there with a black muscle shirt and shiney aluminum blue jeans. I was not putting on a tie for that, no sir. Anyway, I was there to check out Najee who performed after the awards portion of teh ceremony. He was cool, but it seemd peopel were kind of laid back from all that fish, salad, vegetables and chocolate cake that was served during the event. He kept repeating to the crowd: Are you all right St. Louis? Are you feeling me? Thats not good. But I guess for a 35 and up crowd wearing their fine to do's they werent trying to sweat and get funky (except for the sista with the fetahered red mini dress that was too TIGHT and wring for that occassion). He started his set by playing his sax throughout the crowd (another omen-). I guess he had a notion that the crowd wa sgoing to be laxed after eating, but he played on like a trooper. He played some of his classic hits including the remake of Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" and "Betcha DOnt Know What's Goin On." The highlight was when he brought out a suinger name Shasondra and performed his 90s hit "I'll be Good To You" (originally performed with Vesta). She tore it up with all the notes that were unimaginable, but people for some reason were not into Najee's set. Oh well... Next up was the Hip Hop Summit After Party at Club Seven. It was bumpin a lil bit. The party was to welcome the panelists--including Russell Simmons and rapper Paul Wall-- who were going to speak at the Missouri Black Expo(NOT EXACTLY WITH THE EXPO, I"ll EXPLAIN LATER) on the financial topic, "Get Your mOney Right" that following Saturday. Anyway, I hung out with Miss Budda fly (love the scarf around your waist and insect shades) and my boy Kameron. We all walked in there as though we were related with shades and crazy outdfits to match (KJ, no we did not plan that). Anyway, up in there, Dougie Fresh was spinning serious East Coast jams as me and my crew trekked up to VIP where they had the usual food spread (chicken, fruit, meatballs, etc). While we were waiting on Russell and the gang, I spotted sevral local VIPS inclduing Kevin Johnson. Hollabackboi, Terrence, Sineta, Jacque and Leate LAnd, and Mr Anheuser Busch Johnny Furr (who paid for the free AB products that we parTOOK). Dougie Fresh made an announcemnt on the mike that Najee and Petey Pablo was in the house. He was here for Suge Knight;s Talent Search that went down at The Vault (I hear Suge was at Buffett's for a hot second--and I hear he has lost weight). I stayed up in there until about Oneish and then popped over to PAnama reds to check out T SHirts and Panties, a party event put on by X-Jam and all I gotta say is people must have forgot to wear underwear cause no one showed up. I thought for sure it was going to be bumpin especialy since their last party there a couple of months ago there. Oh well, keep your heads up and I'm sure teh next one will be off the chain. Meanwhile I hear Nelly(who was a no show at the Club Seven party) had trouble trying to get in a party at Formula(formerly Club Isis) thrown by DERRTY ENT's Topher on Washington. I heard that Nelly and his bodyguard Big B were told they could not park their vehicle in front of Formula by a StL female cop. The cop told them they could park behind the club, but not in front. Now the trip part about it was all other clubs had vehicles parked in front of their establishments, but the cops were not having it at Formula. Uh, color me racial, but that sounds like cops were profiling to me. Anyway, that didnt kill Nellys spirits for the Hip Hop Summit that he participate din teh following day at the America;s Center where he, Paul Wall, Chingy, Russell Simmons, penelope (where was J-Kwon and Dougie Fresh?) and Ben Chavis had a panel discussion entitled, "Get Your Money Right." It was OK , good information (REAL ESTATE is the key to your financial woes), but it wasnt liek last year when they had teh voting campaign going and it wa smore star power like Free, former host of 106 and Park, Loon, Dougie Fresh, Ruseell Simmons , Rev. Run, and Remy Martin. I had a chance to interview Nelly
and Chingy before the summit and they were cordial. Chingy said that he was working on his 3rd album "Hood star" and promottng his new artist Spliff who was next to him while doing his interview. A little shy, but I'm sure Chingy will school him about being a hood star. Nelly was nice and talked about going on vacation from all the success he;s had within the past year espcially promoting the blockbuster flick The Longest Yard. SPeaking of the Summit, it was not a part of the Expo this year which was puzzling. I hear that the Expo and the Summit split due to the fiasco of the Expo last year with the separate concert venue that occurred and alledgedly some oney was being pocketed and not given to the peopel involved in the concert and Hip Hop Summit last year. MMMM. no t good. Anyway, the summit was cool. Aloha, who was also on the panel, opened up the Summit singing showing teh crowd that she deserved to be on this years American Idol. I was tripping on Nelly when he said that he was trying to buy a car and they ran a credit check on him and that his credit did not clear and he was like, "What, what do you mean, I'm Nelly." The crowd laughed of course but I was liek, Okay, I think Nelly pee and shytt just like the rest of us. I also found it interseting that they had Russell Simmons sitting in between Chingy and Nelly who allegedly are enemies of each other (they even shook hands backstage for the media to take snaps of as though they were Maclolm and King)Anyway, after the Summit I rolled through the main stage area of the Expo where I caught some of the local talent. One in particular was rapper/singer Toyy. My girl got on stage and performed a song called Punk Ass Niggaz and the lyrics were