Heineken Red Star Soul NYC Concert Recap

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What do you get when you mix a frigid night in NYC, some of hip hop’s hottest stars, and free beer? Well, you get the Heineken Red Star Soul Concert.

On Friday night a crowd braved the long lines and cold weather to catch Wale, Estelle and Ludacris perform at NYC’s Gotham Hall for the penultimate stop on the free Heineken Red Star Soul Concert series. The standing room auditorium was full of eager music fans, who enjoyed the free Heineken (and Heineken Premium Light for the calorie conscious) while DJ D-Nice held down the DJ booth until comedian Godfrey (Soul Plane fame) came out to introduce the first act.

DC Native Wale was the night’s first performer. He performed a few buzz tracks from his upcoming album, Attention Deficit – a good introductory performance to the boisterous act that would follow.

Biz Markie took over the DJ booth before performing a raucous version of his hit “Just A Friend”. Behind the turntables he took the crowd back to the 90s with songs like Shaggy’s “Bombastic” and The Fugees “Killing Me Softly.” He then brought it back to the current era, getting the first few rows of the auditorium to do an impromptu, synchronized performance to “Swag Surfin.”

Next up was Estelle. The British star looked fab in a motorcycle vest, mini skirt, and over the knee boots. She kept the crowd engaged from the moment she stepped on stage, until the second she left with performances of “Substitute Love,” “Come Over,” “American Boy” and other standout tracks from her album Shine. The singer invited a few fans to dance with her onstage and even gave the ladies a bit of advice for dating in a recession, “If your man starts acting up, don’t break his stuff – make a song about it, and put it on youtube.” Break ups for the Tech Savvy 101.

Finally it was time for the main event. Actor/Rapper Ludacris to took the stage and took requests for songs spanning his nine year career. Luda performed songs like “Southern Hospitality,” “Pimpin All Over the World,” and his verse from “Yeah” – the Grammy nominated song with Usher and Lil John.

The Dirty South rapper had a surprise for his Northern fans – Nas. The Queensbridge native joined Luda for “I Do It For Hip Hop,” “Made You Look” and “If I Ruled The World,” and a string of other songs. Luda ended his set with a crowd pleasing performance of “Move.”

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