Show date: May 20-22, 2005
@ Various locations
Detroit & East Lansing, Michigan
Wow. I’m just now recovering from the festivities. Right off the bat, I wanna thank everyone who supported HIP HOP this past weekend in any way, shape or form. Experiences like these reassure me that I’m doing the right thing with my life. I write this in an attempt to share some of the magic with you. Now, onto the recap…
Things started off beautifully. Our flight landed in Detroit almost an hour early, and we had no problems obtaining a rent-a-car. Since we had some time before our scheduled radio interview, we decided we’d look for a hotel room and get ourselves settled before heading to the studio. Unfortunately, the only spots we could seem to find were some grimy ass motels, which in itself didn’t bother me, except for the fact that none of them had irons. I don’t mind sleeping among crackheads, but I was not about to perform in wrinkled clothes.
Before we knew it, it was midnight. I turned the car radio to 89.3 and heard “You are listening to the Heads Up radio show with DJ Osiris… Joining me shortly in the studio will be Pizon and Timid…” We still had no place to sleep at that point, but fuck it. We had to represent. That little homeless problem would have to step aside. Off to the radio station we went.
After scoffing down a candy bar from the vending machine in the lobby, I joined Timid (who himself was putting the finishing touches on a bag of chips) and Analyze in the studio with Osiris. In my experience with college radio, I’ve discovered that there are two types of DJs: the ones who do their research and ask you relevent questions, and the ones who think they’re doing you a favor by having you on their show. Osiris unquestionably fits into the former category. He was so on point, that he made his own radio edits of our songs just in case we didn’t bring clean music for him to play (which of course we did). We plugged our shows for the weekend extensively, discussed our careers, spoke on the current state of Hip Hop, played exclusive new tracks, and joked around. Timid offered any lady in the Detroit area a foot massage and breakfast if she could provide us with a place to stay for the night. The phone rang, but Osiris told the caller to call back when a song came on, as he wanted to discuss this behind the scenes. They never called back. Notwithstanding, it was an excellent interview and I can’t wait to get a copy so I can share it with y’all (now you got a reason to check back here).
It was now 2 AM. The show was over, and we once again had to face reality: we had nowhere to sleep. Well, except for the car, the back seat of which Timid quickly made his bed. Analyze and I weren’t about to attempt to sleep up front, so we hopped on the I-96 west headed towards Lansing. Approximately 90 minutes later, I got off at a random exit, hoping we were somewhere in the vicinity of Saturday’s show. This time, we had no problem finding a hotel with an iron. In fact, there were several, but the first few we tried were on the expensive side. Finally, we rolled up to one and found the desk clerk sleeping on the job. He was so embarrassed when we woke him up (and likely afraid of getting fired) that he offered us a considerable discount on a room. By 6 AM, we were in bed (well, Analyze and I each had a bed while Timid somehow ended up on the sofa) with a wakeup call set for 8.
A few hours later, we were back in the car with our bags. DJ Addverse from Code of the Cutz had booked us a room for Saturday, so we had planned to travel straight from one Lansing hotel to another. A last-minute excursion to Dennys had us running late for Timid’s in-store performance scheduled for 1 PM, so Analyze instead had to drop us off at Code of the Cutz while he went and checked us into the hotel. By the time he got back, the show still had not started, as the art festival in Lansing had caused mad heads to get stuck in traffic. A few hours later, people started to pack the cozy record store (for NY heads, Code of the Cutz is very similar in size and vibe to the Cop Shop in Long Island) and Timid and I set it off.
Being the opening act is never an easy task, especially if said act aims to reach far and beyond “warming up” the crowd. Timid’s goal was to steal the show, and that’s exactly what he did. He had heads vibing to his intro and responding vigorously to our call-and-response requests. After dropping science with “The World is a Ghetto,” he recited the classic first verse to Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise,” which set the stage for the reflective “30 More Years.” With lines like “More get your hands up/ more in the air/ more waving them around like you just don’t care/ more yes yes y’all/ more we don’t stop/ more break of dawn and just more Hip Hop!” it couldn’t have been more perfect for the occasion. (The song is so rich with old-school Hip Hop references that someone told us after the show that she did not want to even move at the risk of missing one of them.) Of course, a Timid and Pizon set on Hip Hop Appreciation Weekend would not have been complete without “Hip Hop 2 Me,” so we ended it off on that note.
We supported the rest of the acts that performed (peace to Silent Army, DarkStarz, Quese Imc, and everyone else who did their thing), occasionally being plastered with random compliments on our set from earlier. Everyone held it down, though on Saturday Timid’s set easily trumped all the others. Ironically, the one who came the closest to raising the bar Timid set was Breathless, who surprised even Timid when she called him up to perform their collaboration “Fuck You” together. He may not curse in his rhymes, but he’s got a million ways to say “fuck you” regardless. And Breathless is just raw.
