Once again, my focus is on my anxiety as a facilitator, not a rapper. We check out of the hotel in OKC, get gas, a light bite, and head to Tulsa. My wife Jessyca & don't really agree on too many artists to listen to on long drives (I like underground ass backpack rap, and she likes Beyonce and Jazmine Sullivan), so we always watch reruns of either Paternity Court or Judge faith as we swang in the slab. The mess & foolishness of it all keeps us alert lol. We get to Tulsa to the hotel and see that I done came up on a lick with Priceline paying $65 on a 4 star hotel. Get to the room, take a nap. Upon waking, I call all my guys traveling from OKC from the night before as well as Paid In AmeriKKKa who are en route from at Atlanta only to find they are all in the Town checked in their rooms, relaxing.
WE USED TO DO IT IN THE PARK...
For the last few years the city of Tulsa has done a Hip-Hop 918 concert in the park downtown. This event is an all ages free affair for the people, featuring local emcees as well as Hip-Hop legends. Jess and I parked and went to the park about an hour before our show to get some food. Upon arrival, we were able to catch Tulsa's own Hip-Hop legend and creator of World Culture Music Festival. Steph Simon, performing in front of a crowd of thousands. The show was hosted by none other than Big Daddy Kane, and had performances from Slick Rick, MC Lyte, & Roxanne Shante.
(Big Daddy Kane)
We were able to see Kane do "Smooth Operator" while we were waiting in line forever to order our food from a food truch, and man did all the older Black women cut up. Next he brought our Roxanne Shante, who did little to no rapping of her own songs. She mostly told the DJ to play all 70's & 80's hits and danced in way that only ya 55 y/o old auntie can dance. By the time we finally got our food and ate, it was time to head over to the venue to get set up for the night.
We finally get to the venue, I set my merch table up. This record store is really a record store with a nice li'l stage and speaker set up. Sole Lab sets up and gets to rocking immediately. If anyone knows me, you know I run a tight ass show. It's my stage that I was able to pick some of the talent for, and I am hosting and performing, but I wasn't given to the autonomy to run it how I normally do. I'm not complaining, it just is what it is. However, #CultureOverEverything as a concert series is well respected across the country because people know how serious I am about putting on high quality Hip-Hop events. But this stage is just one of many in a weekend full of stages, so I gotta go with the flow. I was not really given the info to communicate with all of the other artists who I didn't choose, so as the show is about to start I don't even know what the Tulsa people look like, so IDK if they are there or not. And all my guys are en route to the venue, like 20 mins before the show is supposed to start.
My nerves are bad as fuck.
Next I see my homie Lashae pull up, and she introduces me to Janira, who has been assigned to help me manaage the stage. Clutch af. I have her round up all the Tulsa artists. This is where shit gets interesting.
GO WITCHA MOVE
The first artist is supposed to go up at 9:50pm. It's clear that sis is extremely popular in the city, but young and inexperienced as it pertains to shows. Sister girl doesn't have her music on a flash drive to give to Sole Lab, and she didn't know who the DJ was to email it to him. Mike T asks for the wifi so she can email it to him, and it doesn't work. She emails it from another account, and it works, but the wifi is so shotty it literally started downloading, and never downloaded. She asks mic to go to youtube and get her music, and he was like "nah." So she storms off and leaves. I'm not sure what's going on while all this is happening, so about 10:15pm I call her to the stage to perform, and she doesn't come.
I TOTE STEEL FOR SITUATIONS LIKE THIS
So I launch in "#CultureOverEverything." IMO it was very sloppy, but I got the crowd to say the chant and stay in the room, so I guess it was aight. I was able to shake back with "Principles & Standards," with the crowd agreeing with me that "Real Emcees Dont Rap Over Vocals." Now I see the next act come in, and buddy is from Houston. He's actually rocking out pretty well, till he gets to one song where he raps over vocals.
Am I on Punk'd?
Is there really a rapper rapping ove vocals on MY #CULTUREOVEREVERYTHING STAGE!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Buttttttt, the show is poppin', and honestly, the dude can rap, and I just think he didn't have the proper show track.
Next up is a a local R&B singer, who was actually pretty talented. He had alot of female fans in the crowd, one particular non-melanated female who looked like she was ready to yeah with the yeah post performance. Next thing I know HE STARTS SINGING OVER VOCALS.
Whatever, the crowd is still packed, and it's a good set.
Next up is another young lady from Tulsa that told us that her set was gonna be different, and it was. She can really rap, she's a good performer, no rapping over vocals, but her music was really raunchy. In the era of City Girls, Meg Thee Stallion, and Cardi B, she's gonna WIN. she a crowd full of ladies twerking, chanting her sexually liberated lyrics, going nuts. Unfortunately this worked against us.
