NEWARK, NJ – NY Radio Station Hot 97 held their second annual Hot For The Holidays concert at the Prudential Center. Similar to their inaugural event, Busta Rhymes kicked off the concert series with his “Busta Rhymes and Friends” historical show, bringing out a cavalcade of legends such as A Tribe Called Quest, Mary J. Blige, Raekwon, Mariah Carey, Jadakiss, Redman and Method Man, N.O.R.E. and Puff Daddy.
This year, Hot 97 called upon an assortment of stars, with Usher serving as headliner, as T.I., Young Thug, Fat Joe and Remy Ma, filled out the rest of the marquee, which did not stop there. Jidenna, Travis Scott, Young M.A. and the SEXYSWEETSAVAGE, herself, Kehlani joined in on the fun.
After receiving the Aroldis Chapman award, Usher closed out strong as the show’s final act last. Afterall, his catalog is deeper than the Chicago Cubs bench and he has way more hits that the MLB World Champions could muster on any day. The ATL-bred musician, backed by a band and wearing all black, came out to “Good Kisser.” During a performance of his forever-a-headbanger “Caught Up,” he brought out a slew of male back up dancers and not only did “Ursh” show the audience he still has it when it comes to dancing, he can still hang with the best of them. With a James Brown esque split to cap off his Confessions number, he followed up with “You Don’t Have To Call” to keep the momentum going.
“I decided I want to try something with y’all. I’m making this up as I go,” he said to the crowd, revealing he was in fact freestyling his set. He said he wanted to celebrate his success and the support the fans have given over the years with his LPs. “And now the classics,” he said, before hitting the crowd with a one-two combo much like his portrayal of Sugar Ray Leonard walloped Roberto Duran in the recent Hands of Stone flick.
“You Got it Bad” and “Burn” had the audience contribute most of the singing for the Grammy winner, much to his amusement. “Ok. Ok. New York, New Jersey came to turn the fuck up,” he said with his signature grin. “But you know what I can’t live without? A bad girl.” He didn’t just bring out any bad girl, he brought out one of the baddest chicks out right now – Teyana Taylor. The G.O.O.D. Music singer came out to dance with Usher and yes, they did grind on each other and she backed it up on him. Taylor, currently the goddess of fitness, did a small portion of her dance routine from the video “Fade” while the music played.
Usher’s next stage guest was Young Thug (err, Jeffery) for their collaborative cut, “No Limit.” Thugger was nowhere to be found during most of the night. But when it was time for the melodic MC to perform earlier in the evening, he came onstage, and due to severe technical difficulties and his music would not play. Fittingly upset at the mishap, Thug left the stage. Following “No Limit” and a surprise performance in A$AP Ferg’s “New Level,” Thug then tried to explain the issues to the audience but his mic was cut off just as he began to speak. An exasperated Usher admonished the sound man and they turned Thug’s mic back on. Young went into the audience and said he wanted to apologize to everyone for not being able to perform his own set and it would never happen again. He told the people they were important to him.
The people are also important to Travis Scott. Their presence feels like an extra treat to an already good show. The spectacle of watching them wild out to his music is even more captivating sometimes than him performing.
“I don’t how many people seen a Travis show before? But I’m really into muthafuckas raging!”
Enter La Flame
At his summoning, fans ran out of their seats to get as close to the stage as possible, filling up the isles and standing on chairs and barricades. Scott leveled the building with songs off his Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight such as “Way Back,” then he paid homage to his friends Kid Cudi and Kanye West, both have been having highly publicized personal problems in the past few weeks. “When people are down, you don’t talk shit you support your muthafuckin idols,” he yelled.
Scott also revealed he’ll be going back on the road with his own tour in 2017. After “Pick Up The Phone” sans Young Thug (“I don’t know what happened to my nigga Young Thug” he said. “But everybody make some noise for Young Thug.”) and “Antidote” the crowd started yelling for his new record “Goosebumps.” Scott obliged the request asking legendary record exec Sylvia Rhone who Travis is signed to, if she heard that. He obliged the fans’ request, crowd surfing while performing.
Funk Master Flex had a set reminiscent of what DJ Khaled did on Beyonce’s recent “Lemonade” tour. He brought out several artists back to back. Young M.A.’s time on stage was short, but potent, she hit the Prudential with “Ooouuuhhh,” a one shot kill. French Montana came out after and reminded everyone it was Chinx’s birthday and he performed “Off The Rip” as a tribute to his slain friend. The head Coke Boy also brought out Young Jeezy as surprise. The Snowman’s hits “Who Dat” and “Lose My Mind” cascaded through the arena. Finally, Fat Joe and Remy Ma finished Flex’s set with mega smashes “All The Way Up” and “Lean Back.”
What will they do next year?