talking about she didnt want no punk as niggaz and that she needs a man with some nutz on him. WHA THA???? I ran backstrage to get a stage manager and told her that she was up on stage cursing. Well, needless to say, they did a Sandman on her and told her she needed to get off stage. She was all excited talking, walked backstage with teh stage manager and she said she didnt know she couldnt curse and that it was a family event. Hello???. Now mind you, this was a family event, with kids and elderly in the audience and she said she didnt know she could curse. Yeah, and we all boo-boo the fool. They also had an Urban Idol where regular STLers coudl compete for 100 bones and perform before the headlining acts Faith Evans (on Saturday) and Whodini and Big Daddy Kane (on Sunday). Some folks who comepted were decent, buttehre wa sone guy who looked and sang liek Frankenstein and should have left Aint No Sunshine alone. The judges were nice saying that he needed to work on his stage presence and vocals. I woudl have said how about not Singing in public AGAIN. Saturdays winner was Ebony Wilson who's a music teacher for the St. Louis Public Schools (she also is the vocal coach for the play A Womans Worth that rehearsed here in St. Louis and is touring starting in Peoria this coming up weekend). ...I also had a chance to see the local documentary Hairkutt, about four St. Louis friends dricving up to tennessee at a cabin to help their friend Hairkutt kick his heroine addictyion. dirceted by STL director Curtis Elloitt, the hour long film was really good. The scenes where Hairkutt was detoxing was extermely powerful (and frightening at teh same time). I see why the film won several awards for his film... Other local sinegrs who performed were Spin City record artist Jzaneell (picture a dark skinned Ashanti sex kitten with talent to match); Phillipe who was a former semifinalist at American Idol thsi year (he gave you Lenny Kravitz style), and Coultrain who is a dreadlocked neo-soul artist with a Donny Hathaway voice. They also mentioned that he was opening for Mos Def at Toxic this Thursday (I should have a write up on that concert next week) . I ran into Arvin Mitchell, the comedian who was on BET's COmic View and Coming to the Stage last year. He gave me a comp CD of his phoney phone call CD, "Hello" (It is off the GHETTO chain, it will keep you in stitches --to order it, go to arvinmitchell.com) Then, Faith Evans rolled up on stage. She has really lost weight. She looks like Michelle from Destiny;s Child just light skinned with red and orange hair. She performed all her jams, but the puzzling part of her show was her bodyguard standing on stage looking out into the crowd as thoughhe was waiting to jump in front of her if a East Coast/West CAoast scenerio might have occurred. That was too much playing. Anyway, she showed people why she has withstood all the wanna-be female singers out here clowining withher big voice. She reminds me of the Clark Sisters with her shivering alto sound. On Sunday, I went to Ballys gym in Clayton and saw my boy Jacque who said he was supposed to be at the Expo sitting atteh 100 Black Men booth. I told him I was going there but I refused 2 be there all day like I did yesterday (from 10 am to 10 pm). I gotto the Expo around 4 p.m. I peeped some of the gospel acts like Praiz who performed his song "Lord Deliver Me From My-Self" (He had on this purple and black striped golf suit and hat that was TOO MUCH for the eyes can see). Also performing was Queen Isis Jones with Level Ground. She performe dsongs from her CD, "Woman Child". She did a decent job (she was wearuing thso ethick high heels, though). Everytime I hear her perform I get nervous cause sometimes she get excited while singing and is not sure of her self when she hits high notes, but she mainatained especially during the song" I'm Not Hurt." Before her set ended, she brought on STl rapper Potzee who performed"Good Evening." The crowd went bananas. They also had the other Urban Idol singers to perform. They were Purple King (she wore purple with a short BLONDE Afro!). She performed "What A Differnce A Day Makes." She was good . Nice smokey vocals. Next was Trinicia Combs who did a godo imitation of WHitney's "I'M Every Wman." She could sing, but no originality in my opinion. Last was Zina Bush who perfomed "Chain of Fools." It takes a lot of guts to do Aretha, but she was able to make teh song hers. (Oh by the way, it was good seeing the TALL and sexy Leticia Sims modleing atteh Ecko fashion show Saturday). The headliners on Sunday was old school rappers Big Daddy Kane and Whodini. They brought on the real hip-hop. Although they are in their 30s (Big Daddy looked a little full in the face, but still looks good), they didn't miss a beat on their rap flow. Teh highlight at Big Daddy's set was tribute to rap pioneers Jam Master Jay, Big Pun,. Biggei and 2 Pac by havinghsi dee-jay play snippets of their sings whiel Bilal's "Soul Sista" instrumental track provided teh background. Whodini's highoight was the whole show. they put on a better show than Kane, not to say Kane's was bad, but becasue Whodini is two rappers and Kane is one, made it better. The crowd was able to walk up to teh stage and interact with WHodini. One girl was able to recite every lyric to Whodini's songs. It was definietly a party train especially when they performed Freaks Come Out at Night. Overall the concerts were cool, not as good as last year with Brian McKnight, tamia, Fat Joe, Twista, and EnVogue, but it was do--able. FYI, I am about to start the first auditions for my talk show, Talk it Up, will be gioing down at the Vaughan Cultural Center. I'll give you the skinny of the audigtioners next week as well as a recap of the Mos def concert at Toxic.
IN the meantime, see ya outside!