LIVE: Heineken Inspire DC with Rick Ross, Erykah Badu, Wale, and The Clipse

The Heineken Inspire Tour made a stop in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday with a star-studded event held at LOVE Nightclub. As the fifth stop on the tour’s schedule, Heineken brought along a new design known as the “STR Bottle” – an upscale aluminum bottle that when viewed under the black light of a bar or club illuminates to reveal a previously hidden design. Guests in attendance also had the opportunity to take home a screen-printed tee with the Heineken inspired design of their choosing, get funky on DJ Hero, have a mock Vibe cover shoot posing as a DJ, and drink all the Heineken varieties they wanted at the low price of Free99. For the social media piece, there was the Heineken Wisdom Wall that asked “What inspires you?”. Guests were able to text their inspirations via iPad or laptop and have them displayed on the Heineken Wisdom Wall through mobile access to Facebook.

Interscope artist Wale opens the performance portion of the event with “The MC” from his most recent project More About Nothing and the DMV anthem that never quite resonated “Nike Boots”. Joining him on stage was his crooning partner in crime, Tre of UCB, who took many DMV natives and longtime residents back to 2005 with UCB’s “Sexy Lady”. The crowd was quickly taken on the musical evolution of Wale with “Dig Dug”, “Prettygirls”, and the current crowd favorite “No Hands” featured on Wacka Flocka Flame’s debut album Flockaveli. He admitted to not knowing Wacka Flocka’s verse and freestyled over it emphatically: “I don’t know Wacka Flocka verse off top, so I’ma get into it when it get’s to my part”.

Clipse was the next act and wisely began their set with “Grindin'” and “Cot Damn” to grab the crowds attention but surprisingly went into a lesser known “Ride Around Shining” from Hell Hath No Fury. Re-up Gang member and the only remaining MC in the crew from Philly, Ab Liva was present to interject during his verses on “Cot Damn” and “Ride Around Shining”. After losing the audiences’ ear for a second, the VA Beach duo brought it all home with “I’m Good” and “Popular Demand”.

Making his third appearance in DC this past weekend was the headliner Rick Ross. The Teflon Don performed almost every hit he has had since Port of Miami but not necessarily in chronological order. The crowd was more than appreciative of his inclusion of earlier Ross cuts such as “Hustlin'” and “Boss” but rocked to Teflon Don features like “B.M.F.” and “Aston Martin Music” just the same. All throughout the event there was talk of a “special surprise guest” who was to perform that evening. Thanks to the always loved and hated social networking platform known as Twitter and a more than reliable Twitter pal mentioning her location in front of the venue, I used my noggin to figure out the special guest was none other than @fatbellybella aka Erykah Badu. The crowd was instantly set off into a frenzy when she appeared on stage. Upon her entrance and Ross’s exit, the two gave the audience a bit of “Turn Me Away (Get MuNNY)”. Badu even gave fans a small taste of “Honey” that was well-received as she made her exit from the stage shortly after.

DJs who are booked at these events provide talent that is often under-appreciated but it’s important and extremely necessary to big up a worthy mainstay in DC by way of Baltimore, MD – WKYS’s DJ Quicksilva. As the pre-show talent, Quicksilva showed much love to hip-hop and helped attendees revisit a time when being an indie rapper was really never viewed as a viable option by the masses and being considered mainstream meant you sold out. The featured DJ for the evening, D-Nice, did an excellent job of maintaining the interests of all in the crowd. He kicked the set off with a Diddy drop and implemented plenty of old school party DJ fundamentals and still moved a mostly 30 and under crowd. D-Nice’s set was a proper balance of current hip-hop and R&B favorites along with all the hip-hop songs you still unabashedly know word for word (i.e. – “I Got 5 On It”).

If ya missed it, ya missed it. Four years strong, the Heineken Experience moves on…