The line outside courtesy of Haitianbeatz.com
As Synco Powers, Vlad Calixte (aka Haitian V.), and I walked up to Pier 40 I thought to myself, “this crowd can’t be for one boat ride!” However, to my amazement, all of those people were there for DJ Stakz “Celebrity Status Bday Bash Boat Ride”. Try saying that ten times fast. DJ Stakz‘ annual boat ride did not disappoint. Not only did it not disappoint, it was the best boat ride of the summer so far. The event was promoted by Team HKNY and Hi-Profyle Entertainment. In case you didn’t know, HKNY and Hi-Profyle are at the forefront of Haitian-American events in the New York area. They have sold out venues such as Club Amazura, the Hammerstein Ballroom, and countless other venues throughout the area. So DJ Stakz’ birthday event was no different.
As the boat left the dock a little after 2am you could feel the anticipation throughout the vessel. There were two sound systems set up on the three level boat. On the lowest level there were DJs playing strictly Kompa and Zouk. On the third level there was a mixture of R&B, Hip Hop, Reggae, Soca, and Kompa. The variety was amazing. As DJ Stakz proclaimed later in the night, this was truly “an international boat ride.” I spent most of my time on the third level. The night started off with Ontrack Disco playing R&B to warm up the many ladies on board. As the drinks were flowing and the crowd loosened up, Ontrack Disco transitioned into late 80′s Lover’s Rock reggae. Artists such as Papa San, Shabba Ranks, and Beres Hammond were helping to build up the vibe. As the energy built, SNL Boyz Synco and Ontrack went into a vibrant soca set. The party had officially gotten on its way.
Ontrack Disco & Synco Powers warming up the crowd
Next up was the birthday boy himself, DJ Stakz. I must say that Stakz definitely knew exactly how to control the crowd. He played a Kompa set that turned the boat upside down. The crowd seemed to sing out throughout the entire set. Haiti pride was definitely overflowing on the Hudson River. Every time DJ Stakz solicited for a response from the crowd they responded with great exuberance. It was truly a sight to see. As DJ Stakz’ set was reaching its end, Hot 97′s Mr. Cee was preparing to come in next. At this point I leaned over to Ontrack and said “I don’t know how Cee is going to follow that set.” Ontrack simply replied with one word, “watch.” I didn’t expect to see what happened next. DJ Stakz introduced Mr. Cee and stayed on the microphone. Mr. Cee went into a Kompa set that had the crowd in an even more intense frenzy! After the incredible Kompa set, Mr. Cee went into a machine gun paced Hip Hop set that would not let the crowd rest for a second. At this point I forgot about anything outside of that boat. I didn’t think about a drink, a seat, a bathroom break, only vibes.
DJ Stakz & Hot 97′s Mr. Cee
I was surprised when the boat arrived at the dock. I lost track of time and I could tell that my sentiment was shared by many on the boat. Hi-Profyle and Team HKNY are set to overload Times Square on August 27th with “Kompa Rehab vs Zouk Therapy 2: The Broadway Edition”.
Nocturnal at its best
Club Nocturnal in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn was very festive last week, to say the least. It was a birthday celebration for First Class Blue. Thunderbolt with Alley Cat and Super Brad were in the building. The SNL Boyz were also in rare form that night. Yours truly assisted my counterparts in finishing two bottles of Coconut Ciroc mixed with pineapple juice. Allow me to digress for a brief moment. I usually buy Grey Goose, but I have to say that the chemical reaction and taste of Ciroc is more compatible with my chemical makeup. In other words, I’m officially supporting Ciroc to the fullest. Brooklyn clubs have come a long way from what was the norm in the 1990′s. Nocturnal is sleek with a non intrusive lighting system and a beautiful sound system. Ontrack Disco started off the night with a set of mainly Hip Hop and R&B. The music selection mixed with the Ciroc experience had me wanting to dust off my hype man skills and grab the microphone. However, Super Brad was doing a good job of MCing. After Ontrack Finished his set, Thunderbolt took over. I have to mention my appreciation for Thunderbolt. Those of you who are on the Caribbean scene in NYC already know. Super Brad always seems to make the appropriate selection with Alley Cat making equally appropriate and entertaining speeches. Thunderbolt’s set spanned many years of reggae music. At this time I was on my Second bottle of Ciroc. I was feeling nice.
Blue's cake, yes it's really a cake!
The highlight of the night for me was when the youngest SNL Boy, DJ Youngstar took over with about 20 minutes left to party. The mixes were coming at the crowd fast and furious. Whether it was Rick Ross or Jay Z, the crowd was at full tilt and singing out hard. Synco Powers was assisting with getting the crowd into a frenzy. When 4am came around and the lights turned on, nobody dared to leave. Everyone was still dancing, singing and “vibing” as if it was still early. Overall a very good party, 4.5 out of 5. Can’t wait for next year!
Any party that can get me to dance for prolonged periods of time is definitely a good one. All of the DJs brought the heat. The Ciroc brought the warmth. And the crowd brought the energy. Happy birthday Blue! And if you want a fly cake for your party you can contact the ladies at BCake!!!!
