Inside New York City venue S.O.B.s on Thursday night, attendees enjoyed apple and berry cocktails as they awaited performances from the likes of Travie McCoy, Wynter Gordon, and XV. And though there were fun and games to be had, the Hennessy Artistry event had a deeper purpose benefitting Artistry GIVES, a program that raises funds to keep the arts alive in schools.
“[They do] a lot of music education, which a lot of schools need these days, because [schools are] cutting back,” Wynter tells Rap-Up.com.” A lot of kids don’t get to have the arts programs like I did when I grew up. This is a great thing for them.” Travie adds, “Once they told me how they were helping young artists get off the ground through [their charity], inspiring them to get to the next level, I was super stoked about it.”
Before Wynter took the stage, Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg warmed up the cramped crowd with tunes from Rah Digga and even Bobby Caldwell. Soon the frizzy-haired Wynter grabbed the mic, singing her electro-dance single “Dirty Talk” and “Till Death.” To the shock of the audience, she then took out a whip decorated with a black heart to perform the David Guetta-produced “Toyfriend.”
XV was next on the bill, and the crowd clearly knew his name. He performed his single “Nevermind,” spitting, “I was gonna step out the whip/ In a fresh outfit/ But then I went and thought about you/ Nevermind.” He followed up with “Mirror’s Edge” before handing the mic over to headliner Travie McCoy.
When the tattooed rapper burst onto the stage for his first tune, “Dr. Feel Good,” the crowd was captivated as he brushed through hits from his solo debut Lazarus. His vibrant friends, The Oxymorons, joined Travie for “We’ll Be Alright,” causing hands to shoot up in the air. “Billionaire” came mid-set, sans collaborator Bruno Mars, however, the audience dissonantly made up for the singer’s absence. Before rushing off stage, Travie gave new and devoted fans some parting info: he’s 16 tracks deep into a new album with his Gym Class Heroes comrades.
Photos by Cassidy Maldonado