Show Recap: Album Release Party

Show date: December 2, 2006
@ The Creek and the Cave
Long Island City, Queens, NY

I know y’all are expecting a recap from 12.02.06, so I’m going to attempt one right now without being too verbose. For the record, it’s currently Tuesday afternoon and I am still recovering from the weekend’s events. I have footage from 6 different video cameras that were set up in different places (on stage, backstage, in the crowd, in the back of the club, right up front, etc.), and in 2 weeks I’m going to spend the entire weekend in an editing studio putting the DVD together. There were also plenty of pictures taken by various people, but unfortunately I don’t have any of those yet. So for now, here is a summary of what went down from my point of view. For the past few weeks, I’ve been constantly on the phone with the CD pressing plant, making sure they would have my project done on time for my release party. First the issue was with my album inserts. I spent a long time designing an 8-page booklet with a Pizon poster in the middle and everything, and they were telling me that booklets took longer than folders to print, and to save time I should use folders instead. No. I wanted my booklets, and I was going to get them one way or another. The folder would throw the whole design off. Then the issue was with a sample they recognized on the album and freaked out over. They refused to continue with the duplication unless I changed the track and submitted a new master, which would hold everything up even more. The end result was that I got my CDs the way I wanted them (despite the changed track) but I had to pick them up from the factory in Connecticut on Friday afternoon. Friday, 12/1. The day before my big party. The day I had to pick up my artists from the airport.

So I drove to Connecticut early Friday. The factory is about an hour and a half from my crib. When I got there, they said they had just finished the job 5 minutes ago. Good timing. I loaded the CDs in my car (and they took up the entire trunk and backseat) and headed back to NY. I was actually passing by La Guardia Airport at the time I was supposed to pick up the first batch of artists, but I had one problem: there’s no way they would fit in my car with their luggage and all the CDs. So I had to drive home first to unload the CDs (by the way, they look SICK! I’m so glad I fought for the booklets), then back to the airport. That was like a 2 hour diversion right there. Back at the airport, I picked up EJ, his hypeman Bam Bam, and their camera woman Amanda, straight off a plane from Houston. As it was, they barely fit in my car with just their luggage. The first place they wanted to go was White Castle, being that this was their first time in NY and I guess that damn movie got them interested in trying some. EJ (standing at 6’6″) and Bam (also a big dude) managed to put down 10 hamburgers each. After that, they both agreed to never eat at White Castle again.

I took them back to Timid‘s spot where we were supposed to rehearse for the show. It didn’t take long for the consummate artist to come out in each of us, as before long we had a beat playing and were writing verses. EJ went in the booth and laid a hook right away. Not long after, Timid had his verse recorded. Bam followed Timid up, then I followed Bam. By that time, we had to pick Aday up from JFK Airport (which isn’t far from Timid’s spot). When we got back to Timid’s, Amanda had laid some back-up vocals under EJ’s hook which really brought it to life. Aday heard what was going on, took out a pad from his pocket, and began writing bars. Within a half hour of touching down in NY, he was in the booth recording a new verse. EJ then spit a verse to follow up his hook. Shortly after that, I-Dog‘s bus arrived from DC, and he was in the spot writing a verse as well. We even got my girl Maria to say something in Spanish at the end of the song. That makes 8 people on the track. I think it’s a keeper for the upcoming Fam album.

It was now well past midnight (making it officially my birthday), and we realized we had to shift our focus to the show later that night. In just a few hours, we would be making history. The adrenaline started pumping through each of us.

