In addition to great films, one of the best parts of the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival is the discovery of new music talent performing in venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. The amount of artists and bands performing at any given time is a bit overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Ironically, I came across a brief write up on CMJ ‘09 in TimeOut New York that helped guide me on a few must see artists and bands. At the top of the list was Wiz Khalifa, a young rapper from Pittsburgh, PA. TimeOut New York labeled him as “sounding almost Kid Cudi–esque as he maneuvers effortlessly between crooning and rapping…” (Jamie Falkowski, TimeOut New York) Wiz Khalifa, whose name drives from “Wisdom” and the Arabic word meaning “Successor”, was performing at Brooklyn’s South Paw Tuesday October 20th before one of my favorite Hip Hop lyricists, Grand Puba at the same venue.
South Paw was packed almost near capacity. I was lucky to get a spot not far from the club’s entrance within sight of the stage. Once Wiz Khalifa stepped on the stage, screaming fans, majority young ladies, pushed to get closer to the tattooed up 22-year old. The energy from the crowd was overwhelming high, as they sang along with him several songs from of his mixtapes, including Fly High with a guest appearance on stage by Curren$y. Wiz Kahlifa included in his set, songs from his debut album Show and Prove, as well as his latest effort Deal of No Deal, slated for a late November release on indie label Rostrum. Some of the crowd favorites, Get Sum, Wassup, Ink My Whole Body, as well as Say Yeah, which charted Billboards Top 100 in 2008, are definitely must have tracks on your iPod. His sometimes electronic inspired and heavy bass driven beats accompanied by his quick and smooth flow, makes him a must have on your party playlist.
Wiz Khalifa’s new school vibe did not over shadow his Hip Hop predecessor, Grand Puba who took the crowd back to his 1992 with his appearance on What’s the 411? the closing track from Mary J. Blige’s debut album of the same name. Grand Puba was later joined on stage by Sadat X and Lord Jamar for a Brand Nubian reunion. Their performance was a walked down a Hip Hop’s memory lane performing classics such as Slow Down and Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down.