GOD IN THE BUILDING
If you know me, you know how I feel about Truth Universal. He is my rap uncle. My mentor, the first rapper to give me a shot when noone would. He's traveled the country, traveled the world, put New Orleans and by extension Louisiana underground/indie Hip-Hop on his back, and took us with him. When I couldn't get a show in BR, he'd book a show in BR and let me perform. Super important to my career, as I've met so many people because I was one of his pupils, and I've always tried to pay it forward. I was super excited to finally pay it back with this Oklahoma trip. The OKC trip was what it was, but I had a feeling that he would kill Tulsa based off the last show I had, and that this festival was such a big thing.
What had happened was, after the sister performed she took the WHOLE CROWD with her. Between that and the young lady who didn't get to perform allegedly slandering us and taking 50 people who she brought with us to another venue, my OG, the New Orleans God Emcee, got the lightest part of the night.
Recently, someone told me I was the "New Truth Universal," and I can honestly say that was the best compliment I've gotten in a long time. Truth was visably annoyed, but still rocked his set how a pro is supposed to. After he finished, I apologizied to him, and he told me it wasn't my fault, that there was nothing I could do about it. This is what happens when you front load a show with popular locals who are just kinda there for their friends. Spinster didn't have a bar, so there's not a whole lot of things to keep people in bnilding if they don't know the artists. The local artists where young, not the kinda types who are intersted in finding new Hip-Hop, especially underground boom bap conscious raps from someone they never heard of before.
I hate that the God caught the slim side of the show, but there was legit nothing I could do.
(Paid In AmeriKKKA)
Next was Paid In AmeriKKKa, who had had been outside politickin' with folks before the show, so they was able to bring people back in to get a little crowd. They had the crowd buck to "Ain't Talkin' Bout Nothin'" single.
If you've read my #RapRecaps, you know how I feel about The Monastery. They are my favorite group in this whole indie/underground circuit, stars in the making. The last #FadeTheFlowSundays they did in BR, Verse from Tulsa was there. He was so impressed he literally got on the Gram and told everyone to go see them. And they did not disappoint. Paco even knocked some damn speakers over while jumping off the damn stage lol. They didn't get the packed house effect either, but they put on a great set and gained fans.
WRAP IT UP, P.
The next part is tricky for me to write, because it involves a few friends. In the spirit of not being messy, I won't go there. But I will say during the last local act, a drunk dude was heckling the performer and asking for the microphone during his set, as he stood front in center. I felt my inner Ardmore nigga coming out, telling dude several times to chill, the last time with mad bass in my voice, damn near clapping out sylables. It wasn't till I stood up off the stool that he saw I was big AF tthat he shut his ass up. If he woulda kept up or reached for the mic while my guy was performing, he woulda got punched on in ther name of Hip-Hop.
Then, the perfomer stopped, slammed both mics down, and walked out the venue.
I quickly told Mike to run "Black God Fresh," because I was NOT gonna end my night like that. I did it, it went over decent, and ended with "Henry Clay," which prolly got me the best fan fare of the night. Thank GOD this show is over. My blood pressue was prolly through the roof lol.
Now the tornadao warning is in full effect and it's raining cats and dogs. Niggas ain't buy shit from me mane lol. While my wife broke down the merch table, I walk in the pouring rain bout half a mile to go get the van so wifey ain't gotta get wet.
Because that's my nigga.
We settle up with Steph, chop light game, head to Phat Philly's for delicious cheese steaks, go to the hotel for sleep. For the most part, all my guys where good sports the whole weekend. It was cool that I got to bring my Louisiana friends and my Alabama & Georgia friends to my home state to get a peace of the Black Oklahoman culture, and they all enjoyed themselves despite not rapping in front of thousands. I feel blessed to be able to share resources and bring my friends with me, but honestly it maybe too early. I'm with all the smoke, as I'm all about the opportunity, but I don't wanna waste anyones time or money either.
*And lemme say this, I 10000% am appreciate of having my own stage, and Steph and I have already spoken about what we are gonna do next year. Steph is my guy, and is doing great things in the Tulsa community with and without the microphone. Don't think for one second that I'm tryinna diss him or WCMF, as it is a great event and I'm super pround of him being able to pull it off. I just wanted to hightlight my anxiety as a facilitator, tell you what was going through my mind and why. If you've ever put on a show, you know what I mean.*
Venue: 4.5/5. No complaints on the venue. The store employee was super accomadating and extremely kind and patient as we asked her to do a million things throughout the night. I didn't catch the owners name, but he was super cool as well. I'm taking off .5 because it wasn't no alchohol or BYOB allowed.
Crowd: 3/5. When it was lit it was lit. when it wasn't it wasn't. That's all I got.
Sound: 4/5. Crisp af.
Merch: 0/5. Tulsa know they downbad for not shoppin' with a real nigga for shit lol.
Next Show: 6/7/19 in Mobile, Alabama.