By Joanie Cox
The lavish Hennessy Artistry party, which took over the Ice Palace in downtown Miami Sept. 25, brought out a roster of performers to shake up hundreds of Miami music lovers unlike any other lineup. Miami Heat DJ Irie revved up the room and The Roots, Eve, Kat DeLuna, Daniel Merryweather and Q-Tip later rocked the stage. And then surprise guest Bobby Brown took the house down with his live renditions of his classic songs “Every Little Step” and “My Prerogative.” Backstage, City Link caught up with some of the performers before the big show.
Qwestlove a.k.a. Ahmir Khalib Thompson, who drums for The Roots, was in good spirits backstage chatting with reporters about his band’s Sept. 21 collaboration with John Legend. “We just released Wake Up! with John. John and I were on the campaign trail of 2008 and we were both caught up in the excitement of the future. So we decided let’s do a quickie record in time for November 2008,” Thompson says. “But the part that got so good was that neither he nor I wanted to stop the process and do it just to cash in on getting into the White House. So we decided to wait for two years and see if the country could have a turn around in that whole jubilant feeling. And it sort of made the song selection even more relevant because there’s still confusion and anger in the nation. And that album still reflects it. Those problems were here before him and unfortunately, they’ll be here after him.”
Working down the street from Fox News in Manhattan has been keeping Thompson fired up about political issues. “As a quasi resident of New York City, I work down the street from the Fox building and it’s just really appalling to see the level of revisionism I see happening as far as their version of what they want out of this country and total forgetfulness of what got us here in the first place,” Thompson adds. “There’s still $500 million unaccounted for for the war. It was in Fahrenheit/911 that they conveniently lost that money. Not to mention the development of the tea party with the fear and confusion of the mosque building in the New York City. There’s just a lot of things that are brewing and it’s very trying and somewhat a curious time so I’m keeping my eyes open.”
While Miami hipsters sipped an endless flowing bar of complimentary Hennessy cocktails mixed with cranberry and pineapple juice, hip-hop hottie Eve was also backstage waiting to perform “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” The 31-year-old Ruff Ryder who has recorded tunes with The Roots and Dr. Dre has been working on an album since 2007, which is slated for release January 2011. “Thank God I finally have an album coming out,” Eve says. “It’s called Liplock. Salaam Remi did a lot of the production on it. I have two records with Akon. I have a record with a guy named Chitty Bang that’s from Philly. But it’s not done yet. I think it’s a record that ties together all the features people know about me from before. People have been asking ‘Where’s the old Eve? We want the old Eve.’ I’m always going to be an emcee. I write my own stuff but I think I did a good job bridging my old stuff to the new stuff I’m doing now. I’m excited about it.”
Brown’s surprise appearance caused many jaws to drop in the audience. Backstge, the former member of New Edition was all smiles hanging out with his fiancée and cracking jokes with DJ Irie. Though he’s working on a new reality show, a few movies and some projects he didn’t want to mention yet, he’s hoping to release a new single this fall. “I’m finishing my new album, which will probably be released in the first quarter of next year. My single should probably be coming out by November or early December,” Brown says. “It’s a lot better than my last one. I think I’m in a better place right now in my life with my writing and people I’m working with. It’s a better blend.”
And in case anyone else was wondering what Brown thought of Britney Spears covering his 1988 hit “My Prerogative,” in 2004, Brown was totally down with it.
“I thought it was great. I thought she did her version of a great song that didn’t need to be messed with, but I really thank her for the paycheck because the check was great.”
With a new love in his life, Brown is optimistic to tour again and show fans what he’s up to now. “I’m just trying to stay busy and keep focused. God is good,” Brown says.