Last night, Kevin (Music Nation), Ko and I attended the 1st Annual 2007 J.A.M. Awards at the Hammerstein Ballroom. We arrived at 8:20pm and the line was ridiculously stretched down an avenue block but like ninjas we managed to sneak up with Sabrina (Chung King Studios), Nina (Chung King Studios), and Jason at the front of the line avoiding the long wait.
I think this is the first time in the history of Hip-Hop that the show actually started right on time. Who’d ever thunketh? Not long after a welcoming speech about Jay’s legacy by Mrs.Terri Mizell that De La Soul pops on stage with songs from back in the days like Stakes Is High. Mobb Deep came up next wearing Free P(rodigy) t-shirts in response to his recent arrest for gun possession charges. True to the rap game, they had 958276 people on stage with 10 mics smoking blunts and drinking juice. And by juice I mean alcohol. Following up were performances by EPMD and surprise guest LL Cool J who got the crowd’s energy rockin’. Up to that point, I thought I was the only one in the audience actually listening to the music. Either that or everyone just might be high out of their minds. The collective vibe just wasn’t there until LL came on. Surprisingly, Snoop’s show was one of the best ones there. Running through songs like Drop It Like It’s Hot, Gin and Juice, Nothin But A G Thang, it was about time the audience was hyped. Even folks sitting in the balcony stood up and moved their limbs about. Appearances were made by DJ Scratch, MOP, Dead Prez, Everlast and few left such as Jim Jones and Raekwon who I didn’t get to see.
In between performances, the J.A.M. Awards were presented to those who made a difference in the society of social justice, arts and music. The love and pride was definitely present in the artists who performed and within the audience (after awhile). We left early right after Dead Prez did their thing which by the way I have to mention… they only did ONE song! Each artist/group with the exception of Dead Prez did 2-4 sets throughout the night. I’m not sure why it was so rushed but if I came with high hopes for Dead Prez, I would have been disappointed.
Other than that, the overall feel of the show was a success and there is a potential to make it even bigger the next year. We shall see at next year’s 2nd Annual J.A.M. Awards.