In front of a packed, sold-out audience at New York City’s B.B. King Blues Club, the 2011 Freshman Class made their teachers proud last night (March 22) at the Hot 97-sponsored XXL Freshman Live Concert. And almost every performer brought a special guest to make their set that much more memorable.
Hot 97’s own DJ Kast One set the show off, warming up the crowd before West Coast up-and-comer YG brought his distinct California flavor to the stage. Running through his latest material including hit “Tooted and Booted,” the Compton MC was greeted by unanimous audience approval when he ushered video vixen Rosa Acosta onto the stage to join him.
Young Money’s newest recruit Lil Twist was up stage next, and anyone with their doubts about the Texas spitter were quickly surprised. Just hours after XXLMag.com debuted his new Lex Luger-produced cut, “At the Moment,” off our upcoming Freshman mixtape (dropping on the site for free download at noon EST) the mohawked young’n performed the hard-hitting track onstage, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. He also recited his track for the ladies, “Little Friend,” before recited his verse from “Loyalty”—a fitting prelude for leader Bryan “Birdman” Williams to show up on stage and show his support for the YMCMB rep.
Fred the Godson stepped into the limelight afterwards, beginning his set with his “So What You Sayin’” Freestyle. Wearing a huge Jesus piece, the sole New York
native from this year’s Freshman class showcased his witty punchlines in front of the hometown crowd, with audience members singing along to his verses for “Too Fat” line for line. The BX lyricist then brought out Harlem’s own Vado and the two performed their duet “Headbanger,” to an overwhelming response.
Rick Ross protégé Meek Mill followed. Rocking his Mayback Music Group chain, The Philly native performed Rozay’s “MC Hammer” as well as the song that started his relationship with the Miami heavyweight, “I’m A Boss.”
Diggy Simmons rocked the crowd next, jumping on stage like a veteran. He showed why later on in his set as he brought out his father, the legendary Reverend Run, who threw his rope chain over his son’s neck as they performed Run-D.M.C.’s classic hit, “King of Rock.”
Then crowd favorite Mac Miller burst into the forefront. Donning a black and yellow Steelers backpack which he wore throughout the night, the Pittsburgh MC bounced around stage to “Donald Trump” off his most recently released mixtape, Best Day Ever and “Good Evening” and “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” from last year’s K.I.D.S.
Up next was Atlanta upstart CyHi the Prynce. Boasting the longest guest list of any of his classmates, Cy brought out label mates Big Sean and Pusha T, all with the backing of DJ A-Trak on the ones and twos. Sean came out to screaming, die-hard fans when he slid onstage to perform the G.O.O.D. Friday track, “Looking for Trouble,” while Push—fresh off the release of his solo mixtape, Fear of God—took the crowd by storm to recite his verse from “So Appalled.”
Compton native Kendrick Lamar grabbed the mic from Cy next, along with his Black Hippy counterpart, Schoolboy Q who played hypeman during K. Dot’s rambunctious set. Lamar—who served as 2010 XXL Freshman, Jay Rock’s sidekick at last year’s show—brought the intensity level up a bit as he went back and forth with Q on favorites like “Looking for Detox” and “Pussy and Patron,” with fellow Cali rep YG supporting in the background, throwing up the West Side hand gestures.
Big K.R.I.T. and associate Big Sean were up next, bringing along a gang of mosh-pitting supporters onstage, including senior vice president of A&R at Def Jam and former G-Unit president Sha Money XL. The soulful Mississippi rapper/producer had his energy all the way crunked up as he performed “Return of 4eva,” “Country Shit” and “Just Touched Down,” even jumping into the crowd at one point to jump around with the people. Headliner Yelawolf, joined Krizzle onstage for the remix to “Hometown Hero,” at which point the Shady signee took over the reigns. Yela creeped back and forth on stage as he demonstrated his rapid-fire flow on tracks like “Good to Go,” “Daddy’s Lambo” and “Pop the Trunk.” The Alabama native closed out his set by bringing back out Cyhi, who returned back to the stage in a Yelawolf T-shirt to perform their collabo, “I Wish.” —Elan Mancini
View photos taken from the event below. Videos coming soon. Click here for more photos.
- big sean