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Tidal X At Barclay Center, Saturday, October 15th, 2016, Reviewed


You know how I requested hip hop grow a social conscious? Well, guess what? No, don’t.  I rescind the request. The streaming service Tidal’s second annual concert hammered its captive audience with a relentless barrage of political ho humisms for a black audience who don’t need it. Tidal X’s second annual benefit for the Robin Hood Foundation was a series of mini-concerts, two, maybe three, songs a set. Hip hop has become all comic book heroes, and Hov’s crew are DC to Drake’s Marvel, with crossover issues all over the place. Or maybe WWE?  This evening, while overlong, was pretty good, lots of highlights, and some of the social conscious stuff was OK as well, but overall, who needs overrated rock stars to lecture them? You? Me? The only person Robin Thicke needs to lecture is Donald Trump on how celebrities can grab more women by the pussy.

Having said that, I was shocked by how excellent Common was. It has been so long since I last admired Common, I’d go as far back as 2000’s Like Water For Chocolate as a wow,  but “Black America Again” is major. On the other hand, what gives with Lauryn Hill? She looks your your spinster Auntie, which is her prerogative, and sings like it as well, which isn’t. Her “Lost One” was so bad it made my head ache, a loud nasty screech. . I left a little early so my nephew could make his train and missed Bey’s second performance and, thank god, Alicia Keys two song set, but I caught the rest.

I was there with my grown up nephew and my teenage great-niece, and we got there around seven and left around midnight, and if the highlight for them was their singalong to “The Hills” remix by DJ Thrust, for me it was Sir The Baptist who is nothing much on record but whose “Raising Hell” with a girl choir was terrific. As an inveterate concert goer, I appreciated Bey’s early set, I appreciated the consistent, well timed, relentless umm ummm of performers. Nicki Minaj is slimmer and saucier and mashing her hits up. Bey is art-popping, body slamming more like her Global Citizen slot in 2015 than her VMA performance earlier this year, DNCE are playful, Emile Sande heartfelt, Sir Baptist exacting,Lil Yachty out of his league, Kevin Garrett there because of Bey, Bebe  Rexha a major annoyance, Prince Royce an high active charmer  and T.I, just plain fabulous.  Most of all, I appreciated the short sets. It ws like a 1960s British Explosion travelling showcase,

Put together,  it emulated a playlist with too much #blacklivesmatter and just enough everything else, some of the beginners were out of their league but everybody who should come through did come through. Especially Common, who I’ve been going out of my way to miss the past coupla years, and Nicki, who was awful the only other time I’ve seen her (opening for Britney years ago). In effect, it was a black Jingle Ball only smoother and smarter. And we got just enough of everyone.

I’m back next year ,I promise you

Grade: B+



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