Last wednesday, Belasco’s was the place to be at to witness Yasiin Bey‘s performance in Downtown Los Angeles. Although the schedule for doors were to be open at 7pm (like most people expected), they didn’t open until an hour later. The lines (yes, there was two) extended as far as over 150ft with people waiting to get in the venue, hoping they didn’t miss any of the opening acts. By the time the first act was to go on, Belasco’s was packed and ready to go, with more people trying to hurry and get in this forty thousand square feet venue. Warming up the crowd was DJ B Original, who was the entertainer behind the decks.
The first major act to go on was FOCI. Almost a month ago, he released his debut album, The Achievement Gap, the album in which he said took him almost two years to make. He started his set with paying homage to Biggie Smalls, then sung some 90s classics to get the crowd in the mood for what’s to come.
He continued with his set with bringing a couple of people out to sing some of his songs (one of the folks being Christine Ariya on Remote Control and Devil In Disguise). He also performed Los Angelinos, Real DJs (a homage to the disc jocks who do more than just rock crowds), and brought out Versis to perform illCANDESCENT.
After spitting a freestyle, FOCI brought out Skyzoo (the special guest) to the stage to perform Jansport Strings. The energy was packed in the place and the crowd was warming up to Skyzoo as he fiercely attacked the track with his verses. Once he was done, FOCI went back to business and did a moment of silence to those who passed on from gun violence. After two more songs (Desperado; Rise Up), FOCI gracefully exited the stage. DJ B Original went on the tables and continued his set until it was time for Yassin Bey to Wu-Tang the stage.
Once Yasiin Bey entered the stage, lights flashed all over the venue. From cameras on the iphones to the mini pocket cameras to the digital SLRs, this showcase of ‘flashing lights’ felt like this event was more of a spectator sport with Yasiin being the number one contender. The first portion of his set was all raw, with him performing tracks such as, Re:Definition, Auditorium, Priority, Undeniable, Hiphop, New World Water, to serenading the ladies with U R The One, The Panties, Ms Fat Booty, No HayNada Mas (for the spanish speakers), Pretty Dancer, among many of the crowd’s favorite gems. For the ultimate finale, he performed Umi Says which took away the breath of many in the crowd; they nearly lost their minds.
If you haven’t seen Yasiin Bey perform live (like myself), I’d recommend you to check him out at least once. You will thank me later. He’s an excellent entertainer! It’s one thing to check him out when he’s performing with Talib Kweli as Black Star, but as a solo act, he’s awesome!