Red Bull Music Academy loves hip hop, and they want the world to know it. Their Five on Five series is a testament to the birthplace of hip hop. Five on Five showcases iconic artists from each of the five boroughs, (like Wu Tang, Slick Rick & Black Moon) to possibly remind people what hip hop used to be like. Starting off the series ironically with a Queens act performing in Manhattan seems a little off but it works. At the lower level of Webster Hall at the foot of Union Sq. two artists who truly exemplify Queens were on deck to represent to the fullest. Mobb Deep fresh off a Rock The Bells run were showcasing their classic (often thought debut) album The Infamous. G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks was also on deck for the assist performance. This night was absolutely a Queens thing.
The first act of the evening was Lloyd Banks as he took the stage relatively on time. This is something that’s generally unheard of in hip hop. He started out with a lot of energy but NO VOLUME ON HIS MICROPHONE. You could see many of his fans struggling to hear the lyrics to his first song. Once the song is done he gets a better mic and goes right into I’m So Fly. The few ladies that decided to attend this sausage fest get into the performance. Lloyd has an interesting fanbase which is a mixture of Queens thugs and Jersey girls. It’s a G-Unit thing, you wouldn’t understand. Banks knows where his bread and butter is, so he rocks his smash hits Beamer Benz or Bentley and Start It Up. Even without the guests on either song in the building, They make for a great solo performance. Before turning over the stage, Banks lets the crowd know that The Infamous album was his first hip hop purchase. It’s easy to forget that he is still a young cat in this game.
Marley Marl, a Queens legend brought two of the finest artists to come out of his home of The Bridge to the stage. Mobb Deep got it started from jump with the Hell on Earth banger Once Again. Survival of the FIttest got the crowd swaying from side to side doing the thug two step, while speaking the dunn language. Mobb Deep doesn’t do much talking in between records. Their show is basically “we have a LOT of hot records, so lets get to it”. Mobb Deep also didn’t mind doing cuts which normally have featured artists with them. Unfortunately songs like Give Up The Goods and Burn are such classic records that they don’t work without the assist from Big Noyd. Luckily they make up for it by dropping a classic like Quietstorm or the forever winning Shook Ones Pt. 2. It seems like with so many amazing records in the catalog Mobb Deep will always be able to pack a show. With their new EP Black Cocaine coming soon, the public will get to see if they can still sell new music.
VIEW: Red Bull Music Academy’s Five for Five Mini-Site
Story by Dashaun Simmons for Fusicology NYC @13rose