As the temperatures reached well past freezing, fans of all ages and colors, decked in vintage hockey jerseys, ripped jeans, and snapbacks, trekked through the New York winter on Tuesday night (Jan. 28) and arrived at Irving Plaza, the location of the NYC stop of Dom Kennedy’s “Get Home Safely” nationwide tour. To my surprise, the ratio of women to men was pretty even, as curly haired young ladies decked out in streetwear and beanies were littered about the crowd. The crowd was treated to a high energy set by the house DJs for the evening, DJ Zeke and Meka of 2DopeBoyz.com. With a mostly West Coast set list, the crowd was treated to the sounds of new acts such as Schoolboy Q and YG and the legends of the Left DJ Quik, E-40, and NWA. Great introductory performances by G4SHI and Bryant Dope followed, as well as a really dope show by NYC artist The Rapper H and his 5-man band. With Meka setting up solo accompanying pieces wit popular songs for each member of the band as well as the female vocalist, the stage was set for the show to go to another level.
Inglewood native Skeme set the table, and as someone who’s never seen him live, I can say that his showmanship made me more interested to hear more from him. And then, like a ’64 Impala chromed out on Vogues, Dom Kennedy hit the stage. Performing some of his early work from both versions of “From Westside, With Love” such as “Grind’n,” and “Play On,” transitioning to his critically acclaimed “Yellow Album” with “Still Elastic” and “Gold Alpinas,” and landing to his most recent work, “Get Home Safely” with “Honeybuns,” “South Central Love,” and his latest single, “Still Cakkin.” When he performed “We Ball,” the capacity-filled venue all sang in unison Kendrick Lamar’s verse word for word. It was then when word started to spread through the VIP section that we may be in store for a special guest appearance from the People’s
Sure enough, flying out of the back armed with a celebratory bottle of champagne, Kendrick Lamar graced the stage to “Backseat Freestyle” as the crowd exploded in cheers. Chants of “F*ck The Grammys” started to sweep amongst the crowd until Kendrick gave the bottle to Dom and called Skeme to the stage, letting people know that it was more than just music, it was a friendship, a bond of three men representing the lifestyle of an entire coast. I heard security exclaim “The package is on the move!” and just like that, he was gone. Dom went on to thank all of the loyal supporters of the O.P.M. movement, closed the show with “Platinum Chanel” and suddenly it seemed like it was a 75 degree day in sunny California.
Cory Townes is a Digital Content Producer born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, His work has been featured in Vibe.com, The Grio, RapDose.com, TheSTASHED and other media publications. For more of his work, visit www.CoryTownes.com and follow him on Twitter at @CoryTownes.
Photo by Anthony Blue