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Black Star, Immortal Technique close out Paid Dues Festival 2011
Written by Melissa Garcia   
Monday, 04 April 2011 20:31

This year’s Paid Dues Festival was no belated April fool’s joke. Held at the NOS Event Center, San Bernardino April 2, Black Star, Immortal Technique and Bun B showed everyone what being a headliner was all about.  

Black Star was the perfect ending to such an extraordinary night. Keeping it classier than pointdexter, Mos Def hung a pencil tie from around his neck, and once he threw off his jean jacket his red suspenders became the object of my obsession. He was the backbone for the whole performance. When Talib Kweli faltered during his a capella freestyle, Mos Def was right there to pick it back up.

It was a treat to see a performer like Mos Def sauntering across the stage with his loafers gliding from left to right like a mild impression of Michael Jackson. He knew what he wanted and made sure that his mic sounded right, which brought the performance on point. Talib Kweli was no exception to this divine set, he held his own on stage without any fancy moves. He dominated “Get By,” while Mos Def hung back and sang the chorus.

As if the show wasn’t cool enough, a light mist fell on the crowd during “Brown Skin Lady,” which helped cool down all the heat that Black Star was bringing.

Immortal Technique, beyond all of his preaching, was a show stopper. “Point of no Return,” was played right before for Chino XL took the stage for his freestyle. His presence alone was exciting, and then to hear him freestyle was enough to send the audience over the edge. Immortal is known as a very dynamic and expressive lyricist, and throughout his performance he takes you along on an adventure, a physical manifestation of the stories he tells. “Dance with the Devil,” is one of those songs that burrows deep under your skin and once you hear it you’ll never forget it, especially the way Immortal does it live. Using his sweat rag to stomp on and express the beating that goes on in the song gave it an even stronger presence and by the end I was covered with goose bumps.

Slaughter House performed in the octagon they had set-up in dome area. Freestyle battles raged on throughout the day and night, along with performances by DJ Muggs, Planet Asia, Bambu, and Sick Jacken. The octagon, typical to cage fighting, was a little bit of a distraction and although you could get a complete 360 degree view of the stage, the cage was a little difficult to see through.

Feeling the divide between the cage and the audience Slaughter House and Planet Asia stepped outside to preform with the fans. Nate Dogg tributes were abundant throughout the night, Crooked I being one of the contributors. Shady Records was the topic of discussion in Slaughter House’s set, since being signed to them in January. “Pump It Up,” rocked the dome when Joe Budden took the mic and just outside the dome was Eligh some spitting rhymes.

Eligh with his fast talking, often soul digging lyrics was one of the best performances of the night. He left it hard for anyone else to show him up on Dues Paid Stage. E-40 also got to grace the stage performing “White Girl,” after Murs left the stage.

VIP for this year’s Paid Dues was worth the extra cash in this case. There were meet-and-greets with Slaughter House, Murs (twice in one day) Asher Roth, Immortal Technique, and Sage Francis caused lines that wrapped around the VIP area and out the door

Paid Dues didn’t let up this year, and hopefully next years will be just as just as good.

(because It will be close to impossible to top it…)



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