YOOOOOO! Let me just start out by saying Happy Birthday to the dude whose life we were celebrating, J. Lately. The Panda Party was where it was at last night. Good vibes all around and the dope lineup lived up to its billing. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. There was no escaping the type of turn-up that it became to be. The Oakland energy came alive and to be in the midst of all of it was truly a blessing. It was definitely a “you should’ve been there” moment and that’s why I can hopefully help you live vicariously through this post (lol).

Big props to the host of the night, Space Cadet. I knew there was no way he would go the entire night without performing some of his own work for the crowd and do a couple songs with J also. It was truly a family affair as both Space and J  had their families in attendance at the Panda Party. Not to mention countless “Entitees” in the building that made the environment pretty dope for a hip-hop show. You can really feel the love and support all around.

A big part of any hip-hop a show is giving the audience a reason to flip a switch in their heads that it’s time to let go of anything and everything negative. DJ Nocturnal was on the 1’s & 2’s and absolutely reconfigured our minds  into doing exactly that with his mixing and song selection. As a matter of fact, he has the credits for cuts made on J. Lately’s new single, Crazy Love, that just released a couple of days ago. DJ Nocturnal did his thing and it wouldn’t have been a true party without him.

One thing that is cool about attending hip-hop shows is the feelings of anticipation for the performances. Down 2 Earth kicked off the night with a calm and collective beginning only to move the crowd more and more as their set progressed. Each individual emcee of the group gave the audience a dope monologue type verse before going into the next track. Dayvid Michael, Clyde Shankle, and Azure, respectively in that order showcased their individual talents of the art of live performance and pure lyricism. That’s what makes them so dope to watch. They let each other create an image and a vibe for the audience so that before the beat drops and the rest of the members get in on it, they already have the attention of the crowd at grasp. And when that beat drops, pure movement follows naturally and the rest takes care of itself. Good job D2E!

Then it was the birthday boy’s turn to grace the stage and bless his supporters. J. Lately started out his set with performing some of the tracks from his Good Panda EP. Along with the live drum set being played, his set was like pure joy and happiness. I mean, it was the guy’s birthday so how can it not be, right? He proceeded with his track Smoke Less which is probably my favorite from The Good Panda but nothing hit like Hella Destinations from his Make. Believe. album. Pure nostalgia as soon as that track dropped and I was juiced. I guess it was always that first line of that song that resonated with me.

“My 1st car had a PlayStation in it, and I don’t even play video games…”

The last gaming console I owned was an N64. After that, I never really owned or played video games. Plus I always imagined his 1st car just having a PlayStation in it and not even being hooked up to anything (lol). Other than that, he had many guest appearance during his set. To name a few, Justrese, Shark Sinatra, & Deuce Eclipse  shared the stage with him. It was a great set overall and dope buildup towards the final performance of the night.

Zion I was at one with the crowd. Zumbi & Deuce Eclipse left everything on stage and left an impression of greatness for everybody who was in attendance. They gave everybody a show with the usual bay slaps that get anybody going. Midway through the set, Zumbi called for a freestyle segment in which he, Deuce Eclipse, Azure, Clyde Shankle, and many more laid down some bars for the crowd. It went for like 30 minutes or that’s what it felt like at least. Eventually, the freestyle segment came to a halt and then this happened…

You thought performers couldn’t get any closer to their audience? This is as close as they can get. It was amazing . Big shout out to Space Cadet, DJ Nocturnal, Down 2 Earth, Zion I, all the surprise guests, Backseat Productions, and J. Lately himself for putting on a dope show to start out 2017! YEE!