So, before I knew it, it was Saturday, December 2. I was 24 years old, and my album release party/birthday bash was that night. I went home and got some sleep in my own bed before having to wake up and head back to Timid’s. Since we had 7 people with us (me, Timid, EJ, Aday, Bam, I-Dog, and Amanda), there was no way we’d all fit in one car, so the original plan was for Maria to meet us at Timid’s and take some in her car. Being that doors to the club opened at 8, I wanted to be there before 6 to make sure everything was set up and running smoothly. This meant that Maria would have to be at Timid’s crib by around 5. While awaiting her arrival, I got a phone call from an unknown woman informing me that Maria was in a bad car accident on her way to meeting me. She put Maria on the phone, and I asked her if she was OK. She said no; she couldn’t move her legs. Unfortunately, that was all the information we got,* as she was too shaken up to say much more than that. The ambulance was on its way to take her to the hospital, and needless to say, she would be missing the party. That put an immediate damper on the rest of the night, but the show had to go on, so Timid and I hopped in my car while the others jumped on the train. They would have to meet us at the club later.

By the time we got to the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, the band was already set up and doing soundcheck. (Yes, I said the band, bitches… I told you this was some serious business.) I got the mics plugged up while Timid took I-Dog’s laptop to the DJ station and made sure it worked with the sound system. We did have our music on CDs just in case, but since this would be a long night, we figured it would be best to play everything off iTunes to avoid having to keep switching CDs out in the middle of the show. I unloaded my albums and t-shirts out the car and set up the merchandise table that my mother volunteered to work (really she just wanted a place to sit down). The club had a backstage area leading to the outside, but it was blocked off. I made sure we unblocked it, so artists could get on stage from the back instead of coming up through the crowd. Everything seemed to be going well. At 8, people started coming in, and I thought to myself, “Wow… the time is finally here. I really did it.”

As I predicted, the club filled up fast. People were getting restless, because doors opened at 8, and they expected the show to start early. However, EJ, Aday, Bam, I-Dog, and Amanda had still not arrived and I did not want to start without them there. Knowing that the show itself would have to be over by midnight, I calculated that we could start no later than 9:30 to be finished on time. At 9:25, I told Timid, “That’s it… if they’re not here in 5 minutes, we have to just start without them… we can’t wait any longer.” No more than a minute after I said that, they arrived. I showed them the backstage area and made sure they knew their cues, and we were good to go. Let’s get The Council on stage.If you didn’t know, The Council was the group that won the opening act contest I put together. They had their peoples voting for them non-stop when we did the online vote, and even more so when we took it to radio. They really deserved that spot. After rocking a short set, ending with the “Diddy Bop” song that won them the contest, they introduced Casino Rhyme Family, the group they narrowly defeated for the slot. It was like a Jay-Z-makes-peace-with-Nas moment when they gave each other love on stage, because they were previously at each other’s throats during the contest. Casino Rhyme Family then ripped through a short set of their own, ending with “HaterBlockerz, ” the song they were pushing in the contest. I thought it was ill how they started the joint a capella, then by the time the beat dropped, their whole crew was wearing their sunglasses (ie, haterblockerz). It’s the little things like these that make shows exciting. I have to give extra love to these cats because The Council drove from upstate NY to do the show, and Casino Rhyme from south Jersey (over 3 hours away). That’s a beautiful thing.

After the openers, the now packed club was probably wondering which act would be introduced next. My man Randy from Labirynth (co-promoters of the show) got on the mic and said, “This man needs no introduction, but I’m going to give him one anyway… Give it up for the man of the hour, Pizon!” I don’t think heads expected me to come out so soon, but I told y’all this was going to be different. My intro beat dropped before I was even able to get to the mic, so I started yelling without it. “Hands up now, put your hands up! Hands up now, put your hands up!” I grabbed the mic and spit a quick 16, then while the beat rode out, I explained to everyone that I put together a special show… I think they were already starting to see that. After doing one verse off “Streets Never Change, ” I told the crowd that I needed a girl on stage for the next joint. “It’s my birthday… I’m getting a girl on stage.” I then debuted “Dreams Come True, ” the first single off the upcoming Fam project dropping next year. My friend Christina danced with me on stage. I stopped the music and said that was love, then noted how love could make you do some pretty outrageous things, like the time I drove 10 hours to give someone a 3-page letter… that might seem crazy, but with everyone going crazy for real (the cops shooting people 50 times, OJ quasi confessing, Kramer heeling a heckler, etc.), the fact that this kind of passion still existed let us know that maybe we’d be all right afterall. That’s not crazy, that’s love… and that was the type of love I felt in the room that night. Driving a few hours is one thing… there were people who flew across time zones to be at my party (H-town in the house). The mami Janely bought a plane ticket from Miami. The homie Truplaya drove from Baltimore, and went back home the same night, before catching a flight early the next morning to start training for a new job. That’s “crazy” but it’s not really. It’s L-O-V-E.

