Generation Next One Year Anniversary Show @ Southpaw 7.13.11 (Recap + Review)

Photos by Siyaka Taylor-Lewis

Do you feel mainstream rap lacks substance?

Do you think the future of Hip-Hop is endangered?

If you answered yes to either of these questions… do you live in Brooklyn, neighboring boroughs, or the New York metropolitan area?

If you answered yes to that question, then I know you were at Southpaw on Wednesday, July 13, for Generation Next’s One Year Anniversary Show. Presented by Soul Rebel NYC and High End Music, and hosted by Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg, with music by DJ Quiz. Generation Next featured the artists that are generating serious buzz in the industry.

Oh, you weren’t there? Shame on you. And shut up when you talk about the next generation, because Emilio Rojas, Laws, The Kid Daytona, Fresh Daily, Esso, Siya, Maffew Ragazino, SL Jones, King Mez and surprise performer A-Mafia is proof that the future is not endangered. Actually, the artists featured at Generation Next possessed skill, talent and, yes, substance.

The event was also sponsored by Pool Vodka. It is a light blue-colored vodka with a smooth taste. DON’T sleep on it, I was nice and floored after their open bar had come to an end. I want… need another bottle.

Siya

Honestly, I was down with Siya’s movement before I heard her music. She was raised in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, as I was, and has spent time in Atlanta, GA, as I have. Anger, attitude, rebellion and confidence are her instruments that she wields flawlessly with her live band. She’s bringing heat I’m not sure other femcees are ready for. As a matter of fact, all these supposed rock star emcees need to learn how to actually play guitar if they plan to compete.

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SL Jones

Who knew Little Rock, Arkansas could breed spitters? I felt he was a humble artist, despite the heat he brought to the stage. What SL lacked in experience, he made up for in passion. He began his set acapella, dropping bar after bar that the crowded couldn’t help but react to. Arkansas has never been known to produce superstar Hip-Hop artists, maybe SL will be the first.

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Maffew Ragazino

I’ve heard people complain that credibility is useless in Hip-Hop now. There are so many artists that don’t have actual experiences to justify the street lifestyle or hood mentality they rap about… and that’s okay with the fans. That isn’t the case for Maffew Ragazino. However, while he is from the meanest streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn, he raps about more than those streets. He’s bringing authenticity back to Hip-Hop, and utilizing the artistry that the mainstream rappers are known for today.

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Esso

Esso is from Harlem (I know, I know…), and I respect him and his music a great deal. He is part of a new generation of conscious rappers: he doesn’t rap about Black Power or empowerment, but about what he’s going through as a young, Black man from Harlem trying to make it in America. He brought the young, fly and flashy swagger that is signature of his neighborhood. But the honesty of his message, coupled with the hot production, makes him a force to be reckoned with.

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King Mez

North Carolina is underrated. You would think after the arrival of Little Brother and J. Cole, the Hip-Hop nation might start acknowledging the lyrical abilities of NC artists. King Mez just joined the roster to continue the tradition of exceeding people’s expectations. He can spit, but also has personality: the difference between rapping in a cipher with your friends and rapping on stage for a crowd that has never heard of you. Those at Southpaw know who King Mez is now, and are eagerly awaiting more fire.

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A-Mafia

Being affiliated with one of Hip-Hop’s most respected crews doesn’t mean you stop grinding. Seems to me, being part of the Diplomats only means you grind harder. A-Mafia has been in the game long enough to give members of Generation Next a few pointers on the industry, but that didn’t stop him for putting on an exceptional show. He’s grateful for the success he has had, but hungry for more, and he put it all out there in his performance.

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The Kid Daytona

He has a smooth flow over soulful beats, and it’s infectious. Everyone I spoke to was absolutely impressed with the substance of his music, how he could weave introspective thoughts with the braggadocio Hip-Hop artists are known for. Some might call it cocky, others might call it confidence, but I think it takes a little of both to be a showman. He is a true showman, able to sell himself and his music to crowd with ease. And the way he postured around the stage: he owned it the way he owned the lyrics and the beat and Southpaw.

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Fresh Daily

Fresh Daily is fresh. The dude is just… fresh. Everything from his flow to his lyrics to his personality to his stage presence is fresh. He is what young mainstream artists should strive to emulate: genuine swagger with actual content. If you’re ever around Fresh Daily in person, you would just want to hang out with him. Likewise, if you ever see him on stage or notice his music playing, you want to listen to him. And you’re not disappointed: there’s substance in his lyrics, a message behind his music.

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Laws

I don’t know how many times a rapper has been discovered by a producer; put out an album fully produced by that producer; and flopped when he thought he could succeed without his producer.  I don’t think Laws is going to repeat that pattern. And while he is signed to the über-talented J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s label, he has built his following and earned his props through hard work and sheer talent.  And he’s talented: a complete package of wit, charm and ferocity. I don’t think Southpaw was ready.

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Emilio Rojas

What can I say about Emilio Rojas that you shouldn’t already know? He rocks a crowd the way he rocks a beat. He could rap double-time, or he can ride the flow. He could be a show opener or the show closer. The music and performance will be hot. He’s already been able to stand on his own (and surpass) other artists from Styles P to Yelawolf. There is no doubt that the signature sound he forges will dominate the Hip-Hop.

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Do you realize what an intense show you missed? I hope so. Generation Next at Southpaw was packed full of talent and empty of gimmicks and sideshows. Every one of the artist showcase deserved their place on the roster, and will undoubtedly earn their place among Hip-Hop’s elite one day. But you should appreciate the music they offer right now, and follow them as their careers blossom.

The future is not dark… you just need to open your eyes.

I send a special shout out to Jah C of Southpaw. He has supported Hip-Hop, old and new school, underground and mainstream, in NYC and abroad.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 1:27 AM and is filed under Misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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