Toward the end of Hip hop honors week, Tyrese was scheduled to perform at BB King's in Times Square NY. I left the Tyrese concert with mixed feelings. It's obvious that Tyrese is trying to make a transition over to Hip Hop. All his opening acts were Hip hop acts. When Tyrese himself came on, he incorporated a lot of new Hip hop tracks that I'm sure will be on his new album "Alter Ego". How it all played out was very intriguing for lack of a better description.
The first act "Picasso" got booed off the stage. Sometimes that's just how it goes when everyone comes to see a headliner----especially an audience that's predominantly female and coming to see an R&B crooner like Tyrese. I have to say, the fella had it coming. The venue was playing soft R&B before any acts came on. The ladies were looking gorgeous ordering their drinks and feeling sexy. Suddenly, Picasso and his people rushed the stage in a barrage of profanity including the word "pussy" several times. I was with a lady and I almost spit my drink back into my cup and coughed for a second. He also let us know that he was "high as fuck". Again I remind you, the crowd was predominantly women. The boos and disdain started to murmur in the crowd. I guess they gave him a chance for a while until he started to gyrate his body holding a water bottle over generic beats chanting his indecipherable lyrics. For a moment, the unknown Picasso seemed to embody everything that was wrong with Hip hop to an already impatient crowd. By the second song in, the boos and heckles rang loud and the dude had to go. I'm talking Showtime at the Apollo style, ladies standing up and waving to left type booing. Good luck to you man.
The second act to hit the stage was Tyrese's official opener Kev Samples. I have to say; the guy is professional. He knew how to work with a crowd that was waiting to see Tyrese. I wasn't all that impressed and he didn't have many original songs. He was there to warm up the crowd and that's exactly what he did. He didn't try to push himself hard; he kept the crowd ready to see Tyrese and referred to him during his act. He's got personality and professionalism that went over smooth.
Next up to bat was Red Café and his entourage. He held up well for many reasons; Firstly, it's hard to boo an act that almost has as many people on stage as in the audience. Seriously though, he introduced himself before he jumped in with not such a negative and ghetto approach. That definitely helped. As his tracks came on, the beats were hot and full of contagious energy. And finally, he eventually brought a friend on stage; some dude named Fabolous that got a huge roar from the crowd. I never thought Fabolous had a huge stage show or stage presence---but he is who he is and it worked. It was also on this night after the show at Justin's that Fabolous was shot and later charged for having guns but hey----we'll let that be another story.
Another group from Cali called "Rehab" was up next. The crowd started booing before they even hit the stage and it wasn't their fault. It's very understandable; people coming to see a famous R&B crooner don't expect to sit through 3 long Hip hop sets. When they actually hit the stage, they eventually won the crowd over somewhat after a rough start and survived. These guys spit and sing and they did both to get some respect. They also hit us with some acapella and scored some love with the ladies.
Finally, it was time for Tyrese. Good strategy I guess: Let the anticipation build. Four female dancers hit the stage as Tyrese eventually filed in to "What do you like". What can I say, the ladies loved him.
His desire to switch over to Hip hop is totally not necessary but interesting. The ladies seemed to be more interested in him singing their panties wet, or the possibility of him taking his shirt off at any minute. The crowd was with him as he performed his Hip hop tracks, but it was easy for me to see that the ladies were ready to lose it whenever he started singing again. In fact, he even got applause and screams from girls when he sang the Coke commercial he did when he was a young teen.
A lot of singers try to throw a little Hip hop into what they do because it's cooler to them on a street level. If you're a Lauryn Hill type then hey, that's always been what you do and you do both impressively. However, if your act isn't broke, there's no need to switch up or fix it. Either way, the album "Alter Ego" drops soon. Go listen for yourself. I know some of those ladies are waiting.