Judging from the lineup alone, it's evident that New York staple radio station Power 105.1 came to flex by way of bringing some of the biggest names in the game together under the same roof for their annual Powerhouse celebration. While any time fans are able to witness a stacked bill of decorated artists commanding the stage with high energy performances makes for a memorable evening, Thursday night's event (Oct. 27) represented something more than a meaty budget can provide. It represented hip-hop in a variety one cannot fully encapsulate in an Instagram post.
In between the who's who of performers, various DJs from the 105.1 camp, including DJ Clue, DJ Self and Prostyle, spun through some of their select favorites, with tracks spanning from ‘80s guilty pleasures to music that hasn't even been out for a full week. With the expert DJ sets being as noteworthy as some of the performances themselves, it became clear this show was about celebrating the love for music and honoring what is possible when remarkable talent meets unrelenting hard work.
No one was on last night's stage by accident, and as on-air personalities like Angie Martinez, Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy and Angela Yee took turns on the mic introducing different acts and dropping various anecdotal gems, the level of hip-hop past, present and future in the building was awe-inspiring. While Brooklyn crowds often are reputed for having high expectations and at times being hard to please, when it comes to showing love and respect for the culture, New York always comes correct.
With rising artists such as Ayo Jay, Young M.A, Desiigner and Kehlani kicking the festivities off, each proved they have the natural ability to win over a crowd that perhaps had tunnel vision toward the bigger acts still to come. M.A, who stepped foot in the Barclays Center for the first time despite being a Brooklyn native, made her explosive performance both a homecoming and a career milestone, further exemplifying the vibe Powerhouse curated.
Voice of New York Angie Martinez worded it perfectly, Tory Lanez taking the stage made for the perfect time to "get boo'd up," with the R&B singer running through his emotive hits, such as "Say It," "Controlla (Remix)" and "Luv." From there, with DJ sets allowing the audience time to breathe and refill their drinks, Wiz Khalifa also made his Barclays debut, donning a shirt with the words "Don't Shoot,” his signature sunglasses and dad hat. Waking the crowd up from the spell Lanez put them under, Khalifa powered through his set, performing "We Dem Boyz," "Mezmorized," "Bake Sale" and "Bad Influence," even at times showing off his rapping talents a cappella and later capping off his lengthy set with his heartfelt collaborative single "See You Again."
With the energy continuously rising, Fat Joe was next to take to the stage and was promptly joined by Remy Ma, diving into their first duet, "Lean Back." The audience was arguably held captive by Remy Ma's flawless delivery, with a surprise appearance from DJ Khaled being met with explosive applause. Immediately followed by yet another surprise, Jeezy was welcomed to the stage mere hours before the release of his highly anticipated Trap or Die 3 album. As he took over the Powerhouse stage as if it were his headlining show, Jeezy's set lit the crowd on fire with tracks such as "Bottom of the Map," "Go Crazy," "Lose My Mind" and "Soul Survivor" all getting the proper airtime. Additionally, Young M.A made a welcomed return to the stage for a special rendition of her breakout single "Ooouuu," with Jeezy giving her the ultimate co-sign.
While those in attendance would have been pleased with how the event unfolded if the show ended right there, Usher and Bryson Tiller still had work left to do. As a full band appeared on stage, an impeccably dressed Usher, sporting his signature smile, appeared on stage without an introduction. As the iconic R&B singer glided on stage, with several backup dancers supporting him, he performed a mixture of classics from his extensive discography, including "Confessions," "Good Kisser" and "Trading Places," as well as his newer track, "Rivals," before taking a subtle break to make way for the likes of Tiller.
As Tiller explained in the middle of his set, sometimes "it only takes one song" for everything to change. His performance and his humble acknowledgment of how far he's come represented that moment of inspiration that Powerhouse was designed to depict. After Tiller sang some of the highlights from his Trapsoul debut, Usher returned to masterfully tie up the evening into a nice little bow. It was yet another successful and impactful Powerhouse entered in the books.
(Photos: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeart- Power 105.1)