Heineken Bring Nas, Wale and Q-Tip To Philly
by Matt Kelchner
As part of it’s nationally touring “Red Star Access” series, Dutch brew makers Heineken teamed up a hip-hop legend with one of the scene’s biggest new artists to the city of brotherly love for a Sunday afternoon of hip hop. Fans eagerly waited in lines leading up to the Electric Factory on October 13th to see live sets from Nas and Wale as well as a DJ set from Q-Tip.
Upon entering, fans were greeted with displays of Heineken’s collaborations with prominent clothing/apparel companies Diamond Supply Company, Black Apple and New Era. Free city-centric snacks and food were provided as well. Guests were treated to hoagies, cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and Tastykake pastries.
Q-Tip started off the show spinning hip-hop classics new and old. As he weaved artists like Jay-Z , Drake and Biggie together, guests piled in. With no shortage of complementary foods and Heineken drinks, people quickly settled in to pack the stage. After about an hour and a half DJ set, Q-Tip made way for the first musical guest of the evening to perform.
Washington DC native and MMG rapper Wale played a lengthy set made of singles new and old. Backed by a full band made of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer and percussionist on top of the typical DJ. With a set spanning from one of his earliest like “Nike Boots” to more current hits like “Lotus Flower Bomb”, he also brought his own DC flair with his go-go infused hit “Pretty Girls”. From the very beginning of his set, Wale controlled the crowd with his high-octane energy paired with his extremely tight band. As his time came to an end, Wale surprised the crowd by bringing out Philly native Freeway for a special performance. Wale’s performance came to a close with a medley of his own renditions of “Rack City” and “No Hands” as well as his Diplo-produced single “Slight Work”.
Following the end of Wale’s set, Q-Tip came back to arm the turntables while the crowd eagerly awaited Nas to come to the stage. Q-Tip continued with his mix of radio hits. He also teased fans with jokes of a secret reunion of A Tribe Called Quest. After getting hopes up, Q-Tip ended his night spinning a special selection of songs from the recently reunited hip-hop group.
Once Q-Tip finished spinning his last song and said his thank yous, Nas took to the stage to finish the show. While he only had time for a 30 minute set, the Queens legend commanded the crowd from start to finish. Backed by DJ Green Lantern, the legendary Rochester, NY native, Nas controlled the crowd in his own laid back, cool style. There wasn’t a single moment where the show’s energy level fell flat. He blazed through a set that included classics like “If I Ruled The World” and “One Mic”. Crowd favorites included “Hate Me Now” and “Bye Baby”. There were no surprise guests, no special outrageous antics or extravagant stage decorations for Nas; it was just him backed by his DJ. The night came to a close with one of his biggest hits “Hip Hop Is Dead”.
Heineken has brought some pretty impressive and exclusive shows around Philadelphia over the past couple of years but none as impressive as teaming Nas, Wale and Q-Tip altogether for one incredible night of music.