B.A.R.S Live at Knitting Factory [Exclusive Coverage]
New York, NY -- If fans of hip hop’s freshman class were looking for a showcase Tuesday night, they probably ended up kicking it at Donny Goines’ B.A.R.S. Live event at the Knitting Factory. Proceeds were donated to The All Stars Project, Inc., a charitable organization focused on the education of young people around the nation.
VH-1’s Amanda Diva and The Wire’s Panama served as the celebrity hosts of the hip hop charity showcase, as DJ K-Saalam spun on the 1s and 2s. Esso, the business-savvy young Harlemite who’s been making noise with numerous mixtape collabs with DJ Sickamore, was up first. He revved up the crowd by serving up a fresh version of his “Paper Planes” freestyle, the braggadocious “A Million Bucks,” and the Whurld Ent.-produced “Young & Ignorant.”
A-Pinks hit the stage next, opening his set with “Hit the Lights.” The Queens native also gave an exclusive performance of his new song “Secrets,” off of his Will Rap 4 Food blog series, in which he reveals his feelings about his battles with cerebral palsy.
Staten Island’s NY Oil made his moves onto the stage next--literally. The militant emcee gangsta-boogied, popped, and locked before giving his perspective on the bamboozled state of rap music. “What happened to groups like PE? Y’all rappers are up here playin’ yourselves dancing around talkin’ that fake thug sh*t.” He proceeded to perform his controversial track “Y’all Should All Get Lynched,” which calls out fake thugs in hip hop culture.
The night’s moderator and master of ceremonies, Donny Goines, was next up. He called a few artists up for some collaborative performances that got the party in cypher mode. Donny, who was clearly no stage hog, said “this is a night of bringing together talented people,” as he introduced Phase One, and later Emilio Rojas for the high octane “Vibe Wit Me.”
As the plot thickened, Brooklynite Torae was also more than happy to share the spotlight, bringing along Skyzoo, whom he called “a humble, talented emcee” to join him during his performance of “Click.” Torae also dropped “Somethin’ to See,” before Skyzoo presented some new material for the crowd, including “I Shine.”
Brooklyn’s own Sha Stimuli came through with some material from “The Love Jones,” and Mickey Factz closed the show, performing his “Incredible“ a cappella before crowd surfing.
The must-see event of the evening, however, was undoubtedly an impromptu cypher involving each artist demonstrating their individuality with an off-the-top freestyle.