The Life As Shay Report:
March 30, 2013—Paid Dues Festival 2013 went down in San Bernardino. And you know your girl was in the building– well on the field ’cause it was a true-to-life festival…you know outdoors, dusty roads, sweaty people, multiple stages, long rosters of talent, meet-n-greets….I could go on lol
This was my first Paid Dues Festival and I WILL be back next year. I went alone and it’s looking like most of my musical experiences will be a one man show for me! I had a great time, JUST ME & MY MUSIC. The line-up included Trinidad James, Skeme, Dom Kennedy, Joey BadA$$, Juicy J, Talib Kweli, Tech N9ne, Macklemore and many others…Headlined by Black Hippy.
I went the VIP route and it was everything! #VIPs HAVE MORE FUN! Lounge areas, swag bags, t-shirts, meet-n-greets, cocktails, front stage pit access and all that. I was HAPPY-SLAPPY(that’s when you’re so overjoyed about a situation that you could slap “someone else” to make sure that you are still on planet Earth– but to be ‘happy slappy’ you have to be willing to accept the consequences if someone decides to slap you back).
The drinks were tasty. The lounge was plush with comfy seating in a living-room/mixer set-up. The DJ was actually mixing– (you know how they used to do it before the days of ‘Mac Book Pro DJs’ that play the whole song and let it fade into the next track. I see ya’ll out there fooling the people lol jk) I arrived about 30 minutes later than expected because the traffic was CRAZY but because this was a 12-hour affair, 30 minutes was just a mere wink of time missed in the big scheme of things.
After parking and making it to the entry gates, I walked in and felt like Ricky Ricardo….”Honey, I’m home dammit.” There was so much energy, so many people and so much life in the space– so exciting!
I checked in, walked around, mixed and mingled and met some great people– Including Talib Kweli *check the picture above*. Cool, so now I am checking out acts that I never heard of and it’s so amazing to watch people enjoy their favorite song by their favorite artist when you literally have no idea who the artist is. I’m like “Wow, that’s really your song, huh? Who is this??” You live and you learn and you observe. I did all three at the festival…so much fun to be in that environment. Everyone was inebriated, some from the music and some from love and other drugs. Drunk was the language and everyone spoke it fluently. Everyone was at peace and enjoying their music, their way. OOOHHHH!!! What a time of merriment for a lover of music, like myself.
Day turns into night and the bigger names start to hop on the main stage. I must say that Macklemore is the ISSHHH! If you don’t know him, PLEASE take the time to get to know him. He is a phenomenal artist and he actually RAPS, like about things that make sense too. And get this, it flows and has a message. But even more– HE CAN PERFORM HIS HINNY OFF. So impressed and pleased. “Mr. Thrift Shop” is the kind of artist that you can enjoy even if you don’t know a single song.
My vote is for you Macklemore.
BUT WAIT– HERE COMES THE BIG DAWGS….THE TOP DAWG ENTERTAINMENT DAWGS to be exact! TDE’s Black Hippy, made up of Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q, took the stage and the audience came ALIVE! I had to look back and see what an audience of 25,000 people looked like…It was ASTOUNDING…but because #VIPs Have More Fun I was all up in the front 🙂 It was actually amazing to see a group of rappers– all strong lyricists perform on one accord, together as a group. I don’t recall seeing that since uuhh ….NWA, maybe?
All I know is Black Hippy took the stage and people went CRAZY— not me though. Like, I stood there very civilized and tapped my toe and when the beat got real good and the flows went double time I only bobbed my head a lil harder HAHAHA!! SIKE!! I was in there! Giving it up like my fellow counterparts. If this is what a festival is like, can I get one every Saturday please. It was sonic heaven.
Black Hippy performed a few songs, then each member of the group performed individually. Jay Rock went in on “Hood Gone Love It”, Ab Soul spit “Terrorist Threats” and “Pineal Gland” at us and “Hands on the Wheel” and “There He Go” had Schoolboy Q hopping around the stage like a jack rabbit. THEN KENDRICK LAMAR! *Please allow the use of all cap letters to be an indication of the level of dopeness that radiated from this guy*
It was very, very NIICCEE!
These guys are raw and you have to appreciate REAL music to get it. No flashing lights, flashy jewels, designer clothes or tinted shades—Well except for Ab-Soul’s signature frames. Black Hippy are rappers who rap–who would have thought?
All in all, at the end of the day, when all the money is spent, when the curtains close and when it’s time to truck it back to the car to head home— I HAD A GREAT TIME AND I WOULD LOVE TO DO IT AGAIN.
My Inexplicable Life as Shay