Dom Put On His Biggest NYC Show To Date, With A Little Help From His Friends
Last night was one of those nights. One that years from now your brother, or cousin, or sisters neighbor or if your really lucky YOU yourself will talk about to friends as “The Nigh Kendrick Shut Down NY”. Twas the week of the Super Bowl and all through the city, hip hop heads were packed into concert hall waiting to get jiggy.
In our case The Source Magazine team was posted up at Iriving Plaza for Dom Kennedy‘s headlining show as part of his Get Home Safely Tour featuring Skeme. Even an hour before the show’s openers went on the crowd was thick; and whereas some shows in NYC the audience is almost as hyped for the DJ playing current hits as the artists performance themselves, Dom’s loyal fans were there with a purpose.
To be fair though they may have taken that purpose a little bit too far considering the crowds overly stoic behavior during many of the openers. Things got off to a nice start with the smooth stylings of The Rapper H who was backed by a full band; but it was band’s female singer who kind of stole the show. The DJ, Meka of 2dopeboyz even brought her back out to do a little impromptu sing along afterward. Bryant Dope hit the stage and put on a solid performance but unfortunately the crowd of Dom fanatics seemed to have their sights set on the main attraction. However African born Albanian rapper G4SHI (pronounced Gashi) was definitely “in the house”. Even with a less than responsive audience his performance came with a lot of enthusiasm, you could really tell that he was an artist who had worked hard to get where he was an was very happy to be there; taking a few moments in between songs (most of which were VERY dope) to single out & thank Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg for believing in him and playing his record nearly every week.
One of the most interesting things to me was to see what kind of love up and coming fellow west coast artist Skeme would get during his set. I’d be lying if I said it ended up being what he deserved considering the very solid performance he put on. During his set he performed mostly tracks from his new album Ingleworld (which by the way is reviewed in the current issue of The Source Magazine) and sounded great, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe having the live band that performed earlier might of been the trick he was missing. But he did get a HUGE response during the “fuck this side of the crowd” segment of the performance, the rap version of the t-shirt toss during a bad Basketball games.
After a brief intermission (which we later realized had it’s reasons) the man that this now full to capacity crowd had payed to come see took the stage. Rocking his signature LA Kings jersey, shorts and house shoes Dom came out to the song based around his namesake “Dominic” the crowd singing along “they talk alot of shit, alot of shit about me”. He kept the momentum going with Get Home Safley tracks” Lets Be Friends” and “17” but when he asked the crowd if they wanted to “hear some shit from The Yellow Album” things reached a whole other level.
Now a little inside info, at some point during Skeme’s opening set word had started to travel among some of those in the know that a certain King Kendrick Lamar would be making a surprise appearance during his old homies set. So when the Kendrick assisted “We Ball” came on, you better believe I was ready to go with camera in hand. Kendrick did not show up (yet) but the crowd filled in rapping his verse along with Dom , and even without the recent grammy nominee this was at the time the current high point of the crowd’s fervor. After the track Dom seemed to stall for a minute which made me and some others wonder if K.Dot’s entrance may just be a little bit delayed. Either way he then continued with track after track including some more chill bangers like “After School” but all the while never losing the crowd. In fact at one point I noticed that even during the more subtle non chant-ish tracks you could almost always hear a chorus of fans rapping along to every word.
At some point during the show I happened to see on Twitter that Kendrick had actually came out to surprise fans at J.Cole’s concert which was being held a few blocks away at Madison Square Gardens Theatre, I wondered “was the info we got just straight wrong”. Dom kept the crowd rocking STRONG for over and hour performing fan favorites like “Gold Alpinas” & Designer Shit. Mr. Kennedy took a quick break and seemed to be gettin ready to wrap up the show when he got a message from his DJ, he then turned to the crowd and casual stated “O you said the homie came through.. OK!”. Now usually when a surprise guest come out the music will start and people immediately know whats up, in this case the beat for Kendrick’s “Backseat Freestyle” dropped but it wasn’t till second later when the young “peoples champ” as Dom would later call him emerged from backstage bottle of champagne in hand, to the roar of the stunned crowd.
After finishing the track Kendrick took a few moments to acknowledge how proud he was Dom Kennedy & Skeme, his fellow West Coast artists out in New York City performing to a seriously packed show. Kendrick specifically reflected on a time when early in their careers Dom Kennedy had brought Kendrick a celebratory bottle at The Key Club in LA, so here he was returning the favor. After that he was out, short, simple, and effective! The crowd did it’s best to gather itself, nearly everyone still in a bit of disbelief and rocked out with Dom one last time as he performed an enthusiastic acapella verse to close things out.
New York artists came out to support as well, Smoke DZA was in the building for this special occasion that definitely wasn’t just your run of the mill show. Irving Hall’s Tour Promoter Pat Castelo commented on the show –
“Get Home Safely is one of the the best albums that came out last year. To be able to give NYC the live experience at the iconic Irving Plaza was an honor. I believe it was incredible feat to have Dom Kennedy, Skeme, Smoke DZA and Kendrick Lamar all under the same roof.”
Overall it was truly one of those nights to remember. Make sure to check back because we”ll have some great high quality footage & photos up on this post and others in the coming days from this monumental show, which was brought to you by the nice folks at The Source Magazine. Make sure to follow our Facebook & Twitter pages so you can participate in our giveaways for the next show and who knows you may be a part of hip hop history too!