HOT 97’s ‘Who’s Next’ platform is a place where underground artists can upload tracks, videos, and mixtapes, in order to get noticed by big label wigs, create more exposure, and have their music heard by HOT 97’s career sparking DJ’s. Unsigned artists have been performing for the Who’s Next showcase in order to show their skills and talents. This year, HOT 97 brought on four artists on the rise that turnt up the SOBs last Wednesday, June 29th. RESPECT was in the music venue getting a first glimpse at some of these rising stars and experienced their performances live. The lineup for this year’s showcase features Queens-bred artist & producer, Justin Rose, Chicago native singer, songwriter & rapper, Dreezy, Bed-Stuy’s breakout rapper, Manolo Rose, and the rising Bronx sensation, A Boogie aka A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.
Doors were scheduled to open at 8 p.m. I arrived at SOBs at around 8:10 p.m. to a line starting to form outside the venue. Once I entered the building, it was a spacious area with HOT 97 workers and Swisher Sweets sponsors getting everything set up and ready. Viewers who came to enjoy the show was mingling around by the bar getting a few drinks in before the first performance. The show didn’t begin until about close to 10 p.m.
The first artist set to start the show off was Queens’ own, Justin Rose. An artist and producer, Justin Rose has been prepping for his Water White mixtape which is set to release this upcoming fall. With his long dreads hanging down over his anti-hero white t-shirt, Justin came onstage with high energy making sure that the crowd knew he was reppin’ Water White. There was even a filter on Snapchat for it. His set was packed with bass-heavy tracks that got the audience coming closer to the stage. He even came down on the floor and got the crowd hyped up. Justin’s entourage was surely jumping up and down rapping along to his tracks. With wavy tracks like “She Movin,” and “I Got It,” Justin got everyone in SOBs ready for more, but what they weren’t ready for was Justin’s finale. His entourage came onstage handing out a bunch of water bottles which went with his Water White movement. Then, when the music started, they began chanting “all day, all night, Water White,” then out of no where, water began spraying into the crowd from the bottles and even a Super Soaker water gun started getting everybody wet and wild. Safe to say, it was a wet and rowdy start to the show.
As everybody managed to dry off and get the floor mopped up. The second performer was announced and ready to come on stage. It was Chicago native, Dreezy. Now, before coming to the show, I was extremely excited to see her perform since I started listening to her since her From Now On EP that came out last year. I was curious to see how she would perform live along with what songs she was going to choose from. Two backup dancers came on stage then Dreezy followed behind in a black tee and black shorts. She started off with a freestyle to show the audience that she’s not just a cutie with a voice, but a cutie who could spit bars too. Then she proceeded into her latest single that came out with Gucci Mane, “We Gon’ Ride.” The bass was so heavy it overpowered her vocals in some parts, but nonetheless the song goes hard and she delivered it well. Making sure to let the audience know to cop the track on iTunes, Dreezy went back to do her earlier track “Serena,” which features Dej Loaf. In case you don’t know the song, I highly suggest you check it out. It goes hard. To finish up her set, Dreezy and the DJ got everyone to get put their lights on on their phones and up in the air to shine on the rising star. She finished up with her popular single featuring Jeremih, titled “Body.”
The third act was Bed-Stuy’s very own, Manolo Rose. One minute the stage was empty preparing for the next artist, then the next minute the stage was packed with over 10-15 people on it. Then the music started. It took me a minute to even find where Manolo Rose was onstage, then I found him and then the beat dropped and his whole crew started bouncing up and down shouting the lyrics to his track “Super Flexin.” His whole entourage was so rowdy up there they even picked up a girl from on the floor on stage. Not only were they getting wild on stage, but his crew came down on the floor to get the crowd pumped up even more. While they were on the floor, they picked Manolo Rose up being carried around and back onto the stage. During his set, Manolo Rose showed love to another NYC artist, Casanova, who came out and performed his track “Don’t Run.” Manolo went on to perform his fire track “God Level,” shutting his set down with a bunch of sweat and adrenalin.
Last, but not least to perform was Bronx’s A Boogie, who came out on stage wearing a BAPE tee and a iced chain around his neck. He performed some of his buzzing songs such as “My Shit,” “Friend Zone,” and “Bag On Me.” The venue significantly got more crowded as the night went on. So once it was A Boogie’s turn to finish the show out, the venue was packed from the stage all the way to back of the bar. Everyone’s phones were out recording videos and taking photos. A Boogie took a bit of a different route compared to many of the previous acts in which he only had one hype-man on stage with him throughout his set. Even so, he managed to get his fans singing to his songs and dancing along with him throughout the end of the night.
From somebody who is very new to listening to all of these underground artists, I was highly impressed with the amount of energy that each artist delivered. Not only that, but the amount of love and support that was shown through the crowd as well. If you haven’t heard any of these artists and you’re a hip-hop fan, I suggest you go check them out.
You can watch a recap of the show below from HOT 97.
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