I can’t believe that more than 10 years after the release of Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, I saw Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and Talib Kweli perform live for the first time! I know, I should be ashamed of myself…what was I waiting for? Why didn’t I catch them in whatever city I was in, at the time? I made sure that the Bad Perm team and myself got there early enough to get a spot in the front row. I wanted the full experience of a Black Star performance; I wasn’t going to settle for just a glimpse from the back.
The night started off with some incredible hip-hop tunes from DJ Fase and Toronto’s Stylus winner, DJ Wristpect. These two came across as a hip-hop duo running dope track after dope track. Their sets were perfect for this Black Star crowd! They played dead prez, Wu Tang, ATCQ, Queen Latifah, Freedom Writers and the list goes on. They were so entertaining and refreshing that I didn’t even realize we had waited almost 3 hours for Black Star to come on stage! It’s rare nowadays to go to an event and hear so much good hip-hop! And let me tell you about the last minute host Sir Lancelot…dude was so entertaining and lively! This is exactly what we need at hip-hop concerts; someone who is interactive with the audience and can hold their attention. Zoi even tweeted that Sir Lancelot would be an amazing host on Much Music’s Rap City and I completely agree. He has that natural energy and I can tell he has a vast knowledge of hip-hop. He would suit Rap City nicely.
Just after midnight, Talib and Yasiin took to the stage with an immediate energy. Both dressed dapper and looked fly! The first track they performed was “Astronomy (8th Light)”, instantly rousing the crowd. They proceeded with heavy hitters like “Definition” and “RE: DEFinition”. At this point, I had difficulty trying to shoot footage with my iPhone lol! Black Star continued with classics like “Brown Skin Lady”, “Children’s Story”, “Thieves in the Night” and “K.O.S. (Determination)” with such energy and animation that you couldn’t help but get hype!
Yasiin insisted on Talib performing quite a few of his solo tracks like “The Blast”, “Never Been in Love” (which he rapped directly to me, not lying!) and “Get By“. Yasiin did not perform “Ms. Fat Booty” which had many ladies upset. He did however perform “Umi Says” towards the end of the set. Blackstar gave us an encore, where Talib got behind the DJ booth and played some Gil Scott Heron while Yasiin got into a zone and was pretending to play the electric guitar by the speakers. Now some may say that this looked crazy, but I say it was the display of a man in tune with and appreciative of great music.
Now on a personal note, I noticed that Kweli was wearing bead bracelets so I tried to toss my opal bead bracelet to him as a gift from the Bad Perm ladies! Would you believe that even though I was right in the front row I missed twice?! Even Kweli looked at me like “C’mon son”… how embarrassing! However, I took my throwing handicap as a blessing in disguise. After the concert as we were leaving I noticed a man that looked like he was a stage or tour manager…yes I have skills identifying roles. I walked up to him and asked him if he could deliver my opal bracelet to Talib. He gave me that blank stare and said “Naw! You can give him that yourself”. So he escorted myself and the Bad Perm team of 5 (yup we roll deep) backstage. We waited patiently for a few when Talib came up to the door and promptly teased me about my pitching skills. Not funny Kweli. I then mentioned that we were from Bad Perm and Talib responded with this: “Bad Perm!! I was on your web-site today as a matter of fact! I saw the name somewhere and had to check it out!”
You could only imagine the expressions on our faces! He invited us into their green room to have a drink and chat! Yasiin and Talib are two extremely dope dudes and just chillin with them for an hour was an honour! Talib commended one of our writers, Erin, on her Ladies Love Lyrics breakdown of “Black Girl Lost”, mentioning that she taught him something. We all talked about Waka Flocka, French Montana and The Coke Boys… Surprising, right? We had some good laughs, managed to pressure Yasiin into a drop and grab a group photo with Talib!
Overall it was a great concert and an even greater “after chill” with Black Star. Yasiin promised to come back to Toronto soon to perform some of his solo tracks since we didn’t get much this time around. It was such a pleasure to meet two of hip-hops finest! I am looking forward to a new Black Star album.