Over the years the hip-hop/rap world has seen it’s share of fame and misfortune, from kicking out icons such as Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, L.L. Cool J and Ja Rule, to the tragic deaths of rap legends like Tupac and Biggie Smalls. But one thing remains true, hip-hop continues to rise its way to the top, and according to the Neilsen Music 2017 Year End Report, has become the dominant genre for the first time ever in history. Like any music genre, change is inevitable over time and generations of new artists arise, with new flavor and thirst for notability as they follow in the footsteps of their inspirations.
On January 10,2018, Baltimore Soundstage turnt up and touched down like a tornado from the old school, the new school, the house party like its high school, sounds of hip-hop with Ja Rule, Boogiie Byrd, Donnie Breeze, Duck Myers and Jay Money Hackett.
Starting the show, was Maryland native Jay Money Hackett (Wisdom Court Entertainment,) and fellow destroyers on the mic, Tyler House, Cameron Brown, Billy Lyve also of Wisdom Court Ent. and DJ Anchor The Bank If, as they came on like a wrecking crew with intent on sending the house to the level get-hype-or-go-home. With ease, Jay Money and Tyler commanded the attention of the whole room. At one point Jay jumped down off the stage to join folks at the barricade to rouse the crowd. They held drinks in the air and others danced in place and the party had just begun.
Next up on the mic was Baltimore’s own Duck Myers (Rageaholics) and Rah Black(Rageaholics), with Fif Shang and DJ Fattz. Squaded up with a DJ in tow, Myers and Black played the game and leveled the rap playing field and as they flexed their lyrical-licous rhymes and dope beats, they delivered the unreleased “I’m A (RAGE)aholic.” From the windows to the wall, the hipocolyptic showdown took on a life of its own as the dank filled the air and flava flowed. Pumping out two more unreleased songs, “Leveled Up” and “That’s Me,” Myers and Black were shooting straight fire, not to mention “Keep It Coming” and my fave track of all “Like Stars,” are radioworthy tracks and could put Bmore’s local scene on the map and both artists headlining major shows. Fif Shang (EyeMindRecords) is no stranger to the stage, nor is he an amateur at his craft. With an album already released titled Shanguage, Fif Shang took the reigns right after Myers, with supreme dominance of the masses below. Red-locked and high-key, Fif’s swag on mic was as Gucci as the shades he wore, while performing “Hand I was Dealt” and “XXTRA.” As the music bumped, people jumped, right up to the next act to hit the floor.
Donnie Breeze, another hometown hip-hop hero, danced onto the platform along with his cousin Relloe1489, brother Donte(Gotti)Thomas, Tra Holiday and DJ Che’ Amour. Busting out first with “Dark Outside,” Donnie, Relloe and Tra, all part of the YHGM(Young Hustlers Getting Money) displayed the ain’t no party like a house party kind of theme. While they took turns on the mic, friends danced behind them in support as they conquered their surroundings and took control of the crowd. Breakin down the next round with “Facts” and “Switched Up,” the Greatness In The Making (G.I.T.M.) crew let loose on the playground with dope-ass beats. Ending with “Pull Up On Em,” Breeze and his peeps kept it 100%, proving their no strangers to the spotlights and the hip-hop life. Yet right around the corner, D.C.’s own Boogiie Byrd stepped into our sandbox and took over with his trill-icious lyricism.
Boogiie Byrd (Murder Inc. Records) is a name well-known in the rap/hip-hop community. Straight out of Washington, D.C. Byrd has gained a lot of recognition from the local scene finally leading to his signing with Chris Gotti’s Add Ventures Records to finally labeling up with Murder Inc. by brother Irv Gotti. Said to mix reality rap with hustle-hard bars, Byrd may be young but his talent tells a different story. He has released several albums, gained national status, charted on the Billboard charts and his music continues to gain viralty. But on the night of January 10, we were the lucky ones to have Boogiie & homies like Dex Diamond and Top Floor Roddy use our stage to pour knowledge upon. Songs like “Murda, Murda,” “Ok Ok Ok” and “We Need” put Byrd on genre map and at our front door. When Byrd claimed his throne under the bright lights, the threat of his floetry consumed the night. Like one continuous motion bodies moved in slow motion, as the atmosphere took on a kind of out-of-body notion. Byrd laid the rhymes with deliberate design until the last verse dropped on the present time. The end of the evening was coming to a close and every corner of the room was filled. Fans anticipated the arrival of Ja Rule by passing the time singing and dancing to songs played by the house.
Finally, Ja Rule walked out to an eruption of whistles and yells. Donned in all grey, and sent us back in time performing hits from my favorite time in hip-hop, the good ole early 2000’s. With a sold out show and the whole house in full attention, it seemed Ja Rules recent mishaps in the press were a thing of the past. Nothing mattered but letting go and living it up, as we were given all our favorites like “Ain’t It Funny” and “I’m Real.” Sounding like he stepped right out a video from 2001, “Put It On Me” Ja Rule sounded just like he did the day I saw the video on MTV. Every song he delivered echoed back by hundreds of faithful fans, as they danced and sang with nostalgia. Ja also gave us the 2009 hit “Always On Time” minus Ashanti, and the 2001 hit “Livin It Up” minus Case, both chart toppers, both performed with flawless delivery. Ja Rule held the crown that night, as he took us all back to a time when hip-hop took over our hearts and dominated the airwaves. As the years roll by and genres evolve, the rap game stands strong. January 10, 2018 was proof of that.
Ja Rule @ Baltimore Soundstage
Boogiie Byrd @ Baltimore Soundstage
Donnie Breeze/Relloe1489/Tra Holiday/Che’ Amour/Donte(Gotti)Thomas @ Baltimore Soundstage
Duck Myers/Rah Black/FifShang & DJ Fattz @ Baltimore Soundstage
Jay Money Hackett/Cameron Brown/Tyler House/Billy Lyve Williams/Anchor The Bank If @ Baltimore Soundstage