Throw back Thursday (not too far back though) to last Saturday.
It was a rather gloomy weekend, for California. Following a rare rainy day, The Block Party LA seemed like a drag to attend — for that reason alone. Arriving was just as dreary, under the gloom of the sky, amongst nothing but warehouse buildings.
The Block Party LA was a mission, to say the least.
Hidden in the middle of Los Angeles, expectations were set fairly high, considering the headliner was Talib Kweli amongst other trail blazers like Curtiss King, Jake&Papa and (The Isley Brothers) babygirl — Alex Isley.
Let’s start with Alex Isley. Let me lay it out simply: this girl can saaang. This UCLA Graduate doesn’t need to bank on the fact that her father, Ernie Isley, and her uncles collectively make up the “Isley Brothers”. Instead, this woman is creating a legacy for herself with those vocal chords. Premiering her own tracks on stage, she ended her set with a cover to Bob Marley’s, “Waiting In Vain” — Alex Isley is the real deal. If you’re not familiar, get familiar. Peep this acoustic set:
Find everything you need to know about Alex Isley in the link to follow: Alex Isley
Slowly the crowd started to build as the mid-hours passed and before you knew it, a quick glance behind-the-shoulder settled in as the phenomenal R&B duo, Jake&Papa took the stage.
Naturally, these fun loving and soulful brothers brought the sun out to play with them too. It was incredible how much energy they laid out on the stage as they easily compared their sound to covers of the biggest 90’s R&B groups (i.e.: Jodeci and the likes). As we know, our upbringing is something invaluable — and these guys have been musicians from birth. Jake&Papa made it seem too easy to take all of their influence from Michael Jackson to Jodeci to Whitney Houston with a little bit of Tupac — and spread their love all over the stage.
(Side note: I had to try my hardest to keep my hands to my self in our interview.)Sheesh!
If you’re not following them on Instagram, you better get on it — because my guys tend to surprise their followers and drop the sexiest 30 second Acapella tracks, whenever and wherever they feel like it. Grab a little taste of “Black Opium” off of their album, Athena’s Erotica 2.0 which you can cop on iTunes right now. Watch Jake&Papa‘s chilling cover to Jodeci‘s, “Freakin’ You“:
During SXSW for Sway In The Morning, Jake&Papa put on an epic performance. Take a look:
Click on the following link to cop Jake&Papa’s: Athena’s Erotica 2.0
Curtiss King on the other hand, was a force to be reckoned with even before he jumped on stage.
The energy exuded from this man as he walked by, shined with nothing but positivity. If you need to be reminded as to who “Curtiss King” is — he is a Hip Hop Prince who originally reigns from C-A-R-son. With that being said, you can’t rep. Carson, California and not include TDE’s finest and Carson’s King, a.k.a: Ab-Soul. Come on now!
So naturally, Ab-Soul made a beautiful appearance on stage which the crowd went crazy for. (Make sure to watch the highlights at the end of this article, to catch the only one-on-one interview Ab-Soul did at The Block Party LA — with yours truly, of course.)
Furthermore, Curtiss King is a “jack of all trades” and his quick rise to the top can be found in his resume in his production credits with artists such as Murs, Noa James, Ab-Soul, Glasses Malone, Mack 10 and more. Curtiss King is key, to the future of Hip Hop.
Ab-Soul spit “Terrorist Threats” for Sway and Heather B on Sway In The Morning not too long ago, which he still remembers to-date. Peep it below:
[Fun Fact: In the exclusive one-on-one interview below at The Block Party, Ab-Soul reveals some real truth about Sway. Make sure to watch it and catch what he says!]
The day went by and the sun that quickly peeped out from the gloom, already began to set. Before we knew it, Talib Kweli ran on stage to perform an incomparable set, to anything I have ever experienced. I’ve been to Coachella and all of the major festivals, but this was something out of the ordinary. From a historical stand point, it was great to see the support from the crowd towards him as an artist — as everyone in attendance had seemed to truly invest their time in all points of Talib Kweli’s career.
Let me paint a picture for you: Talib performed teasers from each of his major hits like, “Get By” to “Never Been In Love” to “I Try (Featuring Mary J. Blige)” — throwing it back all the way to his collab. with Hi-Tek on “The Blast“.
Everyone in the audience sang along to each switch of the track as the DJ dropped the beat — with the legend, himself.
Due to the coincidence of his anniversary with his wife that same night, time was of essence and I wasn’t able to to get the sit-down I had so badly wanted with Talib. Having grown up in a 1 bedroom apartment with my sister and brothers bumping “Get By” to help us get-by while my parents worked 3 jobs; it would have been a dream to tell him how much he helped us get-by. Ya dig?
Nonetheless, it was a great experience to have had the opportunity to share his energy on stage.
Instead of my one-on-one with Talib, the night ended with a round circle, which included myself and just a few chosen individuals from the Children’s Defense Fund (CDFCA). Within this circle — everything that was to be said and shared would stay amongst the group.
To further explain what went down, participants were able to voice their opinions and questions with Talib. In return, they received his feedback on situations like police brutality, what influenced some of his lyrics and how the younger generation can make positive change against violence/domestic violence.
Needless to say, it was a very rare and beautiful heart-to-heart inner circle that was an inexplicable experience. Every single tear and conversation will be remembered forever, there’s no doubt about that. Sealed with a quick pic. with the headliner himself, the night had come to an end. Instead of being disappointed at what I didn’t receive, I reflected on the day and proceeded to look up at the rare stars in the midst of Los Angeles smog. It was then I realized,
“Sometimes being reasonably satisfied is more than enough.“
Let’s take it back, when Talib Kweli sat down with Sway to talk about re-introducing his album, Gravitas. Kweli went on to break down how money is lost from artists in the music business and why music streaming could hurt an artist. Listen to the man, speak!
While you’re at it — peep highlights of the event and my interviews with these artists, including an exclusive with TDE’s, Ab-Soul where he delves deep in the conversation and talks about his past with Kendrick Lamar: sleeping on the floor and eating nothing but Top Ramen and Chimichangas — to his views on K.Dot’s new album To Pimp A Butterfly.
Ab also reveals something really dope about Sway during our chat, you’ll want to hear it out. Make sure to watch the video in-full and listen closely: