(cover shot by @sxrreal)
1800 Tequila’s 1800 Seconds project is a unique type of sponsored musical collaboration, one that carries an impressive level of integrity in a world of branded content that has produced the likes of Chef Boyachty (no offense, I thought it was pretty funny tbh).
The project involved 10 hand-selected artists creating a compilation album together, recording at the legendary Westlake Studios under the guidance of one of the most consistent and respected names in rap music, Pusha T. I was a bit surprised that Push, who released one of the best albums of 2018 and has had an impressive career both solo and as 1/2 of Clipse before that, agreed to be a part of the project. He certainly doesn’t need the money, and it’s not like he’s lacking publicity, so why would he decide to partner with a corporate entity to do a stint like this? I think the fact that he did says a lot about the project; he didn’t need it, but he wanted it, because of the opportunities that it facilitated for him to mentor some very promising young artists from across the country, and to share his insights and experiences with a younger generation of stars to come.
1800 hosted a surprise event in Detroit on Thursday night as a part of the 1800 Seconds project, featuring performances from all 10 artists on the compilation as well as an extended appearance by Pusha T himself. While all of the artists showed promise on stage, showcasing a range of talents and styles that set them apart from one another while contributing to the sound of the compilation all at once, in my personal (and slightly biased) opinion, Detroit stole the show. The city had not one, but two artists on the lineup for the project and the show, and both of them did the hometown crowd proud by representing the city’s rising talent on a high-profile, national stage.
Monalyse was one of the first performers of the night, and her set proved that she was by far one of the most lyrically and technically talented emcees that graced the stage, aside from (but also, along with) Pusha T of course. Her choice of beats and precise delivery are impressive in general, but as we all know being a female in a male-centric field comes with it’s additional challenges. Mona’s ability to blend both soft and aggressive energies, combined with thoughtful and poignant lyrical content, result in an undeniable appeal that was obviously recognized by one of the biggest names in the industry.
Alright, let’s just get on with it: Sam Austins is a star. His ability to command a crowd sets him apart from many local acts in the city, and his musical progression that meanders between rap and R&B / pop sensibilities have earned him a wide appeal in Detroit and beyond. His movements exude a self-assuredness that can convince even the most skeptical audience, but of course performing in his hometown, he had no problem with that on Thursday night. The energy was undeniable, and the crowd’s enthusiastic response was just the icing on the cake.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if Pusha T didn’t even come, unfortunately I’ve been disappointed enough times by lofty lineup announcements that I’m immune to it by now, but I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. Push came out with a fury, going right into one of the biggest songs off of his latest album Daytona, and following with a far-reaching medley of hits that touched almost every point in his storied career, including a Clipse track and his verse on Jay Z’s “Drug Dealers Anonymous.” Seeing Pusha T perform at St. Andrews Hall during his last tour was one of the best rap shows I’ve ever seen in my life, and while this appearance wasn’t quite on the same caliber for obvious reasons, Push once again spoke of his love and appreciation for the city of Detroit, and for his gratitude at having the opportunity to work with such an impressive group of rising artists at a critical moment in their careers. I came for the music and stayed for the free tequila, and all in all I was glad to spend the night with 1800 as they presented a prime example of how brands and creators can work hand in hand, for both of their mutual benefit.