My understanding of Spanish grew exponentially after Wednesday, as Summer Stage was nice enough to set up Central Park as my classroom for the night.
Cuatro Poder and Los Rakas were kind enough to be my professors. At recess I got to lean back with Fat Joe.
Originating from Venezuela, Cuatro Poder is compromised of four rappers. Dressed up in red they sure were fired up. They entered the stage at full force charging forward. Each member covered a different part of the stage. At first the crowd seemed a bit confused as to what was going on. The group remained confident and bounced about the stage. Soon enough their energy infected the crowd.
At one point they even coached the crowd along to sing a Spanish chorus. Having a talented B-boy in the crew might have also helped them out a little. The group reminded me that Spanish is indeed the language of love. I would not have been able to translate a word, but was completely seduced.
Los Rakas brought Cali, Panama and so much more to the stage. The group is composed of Raka Rich and Raka Dun. Dressed in camo and weed patterned socks Raka Rich brought the cool to the stage, while Raka Dun had a childlike wonder and energy to him. Together they owned the stage. Their energy levels remained high the whole hour set.
While they rapped mostly in Spanish there was no need to understand what they were saying. The way that the words fell from their mouths you could just feel what they were saying.
I found myself zoned out and connected to them even though the definitions of their words escaped me.
In fact that connection made me yearn to know what they were saying. But then Raka Dun said it best: “You don’t need Rosetta Stone all you need is Los Rakas.”
It wasn’t just their rap but their stage presence that demanded full attention. It was almost impossible to look away. I had my eye glued to my camera the whole show because I was petrified of missing a shot. Los Rakas was my favorite part of the whole night.
Fat Joe walked on the stage as if he was walking through his house. He was completely comfortable. Even standing still he demanded utter and complete attention. He ran through all his classic songs and it hit me — what a force to be reckoned with Fat Joe is.
Fat Joe carried himself as that cool dude that everyone knows him to be. He seemed unaffected and didn’t conform in anyway to the stereotypical notion of a rapper. When one of the performers on stage with him started to catcall the ladies in the audience Fat Joe cut him off. In a calm voice he said, “Man my daughter is here let’s not do that.”
Instead of referring to the women in the crowd as “sexy” he called them “beautiful”. He brought his college bound nephew on stage and beamed with pride about the young man’s achievement. He dedicated a performance of “All I do is Win” to his nephew.
A slightly sour point of the night was he brought his artist Chris Jones on stage. Chris Jones seemed to lip-synch through a heavily auto-tuned track. In a night that was so full of passion the performance fell way off. The crowd was awkwardly quiet as they endured the performance.
In short the night was one that will go down in my book. I discovered my newest music obsession. A girl can’t complain when she got to lean back in unison with Fat Joe.
Photo courtesy of:http://culturedproductions.com/