After the Fact (#ATF): #UnitedWeJam
By: Arthur Fantastic
I pull into the perfect spot. Free. Three blocks away from The Abbey, the venue I where the #UnitedWeJam show is being held. I light up a bowl and take swig of my flask.
Every time AmIAm (IG: @amiamhiphop) rocks the mic, I have to attend; it’s like watching a young a Bruce Lee, but, like… emceeing. Killing it. I message him earlier in the day and he said it’d really set off at ten. So, I can just take my time and chill.
DaVinci (FB Page), who I just saw SMASH his set at the Florida Music Festival with Chakra Khan, is performing as well. So, naturally, I’m excited as a mu’fucka.
Couple blocks walk, I ask someone where it is (haven’t ever been there sober and saving the battery for snapchat – @ArthurFantastic), one block over and I’m in front. Step up the door man and he cards me. Doesn’t even believe i’m TWENTY ONE! Baha! I get “X’s” on my hands and, in shock, walk in.
I feel awkward, trying to get my bearings. “Wha’ the fun jus’ happened?” I say to myself in a low voice.
I look around to see if I see any of the scene’s fixtures. Everyone is facing the stage where Blak le Indigo (that’s his FB Name: “Blak Le Indigo” – His FB Page) is rocking the stage with the very Jazzy Joe (IG: @jojobassista) on the bass and the lovely Tyla on the drums (IG: @thisistyla). It’s so smooth, but clearly unrehearsed. It’s funky and live as FUCK!!! I love it! It feels more like a house party than a show.
The venue is reminiscent of a “speak easy” jazz club. Table seating, is available. Low, blue-ish hue to the lighting with candles on the table accenting. There is a large open space to dance and to vibe with the band. I can’t look at the bar, which seems nice – instead, only staring at the back of my hands propped up on a railing in front of me. “What?” I intend to get drunk one way or the other.
Blak Indigo is fire. Period. Jazzy is bow-wow-wow, all over the bass. And: the drums! My heart. Please, someone turn up her bass mic so my heart can recognize it’s beating. <3 They trade the mic, all performing a lil something. I’m blown away. The more it goes on, the more it makes me wish it WAS in a house.
I’ve argued many times that if Orlando was represented by anything, it’d be a house party. The vibe here is so free, so open. The way they just jam and make music on the go is… honestly, awe-inspiring.
Aight, if they reading this, though: “You aight”, kay? lol.
So, one of the hosts Kendall “KDNY” Josey (IG and Youtube: @chocolateKNDY) comes on stage and… I’ve fallen in love like twice and I can’t DRINK!? DX Well, she’s super in control of the mic and slammed out in a white, body hugging dress with tall, white heels… Slay! Quick to jump in with the band!! Damn, this is dope. Some issues which take a couple moments for the engineers to catch up and fix, but the show continues.
She introduces the first act: Project SPIT (IG: @ProjectSPIT), a collective of neo-bohemian, spoken word poets. Sharp, as another artist Elsha later puts it. The energy exudes from their area which positions itself right next to the stage.
Getting into it, I come closer to hear the first poet. He’s suave and I enjoy his first poem. No music accompaniment – just straight knowledge. Suddenly, someone slaps my chest. I turn to look – It’s RO Williams!! (IG: @raw_spk) (Yes, THAT RO from my first article). He had just gotten there and was looking around. We dap each other up; a lil chit-chat about what happened at Austin’s the week previous (to be written about in another article); I tell em about the “X’s” and we laugh about it. “That’s a good problem to have.” Applause for the poet. RO breaks off to get a drink. I try to get closer for the next performer from Project SPIT: Soul.
That’s all I can say about Soul (IG: @yannasoul). Super sexy, deep v cut dress. Sultry. She kicks it on the mic, first with a spoken word. Then, she and KNDY do a song together! I can’t remember the name! I’m gonna get shit for that. Unfortunately, there’s an issue with Soul’s mic. Luckily, I’m right in front of her, snapping the entire verse. They finally get her a mic once her verse is over, of course, but they both kill it. They finish up, and it’s on to the next one.
I need a cigarette, so I step outside and link up with RO. I got a flask in the car, so I ask RO to come chill with me for a min. I catch up with him about his music – he’s finishing up some work on his project and it’ll be dropping soon. I can’t wait to hear it. Get to the car. Smoke. Flask. And back to the venue.
I’m back outside the venue, smoking a cigarette. I meet Red Sky (Soundcloud: Red Sky 360) who is a producer and artist who’s taking a “sabbatical” for the moment. Mad cool dood with a dope vibe. We shoot the shit and talk about hip hop (which has been doing since he was 12) and Jersey (originally he’s from Perth Amboy, I’m from North Bergen). Kristen is there (IG: @krit_mo), a fellow Hip Hop head who I hadn’t seen in forever!
