In my humble opinion, it’s becoming more and more difficult to locate quality live hip-hop shows in our current music scene, even in the greatest music market of all, New York City. That’s why when I caught wind of Los Angeles’s infamous R.A. the Rugged Man hosting a takeover of the elegant Highline Ballroom in Manhattan with his protege and lyrical apprentice A.F.R.O., my ears perked up and my Tuesday night plans were immediately decided. Tomorrow night, RA, A.F.R.O and Mr. Green are throwing a showcase of top-tier hip hop music, chalk full of introspective lyrics, classic instrumental production, and a concert that focuses on the art of hip-hop, rather than the glitz and glam needed to make up for the lack of artistry in so much modern rap.
I first got hooked to A.F.R.O and RA the Rugged Man when I watched the viral YouTube video sponsored by Honda of RA’s initial discovery of A.F.R.O (watch below). Back in 2014, R.A. the Rugged Man hosted a contest called “Definition of a Rap Flow,” which was featured on VH1’S television show, The Breaks. A.F.R.O., born Jamal Guiterrez and raised in Bellflower, CA, submitted a touching video that showed off the brilliance of his lyrics and the marvel of his talent as a young 17 year old aspiring artist. RA – an admired, infamous hip-hop veteran – instantly recognized the incredible potential of A.F.R.O. from the submission and immediately called him to his studio to meet him, perform live, and essentially take A.F.R.O under his wing.
Since this moment, A.F.R.O’s gone from a modest 17-year-old living in a rough area of California to a national hip-hop prodigy who’s recorded music with legends like DJ Premier, Erick Sermon, and Pete Rock, to name a few. The video of his discovery was recorded and sponsored by the media powerhouse, UPROXX, as well as the Honda Stage. In essence, this marvelous story will be animated on stage tomorrow with a collection of world-class artists reminding us of the importance and timelessness of class hip-hop. Tickets here.