And the reason I get that kind of love is because people know I’m the real deal. Despite what someone who grew up 8 blocks from the club would have you think, Hip Hop is not dead. I was proving it was alive and well. With that, I went into the Scrappz-produced “We Got This” which brought Timid out from the back (Scrappz couldn’t make it but his mom was in the house). After Timid and I did our first collabo of the night, I left the stage for 20 minutes and let him do his thing. Timid killed it as usual, even incorporating a costume change into his set, revealing the “Bush Don’t Care” t-shirt with Kanye‘s face on it before doing “Let Freedom Ring.” He then kicked the first verse off “Hip Hop 2 Me” which brought me back out for the second verse. Instead of doing the third verse, we went right into “I Am Hip Hop” off my album. I asked Timid if he’d hang out while I continued my set, and he obliged. “Do You Ever” started to play, and I-Dog emerged from backstage to kick his verse (Skheme couldn’t make it due to family issues). Though I wasn’t quite drunk enough (I actually hadn’t drank anything yet), I performed that silly “Drunk” song next and to my surprise, I heard people in the crowd shouting the lyrics back at me.

Question: What’s the first song I ever spit? The crowd didn’t know either. I heard someone say “Angel Wings”… “The First Bar”… “Song After Song” (what?!)… before someone finally came up with the right answer: “Dozo Dawgs.” I told the crowd I was going to attempt to spit that verse, for old time’s sake.

“As soon as we came out the box, y’all knew we hard……………………………………that’s all I know.”

But since that day in 2000, I’ve been writing song after song to get to where I’m at now. With that, “Song After Song” dropped and EJ and Aday (with Bam) hit the stage. This led into their set, which gave me another 20-minute break. I went backstage and drank some water. I-Dog was waiting back there with his camera, and he interviewed me about how the show was going so far (everything was lovely). I was getting a little nervous, however, because the band had stepped out earlier and weren’t back yet, and they would be needed soon. I called Dave the bass player on the cell, and he said they were just coming back to the club. So I told them to meet me backstage. As soon as EJ and Aday finished their set, the band was on stage setting up again. At this point, the crowd was like, “ahhh… a band? What are they doing here?” They had no idea what was about to hit them.

Timid got back on stage to keep the crowd entertained while the band got into position and made sure the levels were good. Once they were ready, I hit the stage and said, “The album may be called I Am Hip Hop… but tonight, I’m a rock star!” With that, the lead guitar riff from “Homegirls” (produced by Domingo) rang through the club, and whoever had stepped outside for a cigarette or went to the bar came back upstairs in a hurry to see what was going on. This was the finale… Pizon performing the songs off his new album with a live band.

I did “Homegirls, ” “Say Goodbye, ” “Angel Wings, ” “Sittin’ On the Bench, ” “Four Letters, ” and “I Feel You” with the band. Before each joint, I told the story of what it meant and how it played into the album, which takes me through my progression as not only an artist, but as a human being throughout the past few years of my life. For “Angel Wings, ” I was joined on stage by Linda for the chorus; for “Sittin’ On the Bench” and “Four Letters, ” I was joined on stage by Nashirk. Guitars, drums, bass, backup singers, MCs, hypemen… this was no longer a “show” but a full-fledged CONCERT EXPERIENCE. Finally, EJ and Aday retured to the stage for the last joint of the night: the “Give It Up” posse cut off my album, played by the band, featuring all four of the artists that performed sets earlier. There could have been no better way to end off the night.

