Article by Mikey Fresh
Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep are two of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time, and two groups that are the least likely to be associated with R&B. The rugged rhymes and gritty production from these native New Yorkers have built the structure for 80’s babies’ likes Juelz Santana and Lil’ Wayne to be successful. More then a decade later the man who turned these same emcees into rap superstars has given his talent-finding ability and respected blessing to the 1st ladies of SRC Records. Vocalists Shire, Shontelle and Melissa Jimenez all blessed of stage of New York City’s Club Arena this past Monday night and proved to the over-crowded venue that you only get one chance to blow.
Steve Rifkind, CEO and owner of SRC, organized the event which featured a full open bar and appetizers courtesy of Stoli Vodka. The seductive and charming hosting duties were taken care of by the show-stopping beauty, Gabrielle Union. Shire began the show by stealing the audience’s attention with throwback style of soul, mixed with new age R&B. Her deep vocal capabilities proved too much for the wretched soundman to take care of. Shire could have rocked the crowd with no mic and no speakers. Nas might need one, but Shire was good all by her lonesome. Newcomer Shontelle spread her Barbados-bred soul throughout the audience and ran through a barrage of songs like “Cold Cold Summer” and “Drop The Needle” showing her versatility to reach the R&B, Pop, and Dancehall crowds.
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Closing out the evening was the well-choreographed dance and up-temp vocals of Melissa Jimenez, who has worked closely with artists like Beanie Sigel, Nore, and Swizz Beats. She thoroughly worked her set complete with costume changes and boy band-esque back up dancers. The fickle NYC crowd even showed some love and participation when she performed her buzz-worthy singles “Untouchable” and “He Ain’t The Only One”. Finally, with a couple of Cranberry and Stoli’s in my system, I spoke to Gabrielle, caught a flick, and went straight home to brag to my boys.