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World Wide Rollers Tour – LA and Philly

When I saw that The Smokers Club was bringing B-Real, Redman and Method Man, to stages all across America, I knew I was going to have to catch the World Wide Rollers Tour live. The tour started in October, in Providence, RI, & wrapped up in New York City tonight. Initially, the dates & locations didn’t look like they were going to work with my schedule, but, during the last few weeks, I was able to attend the show twice, coast to coast – once in Los Angeles and once in Philadelphia.
The first night was totally unplanned and unexpected, and it ended up being so much fun. I was invited out by my new friend (and favorite female rapper) Snow Tha Product. You met Snow when I mentioned her in my post about Soundset. I met up with her & some “Wokes” (her crew) and after some shots of Don Julio 1942 (Don “July,” as Snow calls it), we packed in the car (like some true Mexicans), put on some Banda Music and hit the famous Sunset Strip to catch the show at House of Blues, Los Angeles.

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There were definitely some notable faces in the crowd, including Southern CA’s very own Ras Kass. I mean, what can I say? It is Hollywood, baby.
We got to our place on the balcony, with a perfect view of the stage, just in time to catch B-Real’s set. Dr. Greenthumb did a great job of entertaining this (often labeled as) “too cool for school” Angeleno audience… This is his home, after all. Fellow locals enjoyed the performance of classics from the rather extensive Cypress Hill catalogue. B was dressed in his signature black attire and a throwback Los Angeles Raiders cap. It was a quintessential West Coast experience.

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After smoking out with their favorite, famous “stoner” to hits like Hits From The Bong and Roll It Up, Light It Up, the crowd goes a littleInsane In The Brain. My favorite part of the show was when B-Real played on the Ice Cube beef by incorporating Cube’s “stolen” version of Throw Your Set In The Air, which we all know as “Friday.”

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Soon it’s time for Red ‘n Meth to take the stage. These guys have always been such charismatic performers. They’re so playful & fun to watch. You can tell they really enjoy sharing the spotlight with one another. I’ve seen the guys live several times over many years & I’m thoroughly entertained each time. Their friendship and camaraderie makes for a great show.

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Redman is sporting a white terry-cloth belt from his hotel bathrobe. He explains that his belt broke, so he had to make due. Fans love it. It’s reminiscent of his MTV cribs episode from 2001… He’s still humble and simple… Nothing fancy.
Method Man lets it be known that he’s only going to give as much energy as he receives. This, of course, ignites constant crowd participation. The guys make sure to keep the vibe hype by jumping off the stage and into the crowd all throughout the show. It was a great night for hip hop fans.

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Before heading out, I got the chance to meet Laura, from B-Real.tv. She spotted the Woke gear and wanted to say hi to Snow. After chatting for a bit, I reached out to her about writing a piece for the show… a comparison piece on West Coast & East Coast, and thanks to her, I got to see the sold out show in Philadelphia last night…
When I arrived to the Theatre of Living Arts, the sidewalk was packed with people trying to get into the show. Apparently the box office had closed down after issuing a set of tickets to a large group. A long line of people who had already purchased their tickets via will call were now waiting for adjustments to be made because of maximum occupancy issues. It was not pretty…
I’m nervous, because I think I’m going to be late for B-Real’s set… Some nice girls let me hop to the front of the line and after about 30 minutes, the window opens again. After some “technical difficulties,” I’m finally issued a pass & I make it in in time to catch a few songs. Just like the fans at the LA show, Philadelphia seems to love B-Real’s performance. As I make my way through the crowd, I’m surrounded by people rapping along, bobbing their heads, and…”partaking.”

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The vibe on the East Coast is definitely a little different than the one back home, but it’s still all love. B-Real ends the show with his signature on-stage snapshot and says good night to the City of Brotherly Love.

