Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Notherground Music Black Swan Wine Writeup on The Smoking Section

Words by Khalid Strickland

Lately I’ve been complaining about how the press gets treated and the indignities we tolerate to cover some events. So en route to the Black Swan Wines/Notherground Music “It’s Pop It’s Art” party in Chelsea, I burned a blunt full of sedatives and prepared for the media-list follies. But thanks to the good folks at Cornerstone Promotion, I gained entry quicker than a rap star propositioning Rocsi. They were stoked that TSS was in the house and to feel any more like a celeb, I’d need a dinner plate-sized, diamond encrusted TSS-logo medallion (mines is on layaway).

6th Sense, the head of the Notherground movement and the party’s host, kept TSS shout-outs coming as DJ Terry Urban manned the wheels of steel. The event was a graphic art show that also featured performances by Wildabeast, Jelani, Mekkadon, Che Grand, Faro-Z and Andras. Framed artwork adorned the white walls of the 532 Gallery, and the tiny space was packed with people. But no one seemed to mind the close quarters and the heat, being that Black Swan provided a seemingly infinite amount of wine. The bartenders were on their grind, pouring bottle after intoxicating bottle of Shiraz, Chardonnay and other varieties. I stuck with the Merlot ’cause it goes great with Kush. They even had cheese and grapes; had a aggin feelin’ all classy and shit.

Though there was some nice eye-candy sauntering around, the event was basically B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Broad), which was fine with me. My sexy lil’ photographer, Sachiko Kato, also doubles as my wifey (I put my chicks to work, son). The rappers in attendance did a commendable job, although the mics were kind of low. Farro-Z, reciting his underground hit “Clap Ya Hands,” didn’t seem to need his mic turned up; like most of us Brooklyn niggas he was loud as hell. Mekka Don, who divides his time between Cleveland and Harlem, got it poppin’ with “What You Talkin Bout,” an energetic ditty with a bouncy, southern-flavored beat. Che Grand moved the crowd with his clubbed-out joint, “City On Fire.” It was a little too “hip-house” for me but who cares what I thought; he got a good response.

Decked out in a preppy white button-up and a tie, rapper/singer Andras came prepared with some club-ready bangers too. Judging the audience’s reaction, Andras did a respectable job but I was too busy gawking at the two hot female dancers who accompanied him. The most flexible of the duo was wearing painted-on booty shorts and I was easily distracted, especially when she did splits. Kudos to Andras for knowing what sells.

Notherground artist Jelani the MC got busy performing tracks from his Wait, You Can Rap? (available for download @ his Myspace). 6th Sense dropped a nice cameo verse on Jelani’s song “Movers and Shakers” before joining Wildabeast’s set. Exuding lots of energy, Wildabeast the Hood Hippie spit fire over the kind of grungy, rugged beats I dig and it made me want to seek out more of his material. After the performances, it was time to premiere the new video for Wildabeast’s song “Many Levels,” directed by Adam Hall. In the video, Wildabeast is detaching his head and placing it on different bodies; I was stone drunk so it kind of freaked me out. But it was creative and I respect that. I would’ve filmed at least one Maybach and some bodacious video vixens, but I’m a zombie who’s been brainwashed by BET.

The party was fun and I was tore up by the time it was over; props to Notherground and Cornerstone for a job well done. I’m sold on that Black Swan wine… I’mma take a bottle to the block and post up in front of the bodega. Hell, I’ll even bring some cheese and grapes.


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