Stacked @ Stay Ultra Lounge
After the N.E.R.D. concert at Brooklyn Bowl on Wednesday my associate Jay White and I decided to go into Manhattan to check out DJ Jon Oliver & Mr. Vega at Stay on East Houston. It was my first time in the lounge, and I was impressed. It was a great atmosphere, but nothing beat the music. When we walked in some old school Hip Hop was being played. The mixing was flawless. Before I even knew it we were into a totally different genre, but it was seem-less. I especially liked the remixes of vocals from various genres to a funky upbeat dance-style of rhythm. I know that description may seem vague, but that is the only way I can describe it. Music nowadays is very eclectic, but I digress. DJ Jon Oliver gave us a tour of the lounge and downstairs, where there is a secret lounge (shhh…don’t say I told you). Overall Stay is definitely a good place to take someone to relax and maybe bust a move or two.
After Stay we went around the corner to Ella on Avenue A. I was very impressed by the decor inside of Ella. I couldn’t get pictures, but please visit the site to see exactly how it looks. Let me talk to the fellas for a minutes. Gentlemen, this is the type of spot that you take a female that you’re trying to impress. The flip side of that is, drums please, there are already beautiful people hanging out. So you can decide whether or not you want to “bring sand to the beach”. We made our way downstairs where the real party was jumping off. The music was great. It was electronic mixed in with a little funk. I was going once the DJ got into his Michael Jackson set! Two thumbs up from me.
The next, and final, spot for the night was Apotheke. What can I say about this establishment? It is an aesthetically pleasing place to be. You can go to their site and see for yourself what Apotheke is about; I do not want to do it any injustice. Anyone who knows me knows that I like to partake in adult beverages from time to time. Apotheke is more than a bar. It is a place where the bartenders are mixologists. That title is not a joke. I have gone there many times and it has never disappointed. If you want to drink, you can drink. If you want to dance, you can dance. However, this spot is, by all accounts, exclusive. So do not be surprised if you finally figure out exactly where this spot is and you get to the door and they tell you that it doesn’t exist. If I were to say that this spot was for NYC’s elite, I would be saying too much. However, I would suggest that you look at the site, see if its for you, and make a valiant effort to go. Real talk!
We still got in.
Being that I am an aspiring music producer, I jumped at an opportunity to see N.E.R.D. perform at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg last night. It was an RSVP only event sponsored by Walmart and Axe Body Spray. This was the first event of four for my Wednesday night. The event was sold out and the RSVP list was closed. So naturally Jay White and I decided to go anyway. Long story short, Jay is always on the list, which is why I will be posting a blog entry about him in the near future. I have to admit, although I purchased their first two albums, and will purchase the fourth, I am a N.E.R.D. rookie. I didn’t know the lyrics to any songs (real talk). However, all of that didn’t matter. When the band was performing a brief tune up before the show kicked off I heard it. I heard a perfectly round, clear, and distinct low end. For those who aren’t into music the low end is the bass. But this was not your average kicker type bass, it was undistorted. Once I heard this I knew that the system was perfectly tuned. And it was, perfectly tuned indeed. Whether it was vocals, drums, or guitar, everything was clear. I have to admit that I was impressed by the way Pharell controlled his vocals. By no means is he a virtuoso, but he uses his voice in the best way possible.
Before Pharell came out, the lead guitarist led the crowd in an amazing rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”, a la Jimi Hendrix, minus the acid. As soon as Pharell came on stage it was pandemonium. He started with some new tracks from the soon to be released album “Nothing”. Then the group went into some old favorites such as “Lap Dance” and “Beautiful”. As I said earlier, I am an N.E.R.D. rookie, so don’t ask me for a playlist of the songs that were played…lol. In all seriousness, I moved my body from start to end. To everyone’s surprise Lupe Fiasco joined the group on stage and periodically emptied bottles of water onto the crowd. He must have done it at least four times. The las t time he used two bottles, but the crowd was into it. The entire crowd was captivated by the group. I was especially impressed by the dual drummers in the background. There was a particular part of the show where the drummers got to share a solo and started a very fast paced call and answer with each other. After the hour long set I felt that my free entry was worth it. Seriously though, I would have paid $40 or more if I knew this show would be so well put together. I would definitely recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to see N.E.R.D. should take it! This was only the first of four different venues we went to on Wednesday night. Stay tuned for the follow up to the night. I will let you know about the rest of the night. One event down, three to go. Check out the video and second video via the link at the bottom of the article. I apologize for the quality, we are working on purchasing something other than a Blackberry to take videos. Until next time.
- Your Man on the Streets
Here is another video from the show: Click.
