The Block Party



By Lisa Diedricks

Date / Venue: Friday May 20th, 2016 - ASB Showgrounds, Auckland

Wow, what a weekend, from Christchurch, to Dunedin to Auckland, New Zealand was definitely lit AF this weekend! Twista, Bone Thugs, Mobb Deep, DJ Quik, legends of rap history were on our soil and made hip hop history for us to witness. The Block Party ladies and gentleman, night no one will forget. Mai FM and Talk Later crew delivered some of the world’s most notorious and underrated musical genius’ to our neck of the woods and even managed to give us some intimate performances from some of the acts, which include Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “Bizzy Bone” who I had the pleasure of interviewing earlier last month, and performed at Auckland’s own “Neck of the Woods on Thursday night. And the legend himself Twista, who gave a solid performance to a sold out crowd in Dunedin’s own 10Bar on Thursday night as well.

The Block Party was Talk Later’s first big gig of this size, and I must say, I’m impressed with how much effort and dedication they put into the entire event. There were slight mistakes and a little bit of confusion throughout the night, but if you were there to get cheap drinks and be worried about how drunk you had to get then you were at the wrong place. For The Block Party held a sense of history in the making and you definitely wanted to be a part of that, not worried about where your next drink was coming from, and more focused on being there for the music and energy, very proud of the entire team behind the event for doing their best and keeping their spirits high!

From Mobb Deep, to Dj Quik, to Twista, to Bone Thugs n Harmony, the energy in the entire arena felt somewhat of a euphoric and nostalgic atmosphere peeping through the night. Sadly, Prodigy from Mobb Deep was unable to make the trip to perform due to a health scare, as many fans would know, he suffers from “Sickle Cell disease” and was unable to travel at the time. We wish him a speedy recovery. Lady of Rage and Tha Dogg Proud were also unable to make an appearance as they failed to get visa’s into Australia.

But all this, did not stop the other artists to bring the entire house down and really show NZ was it was like back in the old days, and how they partied. DJ Quik has been branded as one of the worlds most underrated DJ’s of all time and at Block Party he made sure everyone would remember his name from now on and have his energy in their minds. Truly an inspiration.

Mobb Deep, are known for their dark, and hard-core delivery, as amplified by their hit track 'Shook Ones Part III' which they gave an awesome performance of!  With their incredible hype and insane lyrics, they showed the crowd how to get energised and totally on their feet. With the band dismembering in late 2012 it was awesome to see some of them back on stage again!

Twista was definitely a hit of the night, for me, it was my favourite performance as has been one of my ultimate childhood hero’s. The hits such as 'Overnight Celebrity', 'Beef' and 'Slow Jamz', the man had the whole arena singing and rapping their heads off. His electric flow and untimely insane speed, I could see that everyone was undeniably captivated by his energy and pure talent. It was amazing to see live!

Now of course we all know that Bone Thugs N Harmony was the act of the night, with them being back together still after over 20 years of hit after hit, it was undoubtedly one of the greatest performances I have ever been blessed to witness. To be in the presence of such creative masterminds and lyrical enthusiasts, it was truly such an honour to be in that moment. Performing songs from a range of their albums, such as 'Crossroads' 'Thuggish Ruggish Bone' 'Dayz of our Livez' and even doing a tribute for Eazy E, it was absolutely mind blowing to see after so many years together that each member still embodies such outstanding energy and have them all be in sync with each other, to improvise many of their hooks and echoes of the others verses, it not hard at all to realise why they are one of the world most gifted and captivating rap groups.

Some NZ acts were also there and were able to break some of the set times up for fans to get into a little bit of kiwi-fied sound in there. Acts from Che Fu, Tomorrow People, PNC and Times x Two, who may I had are coming up so fast and couldn’t be more proud of them, as they tackled the main stage too and absolutely killed it. The NZ acts were at the Aotearoa stage for most of the night, but no doubt would have been all up in the mosh pit for the rest of the night with the rest of us.

Production of the night is also something to be mentioned as, all performances has incredible support from sound and lighting. It definitely brought all the acts together and it created a sense of new rap and old rap coming intertwining. With stands on either side of the stage, many guests were able to get a higher view of the performances but, if you weren’t in the mosh pit or right up against the walk way stage, were you even really there? ;)

All in all, the entire night in my opinion was amazing and I enjoyed all the energy and dedication that everyone put into it. We have to thank Talk Later, Mai FM and everyone else involved for bringing such incredible artists to our door for us to enjoy! I have a feeling next year’s event is going to be even bigger!