When a show is all ages, you can expect two things to happen: one, the show is going to end early so everyone can make it home before curfew, and two, the energy is going to get very high, very quickly. Combine this with the fact that the performers are all under the age of 25, with the headliner barely over 18, and it’s inevitable that mayhem will ensue.
Such was the case last night April 18 when one of the youngest members of the 2013 XXL Freshmen Class Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew headlined the Beast Coastal Tour at New York’s Highline Ballroom. With performances from the Flatbush Zombies and Brain Feeder-signees The Underachievers, the tour entered its home stretch in its hometown with a raucous sold-out show.
The Underachievers opened up with the show with a simple question: “Who likes to smoke marijuana?” The crowd almost instinctively reacted with shouts of approval. UA, comprised of MCs Issa Gold and Ak, ran through a few tracks off their Indigoism mixtape including “Philanthropist,” “Sun Through The Rain,” “Gold Soul Theory” and their first single “Herb Shuttles.” They are also performed some unreleased material which the crowd was eager to hear. The audience was disappointed when they ended their brief set after 6 or so songs but the show kept moving with the Flatbush Zombies’ grand entrance.
Flatbush Zombies are known for being wrestling fanatics and they stayed true to their nature with member Juice providing the WWE-esque intro for trio. Meech got the crowd energized by saying, “I have an internal ‘Turn-Up Meter’ and it goes to 1000. Right now, you’re at -2.” The stage went dark and Meechy went into his Erick Arc Elliott-produced track, “Face Off”. However, the crowd was by far the livest when the group performed their single, “MRAZ”. People filled the stage while Meech crowd-surfed, which he apparently did at every show during the tour. Unexpectedly, numerous blunts were passed between the audience and the performers. With guest appearances from World’s Fair’s Remy Banks and New York’s own Tan Boys, the Zombies never failed to entertain.
Following the Zombies, Pro Era’s official tour DJ Statik Selektah took the stage, prepping the crowd for the headlining Joey Bada$$. He kicked it off playing classics like the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” among other. Hot 97 DJ and known hip-hop aficionado Peter Rosenberg came on stage to greet the crowd and speak to the importance of shows like this that feature New York artists. Then, Joey came on stage alone rocking a simple black Pro Era shirt and performed songs like, “Waves” and the MF Doom-produced “World Domination”. He was soon joined by his fellow PE members including Dessy Hinds, CJ Fly, Chuck Strangers, Nyck Kaution, Dyemond Lewis and Kirk Knight. Each performed his own solo songs off of the collective’s P.E.E.P. The aPROcalypse mixtape, like the fan favorite “School High.”
The night would not be complete without recognizing the loss of Pro Era founding member, Capital STEEZ. With the lights low, Statik Selektah asked everyone to put their lighters up in homage to STEEZ. This was followed by a performance of “Like Water,” which features an opening verse from the late rapper. The evening concluded with everyone rushing the stage, including spectator Wiz Khalifa.
I think the kids can happily say they got their money’s worth and still didn’t miss curfew. It’s the Era, no error. – Written by Abrea Armstrong (@abreaknowsbest)