Last night’s Tidal X: 1020 concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, thrown to celebrate the streaming service reaching a million users, felt like an uneven offering until (and even including) the headliners reached the stage halfway through the show. Even though sets moved along at a steady clip, never allowing more than five minutes to pass between acts, the event never quite picked up the pace that one would expect from a bill front-loaded with Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Usher. Nevertheless, Tidal peppered the concert with enough unscripted, unannounced moments — good and unfortunate — to demand a viewer’s full attention as the night unfolded. Here are the five biggest surprises that went down at the Tidal X: 1010 concert.
Nas joins Usher and Bibi Bourelly for “Chains”
Usher made the most of his one-song set. While performing “Chains,” an impactful track that almost no one in the crowd knew the words to (to be fair, it was only released last week), he bore actual handcuffs that shattered in mid-air before the first chorus. The arena adopted a reverent sort of silence when Nas strode in for his verse — New Yorkers know their iconic rappers and treat them with respect — and when the legend ended his performance by begging for the end of killings of unarmed black men and women by police, the Barclays Center erupted in cheers. Points for poignancy.
Hit-Boy and A$AP Ferg drop a new track
Even though whoever was running the show originally misidentified Drake’s alleged ghostwriter Quentin Miller as A$AP Ferg during hip-hop super-producer Hit Boy’s set, Ferg himself eventually surfaced for a new collaboration with the “Backseat Freestyle” architect. It’s been a while since fans have gotten any substantial info about the follow-up to the Harlem rapper’s 2013 debut, Trap Lord, but if the squelch-y, bellowing new track Ferg played last night is any indication, it’ll be worth waiting for.
Producer/Rapper Hit Boy Brings Out A$AP Ferg and Perform New Song! During #tidal1020 #hitboy #asapferg #asapmob #followme #Instadaily #Igers #instalike #like #entertainment #blogger #fashion #style #nice #dope #2015 #blog #Follow #Hiphop #Rap #Rapmusic #Music #video #instagood #instafollow #artist #Celebrity #videooftheday
Beyoncé doesn’t perform any solo material
Though Tidal co-owner and the night’s biggest star received (rightfully) the highest billing, Beyoncé failed to perform any solo material during last night’s show. Was her first-time-live-ever “Feeling Myself” duet with Nicki Minaj enough to make up for that fact? Mostly, but Bey added insult to injury when she and husband Jay Z ended their time onstage together with “Holy Grail” instead of, you know, a song that actually features her own vocals. After catching the superstar’s Global Citizen Festival set at the end of September — during which she played a full set of solo stuff, tossing in Destiny’s Child songs for good measure — her Tidal appearance felt unnecessarily scant.
Nicki & Bey killed this. No questions asked. pic.twitter.com/CoO2ciFSBa — S. Van Der Woodsen. (@nyainparis) October 21, 2015
Maybach Music Group performs a mini-set with DJ Khaled
Meek Mill started his set on the main stage, but quickly worked his way through the audience to a satellite offshoot, inviting up guests that included Rick Ross (for “B.M.F.” and “Ima Boss”), French Montana (“Ain’t Worried About Nothin’” and more), and DJ Khaled, who’d been rapping into a mic from sidestage until the opening horn blasts of “All I Do Is Win” signaled his arrival. Their collaborative time onstage proved the night’s most genuine, fun moment as they hugged, grinned, and ambled around goofily the entire time.
French Montana, Meek Mill, and Rick Ross #MMG #tidalx1020
A photo posted by Brennan Carley (@brennancarley) on Oct 20, 2015 at 8:46pm PDT
Pusha T and Travis Scott mysteriously never show up
Though lower-billed acts like Thomas Rhett, Alessia Cara, Justine Skye, and more all hopped onstage and ripped through one single track each to keep things moving, they could’ve all benefited from more time considering the fact that marquee rappers Pusha T and Travis Scott were total no-shows. There was no explanation given, and neither musician tweeted about the night, leaving fans scratching their heads — though Bey and Nicki did pay half-tribute to Scott when they threw in an “Antidote” sample into their “Feeling Myself” dance break. With Pusha and Travis’ inexplicable absences following Prince’s quiet drop off of the bill the week beforehand, it’s hard not to assume something’s up behind the scenes.