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By the time Red and Meth take the stage, I finally get access to media areas and can enjoy the show from backstage. The guys stick to the same motto when it comes to energy: We’ll give you what you give us… So, when presented with the terms, the crowd gets louder & hands go in the air. Despite the complaints from Method Man himself, about the volume levels, the audience seems totally into every song. The guys are jumping off stage again and Method Man admits to hurting himself… But that doesn’t stop him from crowd surfing. These guys are truly committed to putting on a great show…

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In closing, they unite the crowd by asking everyone to throw up a “W” with their hands. They get everyone involved, even photographers and sound men. They do a tribute to Ol’ Dirty Bastard, fallen member of the Wu-Tang Clan and continue by remembering other legends like Biggie, 2Pac, Dilla, etc. Then, they share a powerful moment with us when they mention Mike Brown & where they stand. They ask everyone to put a “peace sign” in the air & when everyone holds up the well-known “V,” they ask for us to move our two fingers together, to close the gap & represent unity, without separation. Talk about moving the crowd… The guys said good night to Philadelphia and asked them to go out and make a difference in their communities, to be aware, to be smart & to overcome the concept of “us against them.”

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I’m not sure how tonight’s show went in New York, but I’m sure the guys went out on a powerful note, sending everyone into the holiday season with love.
If you were lucky enough to catch the guys on this tour, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Special thanks to Laura from B-Real.tv for allowing me access to the show last night & for introducing me to Aaron Cohen‘s music. Aaron joined the guys in New York tonight to close out the tour and to promote his new album “You Wouldn’t Know,” set to release on December 2, 2014. This guy has been working hard… He has 3 mixtapes under his belt, he’s toured around the world and with artists like Redman, Method Man, B-Real, Berner, Madchild, & Slaine. He’s gotten recognition with The Source Cypher , Mass Appeal , Sway in the Morning, and he’s performed at shows like SXSW. Aaron has surrounded himself with greatness. So, expect nothing less from him in the near future. You can pre-order the album here.

IMG_7678.JPG Photo by Danielle Sallah IG @bebedowntown www.bebedowntown.com

Follow Aaron on Twitter, Intagram and Facebook.

*Links for the other artists mentioned in this post are included throughout in the details above. Thank you all for reading & following along…

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday Season!

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Soundset

Where do I even start…?
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything is just perfect? Well, I just had a whole long weekend of that exact perfectness. Great weather, delicious food, awesome people & all-access to the most amazing music…
I woke up Saturday morning and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I was going to spend Memorial Day Weekend out in Minnesota to catch Soundset, the annual hip hop festival held by Rhymesayers Entertainment at Canterbury Park. I’ve wanted to go to Soundset for a few years, now. This year, it finally happened… on Sunday, May 25, 2014, I spent the day with 30,000 other music lovers at the sold out event…
During my flight, I met a few people who were headed to the festival for the Bboy Competition. I didn’t have any set plans during the day, so, they invited me along. We stopped at The Mall of America and rode a crazy roller coaster. Then headed to the 5-8 club for a famous Juicy Lucy burger.
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After lunch, I met up with the famous, Eddie Sancho, for some drinks before the Soundet Pre-Party . (I’ll share more about Eddie someday soon. Chances are, if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ve heard his work).
We’re having drinks at the hotel when Eddie asks if I’d like to check out the venue for tonight’s show… It’s at the legendary First AvenueThe house that Prince built – which has been around since 1970 and was featured in the film, Purple Rain. It’s stage has been graced by countless amazing musical acts. Of course I want to see it!

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When we get there, they’re setting up for the #BeforeSoundset show. It’s cool seeing the empty space & witnessing the calm before the storm.

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From there, we head over to the Rhymesayers offices. I’m so excited! This is where a lot of the (behind the scenes) magic happens… We get a private tour of the facilities, have some delicious local beers and grab some gear from the Fifth Element Store. Not to mention, I got to meet some super cool people!
We have dinner near the venue, and get ready for the show. Thanks to Eddie & the amazing team at Rhymesayers, Here’s a little glimpse at how the night went…

20140603-012118-4878694.jpgSlug (Atmosphere) made an appearance to introduce Step Brothers

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Rhymesayers Entertainment

20140603-023438-9278849.jpgBrother Ali

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Slug, Atmosphere

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20140603-023828-9508284.jpgEddie & Ali

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Dem Atlas

The pre-party definitely set the tone for Sunday… aka Soundset Day. I woke up so excited!
Let me start with the line up…

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from Veterans, to fresh new artists, to some of today’s heavy hitters, the wide range of acts consisted of both, men & women, representing various ethnical backgrounds. With DJ’s, B boys & MC’s on three different stages, a car show, graffiti wall, and skate ramp, there was something there for everyone.
I’ve attended a lot of hip hop festivals before this & I gotta say, this was, by far, my favorite one ever. (Ok, maybe the accommodations and all access pass had a little something to do with that). But, nonetheless, the guys at Rhymesayers really know how to throw a party. I’ll let my pictures do (most of) the talking…

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20140608-005046-3046926.jpgAfter a fun shuttle ride with a great group, we got there just in time to catch Snow Tha Product rockin’ the stage. I learned about her when I saw her on the line up a few weeks before. She’s a young Latina from San Diego and I love what she stands for. Don’t let the pretty face fool you, either, this girl can spit rapid fire!

