Rye Rye and Kelis
Photo by Alissa Christine
The Sirius Satellite Belvedere Lounge at The W Hotel, Miami Beach
March 26, 2010
Better Than: Having to deal with the throngs.
There's always a lot of side action goin' on at Winter Music Conference. Some of it is quasi-official; some of it isn't even advertised. And some of it is so exclusive it gets whispered about among those in the know simply because they wanna boast.
Such was the case last Friday afternoon out back by the pool at the South Beach W. Sirius and Belvedere had teamed to host a lounge throughout the run of WMC. And if you were one of the privileged few who got tipped to the action, it was undoubtedly one of the coolest distractions taking place during a week of way cool distractions.
But it wasn't so cool that the choice crowd didn't sweat and sing and
dance and sway along to the live music. And it wasn't so cool that the
gals on stage didn't heat up an already steamy hot day.
Kelis was the headliner; which is to say she staged after Rye Rye. But
the set-up was so informal -- and Rye Rye was so damn good -- that the
order of performers didn't matter one bit.
That's not to say
Kelis didn't have headlining charm -- she was poised and in command and
as intimately on-it and off-the-cuff glamorous as any soul sister has a
right to be when they're caught beneath a humid Miami sky. And that
ultra-dynamic and keenly put-together DJ Rashida who keeps Kelis's beats
is all that and then some, and she made much a whole lot more. Hell, on
any other day, in any other situation, I'd probably fawn over the two
like everybody else in the de facto lounge. But even Kelis's mashing up
of "Holiday" and "Milkshake," as fun-filled as it was, had to contend
with the fact that it came after someone who's a joyful as life itself.
that someone is Rye Rye.
Man, talk about happy to be somewhere.
From the moment Rye Rye stepped on stage she was all wide smiles -- a
bounding bundle of joyous energy and spirited song that was at once
charming and disarming. Oh, she's tough too -- you don't sing your way
outta East Baltimore without some knuckle and spine. But Rye Rye's
toughness is mostly kept to some kickass dance moves, which came off
like a cross between Double Dutch and kung-fu.
Then of course
there's the utter toughness of the songs themselves. "Whassup" started
the brawl, its machine gun beat setting a perfect tempo to Rye Rye's
rapid-fire challenge. So too with the following "Hardcore Girls," only
this time the rat-a-tat-tat gave way to a fast-paced swagger, and a low
grumble gave it all a roar.
"Can't you see I'm the baddest
chick, even Super Woman couldn't put her hands on this"
One can easily picture the relatively diminutive fire-brand getting in
the face of someone thrice her size -- and said someone backing the fuck
up quick. And by the time the guns come back out for "Bang" one gets
the impression that there's not a man, woman or beast in all the world
that Rye Rye wouldn't go toe-to-toe with -- and whip handily.
for all the brawl of her songs, Rye Rye kept that wide smile of hers
throughout the short and sweet set, and one can't help finding the
sass-slingin' lass infectiously endearing. Then again, when you are
indeed the baddest chick on the block and you've got one of the hottest
sounds going down, why not smile as wide as you can?
Personal Bias: I met Rye Rye just
moments before she and her crew took the stage, and even that brief
meet left me beaming.
Random Detail: Rye Rye's silver
Reeboks look built to jump over the moon.
By the Way: Rye
Rye's with M.I.A., and when the former's Go! Pop! Bang! finally
hits the streets on the latter's N.E.E.T. Recordings later this summer,
the hard-charging Baltimorean's place in the pop pantheon will be