Throwback Is Comin' Back

Pirate radio, a Holiday Inn that isn't, lots of cops, and cagey promoters

"Motherfucker's $10," he says. "Why would I pay $10 when I can see that outside for free?" He points across the parking lot to a girl sporting a white Nuggets throwback as minidress. With the old Nuggets logo -- a pixilated Denver skyline silhouetted before the Colorado Mountains -- it's one of the coolest, most expensive jerseys. "Yeah," Dee says, "niggas'll murder for those."

The miniskirted girl says she has driven a good ten hours from Georgia. Nancy doesn't get Showtime in Atlanta, but her sister-in-law, Tania, told her she had to be at this gathering. Like Dee, T, and pretty much the majority of the crowd, the two girls aren't planning on paying the cover. They're having fun hanging out and being seen. "Plus," Tania says, sucking on a cherry Blow Pop that matches her hot pants that match her Chuck Taylors, "whatever's in there, we got it out here."

By 11:30 pm, Tania doesn't have much choice but to stay outside. According to the hotel's catering and sales manager, Maria Hernandez, the ballroom has already reached maximum capacity.

With music blasting from inside hotel I-95 North, girls outside wait to get "crunk"
Colby Katz
With music blasting from inside hotel I-95 North, girls outside wait to get "crunk"

Three hundred and fifty people are on that dance floor throwing bows, which, for anyone who hasn't been in the pit at a Southern rap show, is basically early '90s slam dancing, just sexier. Where the mosh pit predominantly attracted guys bearing grudges against their parents, here, girls are very much in the mix. Ladies grab their ankles, and guys (at least, those not pushing each other around) get behind them, basically standing there, while their partners do things with their legs, thighs, and asses that you see only on videos on 106th and Park. Despite its cathartic anger and intensity, this is dance music. It's about having fun and hopefully getting laid.

It's also about getting drunk and smoking pot, which the doorman, a brother of significant size, respects but won't allow inside. Decked out in fatigues, he finds a blunt on a dread in a Bullets jersey. "You can take this back," he screams at the kid over Bonecrusher's "I Ain't Scared (Remix)," which is blaring from the ballroom, "or I'll throw it out." The kid hands him ten bucks and says not to worry about it.

It's apparent from the empty airplane-sized-bottles of Moët & Chandon that Throwback Friday is a success. It's also obvious that the police are not going to allow this to go on much longer.

When there's a war between partygoers and law enforcement, the latter, unfortunately, triumphs. "We received a call about a fight earlier in the night," Jim Leljedal explains of the 11 or so cop cars that showed up next to the Waffle House around midnight. The public information officer for the Broward Sheriff's Office says the department received two calls that night, one saying, "You'll need more cops for this." So they sent every patrolman in the area, Leljedal says. Yet there were no arrests and no reports.

With an army of policemen blocking 4900 Powerline Rd. at 2 a.m., it seems reasonable to believe that there won't be anymore Throwback Fridays. But Maria Hernandez isn't so sure. She says that I-95 North has renegotiated its contract with Leo Jean of Jamaitian Entertainment. "We've figured out ways of controlling the crowd," she says. "[Next time] all the attendees will come in from the side entrance, and there will be additional security -- we're basically doubling our security." The three police officers and four hotel security guards who were present will be joined by six Jamaitian crowd controllers, Hernandez assures.

Throwback Friday will go down again, at least one more time.

Well, maybe it will. The people at Jamaitian, an unsurprisingly dodgy organization, claim they don't know Throwback Friday's future. At the number Hernandez provides for Jamaitian, Leo Jean is not in, and the guy manning the phones is dubious of questions.

"I don't know you," he says. "So you ain't getting my name."

As far as getting to the bottom of the history and future of Throwback Friday, or even the proper spelling of Jamaitian for this article, he's even cagier. "Well, I don't know about that," he says. "I don't know if Jamaitian wants you writing about it. I don't know if we do more parties."

Later, Leo reiterates this point: "We're not trying to be in no newspapers," he explains, "so don't do nothing on us. You got that?" With that, he hangs up, again refusing to spell Jamaitian.

Fortunately, though, back on 89.5 FM, Showtime says that listeners have no choice but to show up at the corner of Powerline and Commercial at week's end. Throwback Friday is definitely on. And it's clear from last week's turnout that listeners respond, so party or not, there will be a crowd. "It's popping again this Friday," he shouts, interrupting a verse of Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy?" "Bring your bitches!"

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