The following is a guest post, written by Tameshia Williams, a Wade-O Radio supporter. Williams’ bio can be found at the bottom of this post.
I’ve been acquainted with Sho Baraka’s music long before the LifeWay incident. But I admit, it’s been a casual acquaintance. Then a friend insisted that I listen to his latest album, The Narrative. I became a fan. When I heard that his tour, A Night With Sho Baraka, was coming to Dallas, I knew I had to go. Especially, when general admission cost only $15.
I’d never seen Sho live, so I had no clue what I was in for. From the moment he stepped onto the stage to the last song, I was thoroughly entertained. Sho is a great rapper, I knew that. Sho is a great storyteller, I knew that. But what I learned that night is that he’s also a great showman, channeling the likes of James Brown with high pitched hollers and an ability to work the crowd.
He performed most of the songs from his latest album including “MyHood U.S.A., 1937,”, “Kanye, 2009”, “Maybe Both, 1865”, “Excellent, 2017”, “Propfet, 1968”, and crowd pleasers like “30 & Up, 1986”, “Here, 2016”, and “Love, 1959”. Many gathered in a standing-room only building, where the crowd provided a lot of energy for both the opening acts and Sho Baraka. The opening acts included The KnuBlack, Vanessa Hill, and ShySpeaks.
Sho brought along a band and drummer Nate theBeatBreaker, and this gave the experience more of a live, organic feel. It also allowed for a lot more creativity and improvisation.
Towards the middle of the night, Sho parted the crowd to create a Soul Train line. Concert goers grooved down the makeshift aisle with a mixture of retro and modern dance moves. But Sho also took us to church. At the end of one song, the keyboardist began to play Amazing Grace and you were transported to Sunday morning service. Sho then asked the audience to give him a singer for the song. A woman’s friends pushed her to the edge of the stage. Sho handed her the mic and she brought the house down.
It’s more than the entertainment and audience interaction that makes a Sho concert so good. It’s the content of his songs. There’s a consciousness in the lyrics that challenges you to think about the world and your relationship to it, particularly in the space of race and identity. Baraka’s music addresses issues from racism to socio-economic issues within the black community to the experience of being a black Christian in America. And woven throughout each lyric, each beat, each spoken word is the message of God and faith.
A Night With Sho Baraka was a great evening filled with live music, great entertainment, and a message of hope.