Backstage Notes From Opening Night of The America’s Most Wanted Music Festival

Ralphie Aversa  —  07/28/2009 — Leave a comment

– It’s the first tour of any kind for newcomer Jeremih. The Chicago-native currently owns a Top 10 hit in “Birthday Sex.” Talk about being thrown in to the fire of a hectic schedule: while all of the other acts on the bill arrived in Scranton on Sunday, Jeremih touched down in Avoca around 4:30 on Monday. Less than two hours later, he kicked off the show with a quick set of songs from his self-titled, debut LP.

As per the suggestion of myself and Kidd Kraddick In The Morning producer Adam, he ended with the up-tempo version of “Birthday Sex.”

– National media descended again on Northeastern PA for the kickoff of Lil Wayne’s summer tour, and a familiar face showed up in the crowd. I had the pleasure of watching Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s set on stage left with not only Scranton’s DJ Woogie, but also MTV News reporter Sway Calloway. In March of 2008, I met Sway at Whistles in downtown Scranton, where he hosted an MTV Choose or Lose event with President Barack Obama.

In our interview, Calloway mentioned how impressed he was with the maturity of hip-hop (at the time, Young Jeezy performed behind us with a six piece band). He also acknowledged an on-stage stunt by Soulja Boy. Calloway has seen the “cash gimmick” many times (hip-hop artists throwing out money to the crowd), but he noted that usually the money is either dollar bills or fake. However, the “Crank That” rapper was tossing out genuine Benjamin Franklin’s in to the stands. Calloway estimated that in those short few minutes, Soulja easily tossed about $5,000 back to the fans.

– Speaking of Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, his night ended on a bit of a down note. Soulja joined Pleasure P (formerly of Pretty Ricky), Sway, Jeezy, and Jeremih on the VIP Deck at stage left to watch Lil Wayne’s performance. During the show, Arab – who is one of the rappers in Soulja Boy’s “S.O.D.M.G.” stable of artists, accidentally spilled a drink on Soulja’s white jeans. When I hopped on board his tour bus, Soulja’s entourage was trying to figure out how they could get to a washing machine: the rapper wanted to wear the jeans to Cancun, where he will be celebrating his 19th birthday.

Despite the misfortunate clothing accident, Soulja was more than happy to speak with me. 97 BHT played “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” more times than any other radio station in Northeastern PA. And apparently, the rapper is keeping tabs on me.

“Ralphie man, I see you blowin’ up, you grindin’ here in Scranton huh?” said Soulja Boy immediately when I walked on to the bus. “I see you on Twitter sendin’ out links and sh**. That’s what’s up man.”

Apparently you never know who is reading what you write on the Internet. But, this didn’t come as a complete shock – since we first met last February, Soulja Boy has uploaded two of my interviews to his YouTube channel – with cumulative views over 200,000.

Soulja is currently working on two new LPs, another solo project with a November release date, and a S.O.D.M.G. album that will drop in December. He’s traveling with a second tour bus that is equipped with a recording studio, so he can finish the projects on the road.

– How tight was security backstage at Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain? I spoke with two venue employees, who each were there over 10 years. Both said that they’ve never seen the backstage area on lockdown as much as Monday night’s show.

Ralphie Aversa

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