Kanye West and Big Sean were the “Champions” of Powerhouse.
The G.O.O.D. Music duo linked up for a surprise performance at the annual concert thrown by Los Angeles radio station Power 106 on Friday (Jun. 3) at Anaheim’s Honda Center.
The Dark Sky Paradise MC—one of the show’s headliners—brought Yeezus out for a slew of smashes, the newest being their Cruel Winter collab, tentatively titled “Champions.” It was the live premiere of the track, which debuted earlier that day.
At the end of his set, Sean also took a moment to defend his mentor. “[He] changed my life,” he told the crowd. “Got me and my mama out of debt. So if anybody ever says anything bad about this man, I will fu**in’ beat your ass myself.”
Outside of the potent duo, the night was filled with even more surprises. Sean Don also welcomed Jhené Aiko and E-40 to the stage during his set. The night’s closing act, YG, reunited with DJ Mustard, before bringing out Ty Dolla $ign and Nipsey Hussle. Elsewhere, Too $hort was joined onstage by Keyshia Cole, who danced along to “Blow the Whistle,” but sadly didn’t perform.
Despite these high-profile surprises and the joyous occasion that is usually Powerhouse, sadness filled the venue as news of Muhammad Ali’s passing shocked performers and fans alike. During his set, YG honored the boxing icon with a moment of silence, asking fans to take out lighters and cell phones in a touching tribute. Backstage, DJ Quik mourned the loss during an interview with Rap-Up.
But in general, despite the Ali mourning, the night was a celebration of hip-hop with hits from a diverse cast of MCs. Chance the Rapper brought his religion-inspired raps and howls to the show, clearly on an “Ultralight Beam.”
Fat Joe and Remy Ma brought things “All the Way Up” during their set. They followed Yo Gotti, who taught fans about “The Law” and what goes “Down in the DM.” Meanwhile, Joey Bada$$ took Anaheim to New York, DJ Quik and Problem drove fans down to Compton, and Too $hort and E-40 took the crowd up the Cali coastline to the Yay Area.
Thanks to the live premiere of “Champions,” the fact that so many stars blessed the stage, and the many surprises up its sleeve, Powerhouse 2016 truly lived up to its name.
–Words and photos by Andres Tardio