This past saturday became one of the most exhausting days with covering a huge event like this one. From waking up early and being on the road for two hours, to being at a high school for over 12 hours can take a whole lot out of you! In the end, it was all worth it. Seeing a few familiar faces, as well as seeing some of the freshest legends perform for a great cause is a great thing to happen. Sometimes you have to wonder, as a fan of the culture, how in the world did they get connections to pull artists like the ones on the flyer? I was glad to be a part of a good event for a great cause, yet there were quite a few errors that I’ve seen which could’ve been avoided. I want to try to be fair and honest, so.. here goes my challenge.
It was a unique day to be a part of if you were here at Santa Monica High School. The day started off with the weather being uncompromising with the vendors wondering if rain was going to determine the fate of the events that were to come. A hawk having to let go of his feast. Graff heads painting the Mobile Mural Lab in the middle of the quad. DJs setting up shop near each other with music clashing each other. For most people, it became a rough start trying to set up, seeing that the school wasnt properly prepared to provide power for most booths who required it.
Time was totally the enemy for the performers and the event organizers. The festivities didnt get started until sometime after noon with the panel discussion under way in Barnum Hall. It was an awesome discussion with the various speakers responding to the audience on different topics about the entertainment industry, which became one of the highlights of the summit. Things were going crazy on the outside, as folks were preparing for the fashion show that was scheduled to take place later.
Around 1pm, folks were starting to show up to check out what was placed before them. People were just taking a tour around the campus, seeing what the vendors had in store. For example, Junebugg had her Rappers’ Delight booth, where her treats paid homage to hiphop artists. Pow Shadowz & Armee had their Aziatic Arts (booth), selling bottle caps w/ hiphop logos of all sorts that fit the style of the individual who would be rocking them. The RCP had their booth distributing the Revolution newspaper and the new Constitution, which was pretty much a rough draft (good read). Scratch Academy was providing scratch lessons for up-and-coming DJs, plus a TON of clothing vendors (shoutout to AC the PD). There were a few arts & crafts booths around as well.
Now, this location [pic left] was the perfect spot for the performers to do their thing. This location was in the middle of everything, with the vendors being on both sides as folks either walked by, or looked on. This lasted for about a good couple of hours until it was time for the fashion show to get in full swing! Truth be told, I never knew where the fashion show fit into a ‘summit’ event, but somehow it worked! Hosted by VerBS, you had women and men rocking clothes from many different independent lines [shoutout to Beatrock!]. VerBS was performing as the ladies walked by struting their stuff, and giving a whole lot of attitude. Photographers were having a field day with this, as more people came by to check out to see what was going on. Before you know it, the fashion show had a nice size audience! Much props for that!
By the time 430pm came, it was reported that the vendors had to shut down and everyone that was performing outside had to end their sets, leaving those that didnt get the opportunity to get on frustrated. In addition, everyone was told to go inside for the rest of the evening (supposedly X-Clan was performing). Some people came from as far as San Diego and Ontario to get down, but end up having to return their equipment back to their car. School security, along with SMPD were rushing people to close up shop. In response to all the madness, most people left. The only evidence in that was for the fact that the people who went on inside didnt add up to those who were outside. Eventually, more folks came little by little as time begin to dwindle down extremely slow, with patience for waiting for the headliners to get on begin to wear thin. I, along with a few others, found myself watching my phone to check out the time.
Performers came and went. Bboys were practicing backstage. The event organizers were running around frantically, trying to maintain their sanity with cutting some performers’ set short [and omitting others]. It was bad,… really bad.
There was a breath of fresh air once Percee P got on the mic. He gave the audience what they wanted, getting respect from the young and old heads that were there. He continues to kill the mic each and every time he steps to it, garnering more respect from heads all over, as he gets applauded by all in the audience! Percee P continues to remind everyone why it’s important to stay grinding- he’s LIVING PROOF. As Percee P gracefully walks off the stage, Brother J [X-Clan] steps on stage to a huge applause. He kept the crowd entertained, going into the classics and ending his set with the “Van Glorious” quote.
Then, before you know it.. the audience has completely resuscitated.
“Move Back Motherfucka! The Onyx is heeeeerrreee!” was all that you heard once you saw them step to the stage! The audience was so excited that they jumped out of their seats and acted like they were participating in a mosh pit! At one point, Sticky Fingaz jumped in the crowd and started crowd surfing! The energy in the room increased massively as they went into their most memorable songs of the 90s. At one point before performing Last Dayz, Fredro Starr spoke on Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and all of those who died at the hands of the cops. Their energy level in the room was elevated to new heights as their performed the last song, Slam!, in which the bboys joined them on stage!
The moment everyone was patiently waiting for has finally came. The event organizers finally got to relax as they saw Pete Rock setting up on stage and CL Smooth on the side of the stage, with his face looking like he’s about to get into a boxing match! They came out to do their thing as part of their “Clean Energy Tour”. They got into the classics, such as Mecca & The Soul Brother, I’ll Take You There, Lots Of Loving, and a few others! It was inevitable for them to leave without performing They Reminisce Over You [Pete Rock: “Sing T-to-the-R-the-O-YYYY!!”]. It was a good way to end the performance, as well as a day well spent at Santa Monica with the attendees leaving happy.
But before I end this long-ass post, I must address the mishaps [which One Nation responded back to me via twitter after my long rant of tweets I posted last night]
- The lack of promotion of this event. From my understanding, the actual [not online] flyers werent made until days (or a week prior) to the event. I was really excited to be a part of this event, but the fact that not that many people have heard about it (except for a few sites online) really killed it. Personally, I (just me) havent heard of a summit that lasted a full day.
- Punctuality is imperative, and a MUST. I know that hiphop events usually get away with being late, but you’re throwing a hiphop summit. If you’re saying that the event starts at 10am, make sure you’re on point. I got there around 1030am, and you guys were still setting up. I even went into Barnum Hall, and there were folks rehearsing for their bboy set. Since the event was all ages, there was a possibility that parents couldve showed up with their kids around the time you guys started, yet you guys werent ready. You couldve given the parents [or anybody], an opportunity to tell folks not to come because you guys werent punctual.
- Performance schedules: Again, this is bad. If you guys have given your word to some of the folks who were scheduled (or asked) to perform, you have to make that happen. You may not have realized (or have taken into consideration) how far people are willing to travel just to get 10 min of stage time in the name of getting the word out about their group or themselves. Even the bboys that were in Barnum Hall that morning rehearsing on stage had a routine scheduled to perform in paying homage to you, and they didnt get on. B-Boys having to dance behind the artists was just wrong (ex: Percee P’s set). Oh, and if Brother J [X-Clan] is on the flyer to perform, just say HIM. Dont put X-Clan; people were hoping to see the whole crew. It’s misleading.
- The extensive amount of security on campus, especially SMPD. I know this wasnt your doing, but seeing how they’ve mistreated some of the vendors because of your actions (closing down the outside) reflects back on your organization. One of the vendors was rushed to close down with 8 police officers harboring over them.
Keep in mind that it wasnt a bad event, overall… everything else besides these factors were pretty good! In fact, I’m just happy that all the events that went down were pretty well. Shoutout to Onyx, PR & CL, Percee P, all the outside performers, the vendors that came out and hustled their asses off. Thanks to One Nation for putting on one hell of an event, which I can only imagine is very difficult to put together.