(AllHipHop Opinion) Brooklyn’s Barclay Center is sold out, now brimming with Hip-Hop fans that just moments ago had peacefully lined around the block in two directions. Outside, some folks attempt to buy tickets from those walking in the door. They are unsuccessful. Tonight, Nick Cannon and his Ncredible Gang have descended upon Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues and nobody is giving up their tickets for Wild 'N Out Live.
Up until this moment, the crew had been on a relentless schedule hitting eight cities in 10 dates. These were hardcore Hip-Hop cities that included Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, and Newark, NJ. And then there was Brooklyn. I’m going to keep it real: Nick Cannon is doing God’s work through all the insults, battle raps, jokes, performances and laughter. It may seem like a joke, but it isn’t.
Hip-Hop is in a weird space - a healthy, but weird space. Right now, the media is infatuated with Hip-Hop, but very little of it deals with the music or the culture. As long as it isn’t Trump, these powers are infatuated with Black people. Artists like Drake, sell the most. People like Kanye and Tekashi 69 troll the media into covering them. And platforms like Spotify and Apple Music battle for the affections of the audience...and others are following suit. Formatted radio seems more concerned with their radio hosts than breaking new music. But, where does that leave the audience and the music they purport to love?
The answer depends on who you ask, but to me the Ncredible Gang is presenting a every-growing, ever-changing prototype that allows Hip-Hop to reclaim the culture in a very direct-to-the consumer way. Wild 'N Out Live offers an immaculate homogenization of Hip-Hop, comedy, improvisation, battle rap and performance. Nick and the crew have taken elements that have been present for a long time and now have an entire platform that effectively bypasses the corporate gatekeepers that continue to spoon feed fans what they want them to eat. The beginning of the show, prior to the performance by Desiigner, offered some of Nick’s songs and videos, most of which have garnered millions of views. It set a tone for why this model is so...incredible.
Entertainment / Comedy
I had been to Wild N Out before, but this was the first time I went to this tour experience tour is more of a show, not a TV show. DC Young Fly, Rip Michaels Chico Bean and Eman Hudson all hosted full comedy segments that had the audience in stitches. There were moments where literally cringed as if somebody got punched flush in the stomach. Other times, the audience members were pulled on stage for different impromptu and other traditional Wild’N Out movements. The engagement with the crowd was traditional that harkened back to the days of Def Comedy Jam. Even Safaree showed up and got caught up in the jokes with his perfect hairline. I salute him for being a good sport.
The Essence Of Hip-Hop And Black People
Wild’N Out is an unabashindly Black American event, that invites everybody in to the fray. Even the red, black and green color scheme screams pride, but it is never overbearing or preachy. In BK, they dared the white people to say the N-word (which is really not THE word, but you get the idea) and it was all in good fun. But, nobody said it either, so the respect slices both ways. On multiple occasions, the audience was addressed, joked on and even the poor kids were victims.
Control Of The Culture
The battle raps were a subdued form of the brutal culture that probably makes somebody from URL cringe, but about perfect for this audience. This is where YouTube is your friend and you will understand it's bigger than the show - even this live experience. Cats like Charlie Clips, Conceited and Hitman Holla are certified, battle-tested emcees with few peer and they, along with Nick Cannon, traverse the world spitting bars. Even Justina Valentine goes super hard, often fending off these brutish, hardcore lyricist with humor, insults and bars. The last time I was privy to a Wild’N Out afterparty, Nick Cannon was DJ’ing and the rappers were killin’ it back-to-back over classic 90’s instrumentals. It was nothing less than Hip-Hop heaven. This is easily something that will create larger opportunities in music, internet and TV. A special salute goes to DJ D-Wrek, who is almost like the overseer and judge of the whole thing. Fabolous closed the show in Brooklyn and he reminded us all that he is a major hit maker and the unofficial mayor of Brooklyn.
A Homegrown Audience
Hip-Hop and even Black comedy was fueled by the people. Back in the day, they called it “The Chitlin Circuit,” as comedians would go from Black venue to Black venue gaining a following. Cool people of other races would join them early, way before the masses caught on. The same with Hip-Hop. Since “Wild’N Out” is an MTV show (12 seasons deep) as well, one would think that the crowd that attends it would be of a decidedly “pop” nature. Not true. Unlike your average rap show or festival, this was Brooklyn, Brooklyn. I believe Nick and Company (the whole team! Shout out to Aja and Stacie) have been very intentional about talking to outlets like AllHipHop.com and knowing that there is a very clear, intrinsic value in these eyeballs. This is important as Black media and Black people continue to be marginalized, commodified and repackaged for mainstream audiences. But, I’m not here to make this weighty, because the night was a really peaceful, gut-busting, fun night of music, laughs and more.
There were a few jokes tossed at Azealia Banks, who got upset at her own recent appearance on the show.w
THE ONE BAD THING…
There is much more to say, but I know a lot of you don’t read so, if you got this far, thank you. Comment on what you think in the comments.
HERE ARE THE REMAINING DATES FOR “NICK CANNON PRESENTS: WILD ‘N OUT LIVE“:
Sept. 6th Schottenstein Center Columbus, OH
Sept. 7th Royal Farms Arena (formerly Baltimore Arena) Baltimore, MD
Sept. 8th Greensboro Coliseum Complex Greensboro, NC
Sept. 9th Colonial Life Arena Columbia, SC
Sept. 14th AmericanAirlines Arena Miami, FL
Sept. 15th Amway Center Orlando, FL
Sept. 16th Amalie Arena Tampa, FL
Sept. 21st Smoothie King Center New Orleans, LA
Sept. 22nd FedExForum Memphis, TN
Sept. 30th Golden 1 Center Sacramento, CA
Oct. 5th Moda Center Portland, OR
Oct. 6th Oracle Arena Oakland, CA
Nov. 2nd Enterprise Center St Louis, MO
Nov. 3rd Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University San Diego, CA