Photo Credit – Photography by: Anesha Collins of Unashamed Imaging, LLC.
For one fall weekend every year for the past 14 years Tampa has been the center of the Christian Hip-Hop world. CHH artists, producers, personalities and media members gather with hundreds of fans at Crossover Church for an annual event called Flavor Fest. The event is founded by Crossover’s head pastor Tommy K, also known as Urban D. Flavor Fest is an all encompassing event that aims to reach attendees in as many ways as possible. There is a conference, workshops and a concert that make up the entire event. It has been a popular event that has seen pretty much every name in CHH, legendary speakers and leaders, and it has even helped produce similar events.
I haven’t personally been to the entire Flavor Fest event (including the conference) yet, but I have been to the better half of the concerts over the past seven years. It has been extremely influential in my growing fandom of CHH. Through the Flavor Fest concerts I have been introduced to artists that have become some of my favorites, including KB and Odd Thomas. I have also had the opportunity to see some of the best artists in CHH history perform live such as Cross Movement, Lecrae, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Trip Lee, Braille, Propaganda and Thi’sl.
That is one of the most appealing parts of the concert; it feels like a showcase more than an actual concert. So every year fans have an opportunity to see their favorite artists perform live and are introduced to new artists. Another appealing aspect of Flavor Fest is that their concert line-ups are always incredible! Flavor fest brings the biggest artists together in the same venue, and that is unlike almost anything else CHH has to offer.
This year was no different. From legendary to up and coming, from veterans to new comers. Flavor fest had it all. CHH fans were treated with performances from MC Jin, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Social Club, KB, D-Maub, Dee-1, the whole WLAK crew and more. Other than these great performances Flavor Fest had a poetry room, underground stage and beat battle. The concert was a real treat for fans and here were some of the highlights.
The Underground Stage
Towards the back of Crossover Church they had a room with a small stage set for some underground artists to perform. It was a more intimate setting and this created a dope experience for fans. There were several artists that performed on this stage but there were a few that really shined. Serge, KIDD, Deraj, and Butta P had great sets. With limited time each artist gave fans a great insight into their talents. It was an awesome showcase and a perfect addition to the concert.
His energy and enthusiasm is so high that it fills the room, any room, no matter how big it is. He is a captivating performer and demands the attention of his audience just with his charisma. He did “open arms” and had the church worshipping. He also did some more of his older stuff then lead into tracks off of his upcoming album XIV:LIX, which was exciting for fans. It was a roller coaster set in a short amount of time. Jin had us worshipping, turning up, and then left us in an introspective deep mood. It was exhilarating and awesome.
They were the last performers of the whole weekend and had to follow other great performances. They did not disappoint. Social Club brought their wild, crazy and reckless style to flavor fest in a big way. They had the crowd going crazy to the Social Club classics including (but not limited to) “Cops”, “Coogi Sweater” and “Benjamin Trillington.” In between their set they weaved in their “misfit” message and had everyone hyped but fed as well. The Social Club experience was phenomenal and it was the perfect way to close out a show.
Rapzilla Beat Battle
In past years this hasn’t been the best part of the weekend. It can have awkward points and drag on for a long time. This year it was amazing! Every producer that came to the stage entertained and gave the crowd some really good beats. They consistently had the crowd (and the judges, MC Jin, Dee-1) going crazy. Each matchup kept the crowd engaged and excited. It was a good show, and a great break in between sets.
KB is a star! After his set, that is all I could say. He is an amazing performer, easily one of the best in all of CHH. His passion, stage presence and charisma are incredible. He controlled the crowd and the entire room. Never once during his set did he lose the audiences attention.
To be completely honest I haven’t been the biggest fan of T.R.U.T.H.’s music recently. However his set was nothing short of incredible at Flavor Fest. T.R.U.T.H. is a living legend and his performance is a clear picture of that. He controls the crowd and performs with a controlled aggression that is unlike anything I’ve seen. He rocked joints off of his two latest albums and had the crowd rocking the whole time. T.R.U.T.H.’s set was an honor to see and every emcee should have been taking notes. T.R.U.T.H. performs the way emcees should perform; it was truly a work of art.
The powerhouse group closed out the first night of concerts, and they definitely closed it out with a bang. They owned the crowd. Which you would think is a tough thing to do in this instance because it was a southern crowd who stays turnt up. This was not a problem for the Collision Crew. They had the crowd rocking, as they opened with the hard hitting song “YHWH.” Afterwards, Swoope, Dre Murray, and Christon Gray all did songs off of their individual records. They closed out with “Same Team” and left all of the fans satisfied. They shut the whole show down and gave the crowd a memorable performance.
Overall it was another great Flavor Fest. All the artists and producers brought their best, and truly left any fan in attendance satisfied. If you have never been, it’s something you have to experience. Flavor Fest is one of the biggest events in all of CHH and this year’s event was a perfect example of that.