Preparing for the Album Release at Alife
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you should know that there is a new star on the rise. That star is Drake. Regardless of how you feel about his rhymes, flow, singing or appearance, you have to admit that he’s at the top right now. There is no doubt that Drake can pack an arena, but on Monday evening a select few, 200 hundred people, were chosen to have an audience with Drake at Alife in lower Manhattan. For Drake it was nostalgic to go back to the store where he use to hang and drink when he was trying to come up. I have to say, for a Monday night, the event was a great way to kick off the week. Those in attendance were able to be up close and personal with the Canadian star. They were treated to audio from his new album “Thank Me Later” and an impromptu performance. The names of those in attendance are too many to count, but there was definitely an electricity moving through the crowd.
I know that when it was time for Jay White, Brad Digital, and myself to leave for business, it was a reluctant move. However, I was appreciative of the opportunity to usher in Drake’s album with him and a select few others. Good luck Drake.
- Your Man on the Street
Brooklyn Sky's Hawks T-Shirt
From the streets of East Flatbush, Brooklyn comes your next favorite T-Shirt line. If you live in Flatbush you know that I am referring to Brooklyn Sky. This up and coming, yet trendy, line was started by Michael Nicholas and Matthew Jones in a college dorm room in 2005. Brooklyn Sky is an innovative line that draws its influence from everyday life in Brooklyn. Nicholas, the line’s designer is definitely in tune with the rhythm of the streets of Brooklyn. Some larger companies have tried to tap into that same energy, but have failed as their products have not connected with “the hood”, so to speak.
BSky, as the line is sometimes referred to, also shows their loyalty to the community by hosting small gatherings at the shop from time to time. The modest 350 sq. ft. store is located in the heart of Flatbush, on Nostrand Ave. They have recently launched a Kids line at a family fun day that they hosted for the community. Not only do they support the surrounding community, but they have also donated funds to Haiti relief after the recent devastation took place in Port Au Prince. Nicholas designed a Haiti relief shirt in which proceeds are going directly to various charities involved in the recovery effort. The T-Shirts were released at a clothing and food drive for the relief effort, which was organized by Brooklyn Sky and SNL Promotions.
Haiti Relief T-Shirt by Brooklyn Sky
Needless to say, the buzz on the streets for Brooklyn Sky is at a fever pitch. Artists such as Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Fabolous, and Lil Wayne have accepted the brand. BSky has also been spotted on local celebs such as DJ Magic, the SNL boyz, and DJ Young Chow, to name a few. I have been known to wear a few Brooklyn Sky pieces myself.
If you want to check out some of their stuff go to www.BSkyBrand.com. I’m sure that you will see something that you like. Until next time.
- Your Man On The Streets
A familiar logo in Brooklyn
If you are on the New York City party scene you should know of SNL Promotions. If you don’t, then you need to go out more! The SNL Boyz, as they refer to themselves, have been doing it for years. Many promoters and DJ’s throughout the tri-state area are familiar with them, but this is the summer of SNL. Headquartered in Brooklyn, SNL has a hefty resume. The organization was started by Ontrack Disco and Synco Powers. They have recently added DJ Youngstar and DJ Staks to the roster. Every Tuesday you can find the entire crew at Club Nocturnal in East Flatbush and every Saturday at Club Venus in Old Mill Basin. But do not assume that these are your run of the mill Brooklyn parties. Speaking from experience, when you go to an SNL party you don’t have to worry about the music, the quality of people, the ambiance, or the vibes, as we Caribbeans refer to it. Your bet is safe with an SNL party.
This summer the SNL Boyz are poised to expand their exposure and influence on the scene. Most Caribbean Brooklynites have been to, or heard of their yearly event “Models and Bottles”. The event usually takes place in January. This year they have added the summer edition, which is expected to bring in more than a thousand patrons. Needless to say, it is going to be one of the summer’s most remembered events.
SNL has also launched http://www.lifeofthecity.com, which is a nightlife/lifestyle site dedicated to the NYC party scene. You can also hear Ontrack Disco and DJ Youngstar on http://www.flavastation.com (107.9 in Brooklyn) every Thursday from 9pm-12am est. Synco can also be heard on Best FM, 94.3 in Brooklyn from 3pm-6pm every Saturday. I will be writing reviews of the various SNL events and ventures throughout the summer. So stay tuned. Better yet, come out and party with us. Until next time.
- Your Man on the Street
Well the summer season is upon us and, needless to say, there are many different things going on. Up until this point, this blog has dealt with mostly three different categories. The Atlanta reggae scene, the worldwide reggae scene, and Highlanda Sound System. Well I am here to add yet another category, the New York scene. While I will be concentrating on mostly Caribbean topics, I will be covering an array of things. It will be a true representation of what’s happening in New York from a Caribbean-American’s point of view.
Some of you are probably wondering who is Crisis Don. Well I am one of the co-founders of Highlanda Sound System, along with Kahlil Wonda and Super PEC. I have lived in New York City most of my life and I have a deep appreciation for the city. You will find out more about my sensibilities as I delve into various topics. And what are some of those topics you ask? Well there are parties, clubs, lounges, promoters, artists, music, fashion, dining out, and just hanging out, to name a few. So check in from time to time to see what we are doing and what you should be doing. You won’t have to wait long for my first post.