BY ANGELIE BENN
Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg celebrated his birthday at Howard Theatre on Sunday with his fifth annual Peterpalooza and brought a few friends with him.
Peterpalooza kicked off with performances from up and coming locals Lyquin and Jay IDK. Both hailing from Maryland, the performances perfectly displayed the creative diversity coming from the area. Lyquin and kept his set freeing and fun, and even joined the crowd to incite a most pit. Lyquin performed "Wishing," his current single with Chris Brown. Jay IDK entered the stage donning a Ronald Reagan mask and the entire energy of the crowd shifted, preparing for a more political performance. Jay IDK delivered a mix of songs from his 2015 mixtape Suptrap, sporadic freestyles, and tracks from his upcoming release Empty Bank, out August. DC rapper Chaz French also joined Jay IDK for a surprise performance.
Before Pro Era hit the stage, Peter, of course, had a few surprises up his sleeve for everyone who came out to celebrate. The birthday boy introduced Joey Purp and later Vic Mensa to the stage, who had a show earlier that evening at U Street Music Hall. Though the Chicago emcee's didn't stay long, they played a few fan favorites like Purp's "Girls" and Mensa's "16 Shots."
Finally, Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$ hit the stage and the anticipating crowd erupted into cheers and a sea of phones appeared as the intro for "Paper Trail$" began. I quickly learned that Pro Era have the most dedicated fans on earth as Joey began "95 til' Infinity," a throwback from Joey's 2013 release Summer Knights.
Joey then invited Pro Era member CJ Fly to the stage. The duo urges the audience to create space in the middle of the floor to start a most pit. The crowd divided in preparation as Annie's "Hard Knock Life" played through the speakers. The beat dropped and the crowds collided as the musical classic turned into CJ Fly's take on the track, "Hard Knock." Joey exited stage left and CJ got into his time with the audience. CJ performed a few solo tracks including "Still The Motto" before Joey joined again. The audience is completely tuned in to Joey as he turned up the energy another notch. Pro Era are known for pushing positivity, especially since their loss of co-founder Capital Steez. In moments during performances like "Hazeus View" and "Christ Conscious," the room seemed to be bursting with hope and anger as the committed recited Joey's wise words back to him.
As the night come to a close, the last billed performer, Kirk Knight, joined the stage. He performed an older Pro Era track with Joey and CJ Fly. At this point, more members of Pro Era joined the stage and Joey asked the audience for a moment of silence in memory of Capital Steez. I could see how Steez was close to the hearts of the members onstage and the fans in the crowd as a mass of hands immediately flew up, two fingers in the sky. Finally, Pro Era performed "Survival Tactics," a track where Joey Bada$$ and Capital Steez bars' went back-and-forth and revived the classic 90's Brooklyn flow. After a playful exit, Pro Era closed the show with an encore of Joey's latest single, "Devastated." Judging by the amount of sweat and smiles seen by the time Pro Era exited the stage for a final time, it's safe to say that Peterpalooza V was one for the books.
All photos taken by Kevin Assie.