After the in-store, Breathless and her DJ Brooklyn Dolla wanted to shower and freshen up for their show at Club Temple later that night, so they came back to our room with us and did their thing. We then hit the club. Breathless ripped the same set from earlier, once again calling on Timid to perform with her. She was actually opening for Mr. Dibbs that night, but unfortunately we couldn’t stick around for his set, as we had another radio interview to bounce to.
We pulled up to Michigan State just after midnight with an entourage that included myself, Timid, Analyze, Breathless, and Brooklyn. My man DJ Collectives, who is new to the whole radio thing, seemed a bit intimidated, and understandably so. After laying the law on us, he put us on the air. We were all dead tired, some of us were drunk, and we all had one mic to share. It goes without say that we just bugged out. I can’t wait to get a copy of this interview either, as it was comedic gold. Of course, we also played our music, plugged our shit, and promoted my Sunday performance at Code of the Cutz.
We then decided to head back to Club Temple and chill. When we got back up in there, Dibbs was just ending his set. Addverse played music for another hour, we had a few more drinks, and the designated driver Timid drove us back to the hotel while Breathless and Brooklyn began their journey back to Omaha. I slept like a baby on Saturday night.
Upon waking up, I was reenergized for my set on Sunday afternoon. Like Timid’s just 24 hours prior, my set was the first of the day. Also like Timid’s, my set outshined those that would follow it. Before I even spit a rhyme, I had the crowd chanting, “1,2 1,2.” I then dropped a 40-bar acapella freeverse that had Mr. Dibbs (who was also scheduled to perform later) cracking up when I claimed that I only came to Michigan to “steal Dibbs’ groupies” and that “girls love Pi’s nuts, so I stay insane.” I got several laughs from other heads too, but looking back that verse may have contained too many pop culture references for the hardcore underground crowd. I swear this one girl looked at me like I had two heads when I suggested that Ciara had a dick. Nevertheless, they showed love. How could they not, with lines like:
As far as these rhymes go, you ain’t fuckin’ with Pi’s flow
You the second coming of Schiavo, you shoulda died a long time ago
Yeah, I know – you a thug who sell drugs and you stay on call
But the minute you die, they’ll be calling you a saint, like John Paul
I’m tired of you cats spittin’ that fake shit
I done heard it all before – there must be a glitch in the Matrix… a glitch in the Matrix…
The new Scrappz-produced cut “We Got This” hit hard and had heads nodding. DJ Collectives was in the house, so I shouted him and his show The Cultural Vibe out and said those who tuned in the night before got to hear this next track, which has been getting burn on college radio. I then admitted that “no one listens to college radio, so you probably haven’t heard this” and performed “Streets Never Change.”
Analyze was in the house trying to sell his mix CDs, which is extremely hard to do when no one has heard anything from you, so I afforded him the opportunity to perform a song off it. He came up, took the mic from Timid (who had been backing me up), and performed the soon-to-be hit “Take It Back.” He received a thunderous ovation, went back into the crowd, and found himself on the receiving end of all sorts of love.
Meanwhile, it was time for my finale. I had reservations about this song, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong impression of me. Yet, I only wrote what was in my heart at the time, so it wouldn’t be right to disregard it. Performing the playfully misogynistic “Say Goodbye” (produced by Kno) for the first time this past weekend made me realize I made the right choice by rolling with it. Every dude in the house laughed at every punchline, while every girl pretended to be disgusted, but loved my arrogance on the low. After the show, someone thanked me for “putting a smile on his face” with that song, while others commented that I had fire production. They was loving the rhymes. They was loving the beats. They was loving Pizon, ladies and gentlemen.
To be fair to the other artists that performed, we had to leave before the show was over, so I did not get to see every act on Sunday, which means I can’t confirm that my set was indeed the best of the day. Maybe we’ll find out on the premiere episode of COCTV, for which the in-store was filmed. Dibbs himself is a very friendly dude, and he did a short impromptu set that he said was “for Pizon and Timid, since they performed for me earlier.” His actual full set was yet to come, but like the night before, we couldn’t stick around for it. We had a 90-minute drive back to Detroit and a plane to catch back to New York.
We took over 100 pictures between 2 digital cameras. I’ll post some of them up when I get them. It’s just a matter of transferring them over to the computer (now you got another reason to check back here).
Shouts to the following people for making this weekend so memorable: myself, Timid, Analyze, DJ Addverse, DJ Osiris, DJ Collectives, Breathless, DJ Brooklyn Dolla, and Mr. Dibbs. Peace to everyone else we met along the way, too.
Hip Hop is a beautiful thing.