20140608-011344-4424904.jpgEddie and I enjoying Snow’s set. In the background, (from our fun shuttle ride) is the talented G Koop, the man behind the live instruments on Atmoshpere’s Southsiders.

20140608-012236-4956522.jpgEddie introduced me to Maria Isa, another proud Latina, sharing her message through her music.

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It wasn’t long before I caught up with my favorite Instagram Photographer… Mr. Evidence was hard at work, running the Soundset ig account .

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And of course, these guys weren’t too far behind… Alchemist and DJ Mishaps

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Golf Carts were the preferred mode of transportation… Check out our driver! ūüėČ

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This girl, Alicia, made me feel like the ultimate VIP and took good care of me. She has a great heart & we became friends instantly.

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20140608-014328-6208230.jpgEven though we got there too late to catch their set, I had a chance to meet up with two of my favorite California kids, The Grouch and Eligh

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Monica, another find from the fun shuttle, introduced me to the sounds of (& the man himself) DJ Q Bert

20140608-015806-7086438.jpg I also had the chance to catch Rapsody move the crowd.

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Sky made sure we got to see the view from the side stage…it was amazing!

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I gotta admit, there were moments when I pretended the crowd was cheering for me… I felt like Selena! ūüėČ

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We caught the legendary Cypress Hill from the side stage…

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took a few pics…

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& made some new friends.

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This girl, Taylor, got lost from her group…she was all alone & one of the members of security allowed her access to the side stage so that she could try to spot them. How cool is that?

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I was 2 excited to see 2 Chainz! (See what I did there)? ūüėČ

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Cool shirt, bro

20140608-021423-8063118.jpgOpen container situation with Alc

20140608-021448-8088355.jpgCypress Hill!

20140608-021515-8115242.jpgMy fellow San Diegan & world traveler, Cros One was judging the Bboy battle.

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20140608-021711-8231349.jpgRan into my ladies from the plane…

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20140608-022447-8687342.jpgWiz Khalifa didn’t let being arrested in Texas earlier in the day keep him from performing for his fans. The crowd went absolutely wild when he took his place on stage!

20140608-023105-9065055.jpgEddie and I caught Nas‘s set from the Monster Tower…

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along with this unbelievable view of the festival!

20140608-023433-9273258.jpgThen, we caught up with Mr. Jones backstage.
*Eddie actually worked on Illmatic. The classic album celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year. Pretty cool stuff, right?

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Maggie, my doll for the day, was another one from the fun group on the shuttle. I had a blast with her.
*Shout out to DJ Abilities

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Soon, it was time for the main event… the hometown heroes from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, closed the show like only they could.

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20140610-181146-65506387.jpgPosing with the host of the event, Sway Calloway, before heading back to First Avenue for the official Soundset After Party…

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I’ve seriously always dreamed of experiencing a music festival in the capacity in which I experienced Soundset. Just hanging out with the artists, behind the scenes, in their element, among friends, family & comrades. I am so glad it finally came to be!
From this (once) small town girl, with big dreams, I encourage each & every one of you to follow your heart & seek out your passion in life. Chase it, hunt it, run after it with all your might. Your heart will never lead you astray… Once you know what it is that you really want in life, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Go after it!

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Shout out to the girls at Glam Doll Donuts for following their love & passion for music (and baking) & turning it into a successful business in such a sweet way!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. What is it that you really want in life? What’s your dream? Or has it already come true…?

*Special thanks to Eddie Sancho, Ashanti Abdullah, Siddiq, & the entire staff & crew at Rhymesayers Entertainment for an unbelievable, unforgettable weekend. Much love. Let’s do it all again next year!

Check out the Soundset 2014 Wrap Up here…
*at 1:39 in…don’t blink! ūüėČ

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