Well, that’s not entirely true. We still hadn’t had the cake.

The show ended at 11:50 PM (remember, we had to be done by midnight), and we took it downstairs to eat the enormous cake and keep the party going. The load was finally off my shoulders, and I was finally able to relax. I sold some more CDs and t-shirts, signed some autographs, took some pictures, and had some fun. Even though I was dead tired and had no voice left, I felt great. The best night of my career was over, and although going in I was a little scared that I wasn’t going to want to continue doing music after this (because how could I top an event like that), I knew at that moment that this was a milestone, and as great as that night was, it was only going to get bigger and better in the future. We packed a club out with no flyers (strictly MySpace, radio promotion, and word of mouth). Next time, we’ll sell out a larger club, and step it up even more. But until then, this is something to be proud of. The night was an overwhelming success; my pockets were not mad at me at all, and neither was anyone who came through. Just check my comments if you don’t believe me.Believe it or not, I got up early on Sunday and took my Houston peoples sightseeing around Manhattan. This was their first time in NY, so they wanted to see the tourist attractions. We took a cruise around the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lower Manhattan, then hit up Times Square and Rockefeller Center. After a brief excursion to EOW (famous Hip Hop open mic in NYC), we went to Wynter Star from Labirynth’s birthday party at Negril Village. Being a co-promoter of 12.02 and a fan of my music, she was still excited about what transpired the night before. Her exact words were, “That was the concert event of the year… I was bragging to my peoples about it all day today.” Those who picked up my album the night before were also impressed, and it was a main topic of discussion on Sunday night. For those wondering, it will be available in stores shortly. Give me a few days, and I will hit you with the info of where you can pick it up.

After partying hard on Sunday (I felt like it was my birthday celebration too, because on Saturday I was so focused on the show), EJ and I got back to Timid’s crib at about 6 AM (everyone else had either caught their flight home, gotten on the bus, or went to sleep). I didn’t even bother driving home, because I knew I’d have to bring EJ and Bam back to La Guardia on Monday afternoon. So I crashed on Timid’s couch, and got up at around noon to get dudes to the airport on time. That’s why it took me until Tuesday to recover. Actually, I’ve been moving kind of slow all week, but it was more than worth it. We’re planning another big concert for April. What’s the occasion? We don’t need one. Just make sure you’re in New York for that one, or you’ll be feeling like a dumbass for missing out again (like you are now, unless you were there… in which case you can’t wait to do it again).

To everyone who supported… thanks for the love. I can’t begin to express how much it means to me. I feel like the first phase of my career is now complete… it’s time to take this thing to the next level.

Holla at ya boy,

* Maria did get injured pretty bad, but after a successful surgery she is now on the road to recovery and should be able to walk again in the near future. Let’s keep her in our prayers. For those wondering what happened to Analyze, he also missed the show due to his father’s recent death. Despite these unfortunate circumstances, we carried on and made those who couldn’t be there proud.

MySpace comments left about 12.02.06:

“Your CD Jamn…Your Stage Performance Is Off The Chisel. I appreciate all the luv you showed me while I was out there….we gotta do it again…..til then Keep Blazing the MIC!””A-YO, thanx for havin a dude up @ ur party man, enjoyed myself….i need to get ur album cuz i 4got to buy one….u know i dont use pay-pal…call me old skool…lol…holla @ me”

“Hey Pi… Just comin thru to say… THANK YOU

For everything… We had a WONDERFUL weekend!!! New York is DEFINATELY WASSUP!!!… The album release party was off the chain & you guys did a GREAT job!… Cant wait to come back… but Thanks Again for makin our trip a memorable one! Much Luv”

“Hope you had an awesome time at your b-day! Awesome songs!! you worked real hard for this, I hope you make it big one day!!”

