While ATL Live on the Park has been a huge success for co-founders Shanti Das and Marlon Nichols, they couldn’t have been more proud for the first annual Hip-Hop Unplugged: Old School Meets New School Edition which ushered in the BET Hip-Hop Awards 2013. ATL Live which is held at Park Tavern has earned a reputation for bringing Atlanta stellar performances in a mature manner and is always full of surprises. The most exciting part is being able to enjoy an intimate atmosphere with the socialites of the city while witnessing quality entertainment.
The evening hosted by Lifestyle Specialist Kenny Burns surpassed expectations opening with Southern rapper Tela, who rocked the crowd with songs “Sho Nuff” and “Tired of Ballin.” Setting the tone for the night, he came and not only conquered with his classics, but represented with a picture perfect debonair look. Wearing a blue suit symbolic of royalty, the rapper had many in attendance in awe wondering who he was before he hit the stage. The self-assured veteran in the game with more than 15 years under his belt, effortlessly commanded everyone’s attention with his smooth pleasing image that would only come with someone who been there and done that. “We’re bringing grace to Hip-Hop. Grace ain’t soft by far, but it’s just refreshing,” said Tela.
Following, was a throwback set paying homage to the 80s and 90s by lyrical legend Chubb Rock who took everyone down memory lane with his hit “Treat ‘Em Right” and blessed us with his “Barry White of Hip-Hop” voice. I was able to talk with the man with the down to earth and respectable persona. He expressed his transition from music to radio, where he has a show called Classic Flavors on 107.5 WBLS in New York. His face exuded nothing but happiness as he expressed his new found love for radio, a place where he can comfortably stay connected to music and the people.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was Ludacris getting the crowd amped up with “All I Do Is Win” that was followed by a special performance by Bone Crusher & T.I. of “Neva Scared.” Adding some good R&B to the mix, Jagged Edge performed their “Let’s Get Married” which had everybody running to the altar in 2000. Q Parker of 112 serenaded the ladies with “Cupid” and “Peaches and Cream” solidifying the truest representation of slow jams calming the pace for the evening.
Shanti Das gave out numerous awards to many for their hard work and contributions in the business. Jermaine Dupri who was not in attendance was honored with the Hip-Hop Pro Visionary Award for his more than 20 years in the music industry. Chaka Zulu of DTP was given the 2013 Hip-Hop Pro Trailblazer award, bringing attention to the importance of keeping like minded people in your circle who can help support your dreams. In his team player spirit, he shared his award with Das for her accomplishments within the music industry. Scarface who could not make the event was honored with the Hip-Hop Pro Legend Award. Ludacris was the recipient of the Hip-Hop Pro Icon award. Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur and “Grouchy” Greg Watkins of allhiphop.com were awarded the Hip-Hop Pro Pulse Award and presented a painting by artist Antoine Donte’ who brings music to life on canvas.
Here is a part of T.I.’s acceptance speech after performing with Bone Crusher:
For Bone Crusher to be in here- I didn’t plan on coming here and doing this record. And I didn’t know the verse. I’m telling you that now. It was just a gift from God that I could bring those words to mind and out of mouth just now. And I just appreciate being appreciated for whatever it was, no matter how major or minute that I’ve done. So, thank you guys! Thank you to Jason Geter who may not be here, Doug Peterson, KP, B Rich, B.o.B. who is also not here, Trae tha Truth, all the other artists, Hustle Gang, Shad da God. I don’t know who else is here with me. Akoo- A King of Oneself… If you ain’t got no Akoo in your life, you need to get yourself some flav. Kick yourself some flav from time to time. Don’t ya’ll like my leopard sleeves? I don’t want to talk ya’ll to death. I want everybody to continue to have a good time. Celebrate success! With that being said thank you Shanti and everyone who had anything to do with me getting this award. I appreciate that love.
The next ATL Live on the Park will take place October 15, 2013.
Photography courtesy of Omar Farlow www.ofarlowphotograpy.com