I see AmIAm and head inside to say “wassup”. He laughs, bewildered by the “X’s”. We scope out the place as we converse on the show. He had just got there. Deuce (IG: @Chefboyrdeuce – I love that IG handle) and Official come up – some cool cats and fellow Hip Head heads. Short intro, we share a couple laughs, and the performer ties our attention.
Kayland (IG: @queenkzilla) is laying down some Rhythm and Blues, and I’m suddenly whisked away to a seat. Eyes on Kayland. She’s definitely got style. The crowd really loves her. Her final song is “lit”, as they say, with two dancers weaving a choreographed dance with the impeccably performed track.
I’m back outside for a cigarette. I complement a guy for their “Nosis” shirt and realize: IT’S NOSIS (FB Page). Dood has some KILLER shows coming up at the Cannabis Cup out west and Mega Sesh in LA which I just about shit my pants in response to. We talk about music, his recent performance at BackBooth and today’s streaming oriented system. Time moves fast and we’re all trying to keep up and figure it out.
I’m back inside and AmIAm is cohosting. Everyone, Blak, Am, and KNDY all kick some free verses as they jam together as the next act gets ready. I’m right up next to the stage, taking in the vibes. People are nodding to it. Man, if it was in a house – people would be going CRAZY. I wish more people were dancing. That’s my only criticism xP I WISH it was in a house. haha.
FINALLY, the next act: Elsha (Soundcloud: IAMELSHA), gets on stage. [NOTE: I missed Blue November’s performance – Soundcloud: blunovember] Elsha has got a raw emotion thing going on for him. You can hear and feel the rawness in his performance. His music is about his struggle and come up. You can tell it is very deeply felt music. His set is fast because he arrived a little late…
DaVinci is up next. How do I describe a DaVinci set? If you took Daft Punk, a Swizz Beatz drum pad-type live performance, toss in technical solos via a Peter Frampton voice box, and mix it together with the super free DaVinci style – and, BAM, you got an IDEA of what is happening. Killer set. Everyone has their phone out and recording this masterful performance. Crazy. You just need to see it happen in person. Meanwhile, in the audience, Am slides me a drink and says to finish it; a moment later, he turns back and I hand him an empty cup. “DAMN!” he exclaims, half laughing. I chuckle about it. I wish I could drink more.
As soon as DaVinci’s is done, and the crowd finishes it’s applause, AmIAm is ready to perform his set. AmIAm is so. fucking. pro. I remember one time, coming in to his show at Bullitt Bar and hearing his track playing and thought, “wow, this is ill!” Next thing I know, AmIAm is making his way through the crowd – PERFORMING IT! His breath control and presence is SO. CRISP.
His set pulls the remaining audience right up to the stage. People are feeling his old school style with his fresh flow. Everyone, once again, is up at the stage with their phones out recording. AmIAm asks if there is any boys – OF COURSE, I have to come up. I ain’t warmed up, but fuck it. Not ONLY does AmIAm rap his verse, he throws down an ILL breaking set. I follow up with a couple sets as he finishes up. Man, I need I practice! xD *sweats nervously* But I actually get a couple daps despite my displeasure with my sets.
AmIAm does a song for his mother, who is in attendance, and passes out some CDs of his new album he just dropped. He closes it out with a few more good ones and they close out the show with another jam. This time though, it is open for anyone to join in and spit a freestyle/sing a free verse.
They kick it till they cut out the sound and the lights come on. lol. At this point though, it’s all love and the atmosphere is super chill. Everyone is thanking everyone and conversating on the numerous moments of the night. KDNY, [NOTE: she is so cute!] is gracious enough to bless me with a show itinerary to help me with my article. I find myself talking to Belen (IG: @pyro333maniac) and Maury (IG: @epowxgram) both photographers who will definitely have some stuff on IG from the event [NOTE: Check it out!].
As the people are piling out, I link back up with Deuce who shows me some footage of me breaking, xD *sweats nervously*. He pontificates about the good ol’ days of the AKA Lounge and “Boiler Room” battles. He talks of a young MaddIllz I eat it up. I hear about those places all the time, but wasn’t around to attend. We continue to talk and move outside of the venue. Deuce and I continue to talk about ish, as we wait for AM to finish up with everybody. Tyla walks by and I grab her attention. Oh my gah. Marry me.
Deuce calls me Stephen Curry with the game and I laugh. “I wish,” I reply in jest.
The last person I meet is Jun (IG: @Thebeatministry), another hip hop head. Somehow, Deuce, Jun, another dude, and I find ourselves talking about Turbo Grafx 16 and the original Street Fighter. Like, ORIGINAL, original. Rye or Ken (player 2) – and that’s it – Street Fighter (a.k.a.: *shit you not* Fighting Street).
Everything wraps up and Deuce, Am, Kristen, and I all dip out to Gringos Locos in the Milk District where we hang out till the wee hours of the morning. Mu’fuckers are hilarious. Hope to hang with em again!
Great event, can’t wait for the next oneeee!
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