[Photos by Ralph Bristout]
Despite the stormy winter weather that rolled through NYC last Thursday night (March 7), a celebration was very much in order inside the city’s legendary SOBs venue as Brooklyn mainstay Troy Ave held court for Hot 97’s Who’s Next Live concert series. On a night that couldn’t have been more of a coincidence for the rapper, whose known for that “It ain’t right, but it’s white and it’s right” content (coke rap), the snowy weather just added to the night’s merriment. Fans (including label execs) were aplenty, as many— some sporting the rapper’s signature ‘N.W.yAy’ memorabilia—packed out the spot to catch Harry Powder in action.
Comparable to a scene cut out of a gangster flick (you choose the film), Troy, who entered the venue stepping out a blacked-out Rolls Royce Phantom, hit the stage draped in full-length matching furs with his mother by his side all the while reciting his verse to “Last Rites” (off Troy Ave Presents BSB mixtape) with BSB’s Avon Blocksdale. “Everything I got in this world, I owe to my momma and coke…,” he opened before advising his leading lady that, “It’s about to get turnt up in a second.” From there, the BSB click (comprised of Blocksdale and King Sevin) did just that, rocking out to records off the their recent group ‘tape, as well as the man of the hour delivering a magnetic performance for joints off his Bricks in My Backpack series and White Christmas.
For someone considered a fast-rising artist, Troy sure worked the revered stage like a superstar. Exhibiting a champion-like charisma, the BK product kept the night’s momentum meter full as he ran through performances for well-known joints like “Shame,” “Chiddy Chiddy Bang Bang,” “Blanco” and more. He poured out Hennessy for fans during his “Red Cup” performance, paid homage to the late, great Notorious B.I.G. (two days before the 16th anniversary of the lionized MC’s untimely death), and even had the legendary Pete Rock spinning on the ones and twos. Troy’s guest-featured hooks for the likes of Fabolous (“Only Life I Know”) and Pusha T (“Road Runner”) also did the trick, as fans bellowed the choruses in unison.
The show’s big highlight came as Prodigy and N.O.R.E. (aka P.A.P.I.) both blessed the stage and knighted Troy as the next up for the city. Each performing renditions of their featured cuts with the rapper —including P’s “Dirty Martini” (off Bricks and My Backpack 2)—the OGs even had time to rock the crowd with their respective classics like P.A.P.I.’s “Superthug” and Prodigy’s “Quiet Storm” (sans Havoc).
Before he signed off, Troy took a moment to soak in all the love he was given from the crowd, special guests and the label reps. This was more than just a concert for the rapper. Given all the roadblocks that deterred his journey to get to this point, the night proved to be Troy Ave’s moment of triumph. Just like a song by his fellow Brooklynite, Biggie Smalls, the night was certainly a “Victory” for Harry Powder. Hello Brooklyn…—Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)