So I had expected to write an article on Hat Trick (Hendrix’s annual triple concert at Kings), but I thought I would be writing something more akin to a concert review, or maybe an interview with one of the artists if I got lucky. But my actual experience was a lot different then I had expected.
It started the night before Hat Trick when I got a message from the KHDX Station Manager that said “Hey Jacob! Sorry this is so last minute, but Tut is getting in at 10:30 tomorrow morning and needs a ride from the airport. Would you be willing to be his chauffeur?” So I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
The next morning I got up early to drive to the Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport. I stood by baggage claim with a sign that I had made by drawing TUT’s logo on an old pizza box top with a blue highlighter. I was very quickly face to face with a jet lagged yet still swagged out TUT. After a quick introduction and dap, we began talking and heading to my car. As we were walking to my vehicle, I told him I was a big fan of his as well as his group, The House. After hearing this he started grinning from ear to ear and said that his producer Ktoven was supposed to come DJ for him but had to back out last minute. I responded with “Oh Snap! I love Ktoven! He produced that “Get Loose” joint by Mike Da Vinci!” “You know Mike Da Vinci? I ain’t even know he released that one yet!” “Hell yeah, man! I f*** with all y’all’s s***!” We get into my car, and I ask if its cool if I bump some Big K.R.I.T. “Hell yeah, man! Turn that s*** up!” So, as we are riding in my car jamming out to “K.R.I.T. Wuz Here”, TUT says to me, “So, like I was saying, I don’t have a DJ for my set tonight. I was told you were a DJ at the radio station. Do you want to spin for my set tonight?” I, of course, sad yes and then went on driving towards Conway as if nothing had changed. On the way, we chatted about southern rap classics, Tennessee, and how “All these rappers is fake”.
I ask him if I’m supposed to drive him to his hotel or the venue and he says he doesn’t know so I call my station manager. My station manager does not know TUT’s itinerary so she told me to call our interim concert director. I did just that, and when I did I got a response I was told that I needed to take TUT to his hotel, but for some reason, no one seemed to know which hotel his room was booked at. Just great. But I play it off until we get closer to Conway when I get a message saying to go to the Holliday Inn Express. So I star driving towards the Holiday Inn express. When we pull up to the hotel I get a message say, “Never mind, go to the La Quinta”, which is luckily right next to the HIE. I pull into to the La Quinta parking lot, help TUT with his bags, and walk into the lobby. While the girl behind the counter flirted with TUT, I tried and get the interim concert director on the phone, to find out whose name the room is under. When I eventually got her on the phone I was told that TUT now had a room at the Holiday Inn, but it would not be ready until the afternoon. In the meantime, I should try and see if he wanted anything to eat and I would be reimbursed for whatever food I bought him. I told TUT what was up and he told me that he was just tired and didn’t really want to eat anything. So I told him the best thing I could offer him was “a bunch of couches in my dorm lobby.” He accepted the offer and we drove to campus where I led him to my dorm so he could nap on a couch.
As we were walking into the building, this massive tour group of prospective students and their family streamed out the front door as we awkwardly stand to the side. After they pass we enter the building, we run into a few of my friends and I introduce them to TUT before taking TUT over to a little side room with some couches, so he can get some rest. Before too long, I am able to get my station manager on the phone and we arrange for TUT to sleep on the couch in her apartment where he won’t be bothered by all the noises of the dorm and fans trying to meet him. In a few minutes, she arrives and we end up taking my car to her apartment because it’s easier than waking the bags over. I drop them off at the apartment and as TUT gets out of the car he says to me “I’ll see you at sound check, man.”
I drive back to my dorm and proceed to have lunch, take a shower, and get ready for sound check. I arrive at sound check ready as I’m going to be right on time at 5:00 sharp and wait for TUT to arrive at the venue. He gets there shortly after I do and we set up everything we need to and sound check goes smoothly. After sound check, I ask the concert director if I have time to sneak out and get some food before the show. She tells me, “Hey, you’re part of the act now. Feel free to help yourself to whatever food you want in the green room. We have way more food then they’ll end up eating so go nuts.” So I go back to the VIP area in a little room tucked away near the bar. I eat three turkey sandwiches and drink some bottled water as I sit in VIP hanging out with TUT. Eventually, TUT goes outside to smoke before the show and I nervously run back and forth to the restroom. Then, before long, Ivy Sole takes the stage. I get in the front row and watch her set which was full of energy and great vocal performances. The crowd responds fantastically to “Malika”.
On the second to last song of Ivy Sole’s set, the concert director finds me and tells me to go back to VIP to get ready with TUT. I follow suit and discuss a plan of action with TUT. He gives me his laptop which I take up to the stage after Ivy’s set is over. I get behind the DJ table and open up the laptop and grab the microphone that is still laying on the table. I pick it up and introduce myself as DJ Bruh Bruh. The crowd is a little unsure but enthusiastic. I play the two remixes that TUT has prepared for me and try to get the crowd moving. I occasionally yell out something like “Bounce!” or “Make Some Noise!” After the two remixes, I put on “Live from Chattanooga” and TUT comes out from the back with a microphone and walks through the crowd rapping, like a hip-hop Moses parting the (mostly) white sea. We play a bunch of fan favorites from “Preacher’s Son” as well as “Outside” and “Nothing”. The show goes great until the end when the speaker begins to mess up. But, TUT resurrects the set bet spitting “A Capella” and the crowd loses their minds. That concluded probably the craziest night of my life so far.
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