Review: Joe Budden Lights Up The Wick!

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of accompanying GrungeCake’s contest winners to Wick for the Joe Budden show. The Wick, located in the heart of Bushwick, presented the perfect ambiance for the show; I instantly fell in love with the warehouse, early 90’s underground party feel. As the crowd shuffled in, we were greeted by a great blend of 2014’s biggest hits. The DJ perfectly merged crowd favorites as we waited for the first opening act to take the stage.

The first artist up was female emcee, Lanz Pierce. Pierce has opened up for the likes of Snoop Dogg, and was profiled on Vibe Magazine and Lanz Pierce is beautiful, authentic, and most importantly, she has real lyrical talent! She performed songs such as “Waterfalls” and “For My City”. She brought amazing energy and I am confident that she gained a few new fans.

Second on stage was Brooklyn lyricist Incomparable Shakespeare. After performing a couple of his tracks, backed by two amazing background singers, he dropped one of the illest freestyles I’ve heard in a long time. His verses spanned from societal issues to everyday struggles. Before the end of his set, he premiered his newest single “Franklin Jackson” that features Troy Ave.

Sonnie Carson took the stage next and ripped it! He performed various singles from his mixtape “Most Likely to Succeed.” The crowd was jamming to Carson as he interacted with us between songs. Towards the end of his set, a random guy stepped on the stage and danced with members of Carson’s crew. It was all fun and games until he refused to leave the stage, even after Carson abruptly left. The stage-crasher proceeded to snatch [the] microphone from the host and ramble incoherently to the crowd, who emphatically jeered him. The only words I was able to decipher was “Chi-Town”, “Haters”, Dreams” and “Drinks”. After he dropped the mic, security promptly removed him from the stage.

The last opening act was Emilio Rojas. EMILIO ROJAS!!! The super talented Rochester native maximized the energy level in The Wick. Rojas performed many songs from his new mixtape “Zero F**ks Given” and jumped into the crowd many times. He bravely stage dove into the crowd, who tried to hold him up as long as possible. The crowd ultimately dropped him, but the best thing about it was that Emilio didn’t miss a beat. He continued with his song as if the fall never happened. I’ve been a fan of Emilio Rojas for a while and was happy to finally see him perform live.

Joe Budden took the stage last and treated the crowd to an amazing show. He performed so many of his hits, and I stood in amazement as I realized that his debut album was released 11 years ago. Joe’s music is raw, perfectly crafted, and possesses a strong storytelling prowess that is sorely lacking in today’s Hip-Hop. Joe’s lyrics literally walks you through his life and makes you feel as if you know him personally. The way he interacted with the crowd proved to me that he was truly down-to-earth and humble. There were few in the audience who didn’t know Joe for more than “Pump It Pp” and “Love and Hip Hop” but quickly learned of his pedigree when he performed his long list of his infamous singles such as “10 minutes” and “She Don’t Love Me”. True fans sang along verbatim and wanted Joe to know that they were apart of his loyal fanbase. His winning smile and charismatic stage presence was infectious! The best part of the night for me was Joe shaking my hand on his way off the stage and thanking me for coming out as I thanked him for giving an amazing performance.

I had an amazing time at The Wick and was treated to great music in between sets, passionate performances, and a truly energetic crowd!

A special thanks to Greenhouse Publicity, The Wick, and to our contest winners for an amazing night.

Written by Manny King John

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