“hey pizon,

great album release party man, i had a great time. get at me soon.”

“yo we had a good time the other night man…holla at us let us know how it finished up ….”

“PIZON! You’re shit was soooo hot!!! I’m not frontin! You guys put on a hot concert!!! The band was OFF THE CHAIN! Very sucessful! If you’ll weren’t there it was your lost…it was FIRE!!!! I love Drunk by the way!”

Big ups to The Council for winning the opening act contest and rocking at my album release/b-day party last Saturday. Here’s their recap, taken from their blog. Enjoy:

So its the next moring after the Pizon album release party, and we sit here thinking it was a good night. We met up at the Council Lab, Skells, Les, Dawn, Julia and left around 6:30. Figuring it would take us a lil over an hour to get to the show, which was at 8:00 we planned ahead and gave us some time to get there. No Traffic except the Motha Fucking George Washington, which if you from NY you know about 87 and the GW. After going over the Triborough Bridge and down the BQE, we arived at 31st. After a couple of false turns wasted gas and time, we finaly found Jackson ave. If someone would of told us its by the Pulaski Bridge we would of been there probably sooner. So we arive at The Creek and The Cave, they scratch our name of the list and we move inside. At this time its around 8:30 and Pizon and his crew was setting everthing up and getting ready. Pi told us we would hit the stage around 9:00. which was cool, so we diped down stairs to get a Heniekeen in the system, and make rounds introducing ourselves. Looking around we see, The Casino Ryme Family playing pool. These are the cats we beat in the competition to get the show. We figured it was a good look for hip hop since east coast is back on the rise, So we let them get busy after us. Our homegirl Dawn wants to play some pool so Les and her played a game against Casino. After the pool game, Pi showed us the backstage, which you had to leave the club, go around the back and up a fire excape through the lil doorway. Kinda gangsta but on some real hip hop shit. After about another hour we finaly got introduced to hit the stage. As an opening act, your spot is the tuffest, you need to get the crowd popping, i mean the last song played before we came to the stage was Jay-Z and Beyonce record, so if that not a hard slot to follow we dont know what is. The First song came on was “Monsta” very high engery song with alot of potent words and ryme play, the crowd seem to be enjoying it they hands was in the air rocking and swinging so we was off to a good start. After Monsta came “We Be TC” a real street record and alot more energy. Finally we endend our set with “Diddy Bop”! Figuring this was the song that got us here we had to perform it. A, 7 minute set goes real quick …after “Diddy Bop” we introduced the Casino Ryme Family to show them love. They had the other 7 minuttes to the show, them niggaz traveled 3.5 hours to get there, on some real dedication shit. Les’s Phone was ringing off the hook after we got off stage, his cusin and her friend were lost and going into long Island (no not that way, this As Pi got ready to take the stage We went out for a quick bogie and see Our DJ.. Face Arive. Slaming a bottle of henny right on the street corner getin his, Skells came out and so did Casino, everyone feeling good off they drink we played the corner took some pics on some real hollywood shit. Pi was inside with a live band Ringing off the song “Homegirls” from his album. As the night closed we gave love to everyone and bounced. Following Face to the BQE doing close to a 100mph on the sidestreet and thinking this could be the new version of Crash Music again, we get over the Triborough and half way home we stoped and got some grub and an extra Henikeen for the road. All in all we made it home safe and it was a good night. thanks to everyone who showed love to us there and on myspace. Lets DO IT AGAIN>..INTENSIVE CARE UNIT NEXT!!!!!!!!!!


One Response to Show Recap: Album Release Party

  1. […] next night, the show went down and turned out to be one of the proudest nights of my career.  You can read more about 12.02.06 here.  After that, work continued on the Fam album in New York.  Bam Bam in particular seemed inspired […]

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