By Shirley Ju
When I was first invited to #TheBasΞment, I had no idea what to expect. My girl Kate, who is an A&R exec and someone I truly adore, told me to save the date. The event seemed really dope, don’t get me wrong, but with no details — no address and no flier — I was hesitant. I’m definitely a fliers girl, for sure. I like as many details as possible: who’s going to be there, are any artists going to be there, do I need to be there, do I NOT need to be there … the list goes on.
Mind you, I’m the events queen of Los Angeles, appointed by the people. Hell, it even lead to my own column on HipHopDX called the #FOMOblog, which I eventually turned into my own fomoblog.com. Alright, enough plugs, now I bring that same energy to Marijuana.com (last plug, check out my new column What Would Shirju Do). But, disclaimer, events in LA can be so very whack, especially music industry ones. These are the events I tend to avoid, the ones where everyone is too cool to talk to you.
The reason I fell in love with #TheBasΞment is it’s similar to a music industry event, with all the important people in one place, but without the “Hollywood” attitude. My first invite was themed “backyard party in Brooklyn,” which is exactly what the event proved to be. I thought I was only going to “stop by,” but ended up staying for hours.
Guests were welcomed with unlimited Buffalo Wild Wings, dope merch from Champion, enough vape pens to go around, and a fire DJ set. DJ Sean G spun at DJ Khaled’s GRATEFUL listening party at Neuehouse in Hollywood, and we all loved his set so much that we all went over to thank him.
I almost forgot the best part, the main selling point if you will. The whole purpose of #TheBasΞment is to showcase up-and-coming talent who otherwise may not get the exposure they deserve. There are so many talented individuals around the world who simply do not have the tools and resources to get their music heard. Here at #TheBasΞment, the goal is to showcase these gems and give them an opportunity to be seen and heard by movers and shakers in the industry. One of the reasons I had a hard time leaving the first event was because so many of my people kept popping up. From managers to publicists to A&Rs to label reps to the artists themselves, these were people I truly respect and am blessed to know, the people who motivate me daily to work as hard as I do.
the dope people in the industry will always find each other.
— Shirley Ju (@shirju) March 17, 2018
I always say this statement but it’s so true: the dope people always find each other. After such a fulfilling evening, I had the honor and pleasure of connecting with the event founder, Ericka Coulter. Not only is she someone in the industry heavy hitter, but she’s down-to-earth and a sweetheart. And of course, sharing a mutual love for hip-hop definitely helped, as we’ve become tight ever since. If there’s one thing I can appreciate in a friend, it’s music recommendations. You need people in your life to chat about how fire Drake’s new single is. Actually, bad example, Drake’s too mainstream. Let’s go with … SiR. SiR is flames.
Fast forward to their most recent event, which served as the fourth installment. I was beyond honored to interview Ericka for LA Weekly, to not only expose the dopeness of the event but to hype people up for the next one. Although I don’t have the craziest following on social media, I do know that a lot of my people are really trying to make their dreams come true in this music thing. That’s exactly why Ericka started #TheBasΞment, why she puts in so much time and effort outside of her day job to make sure this is executed properly.
While the free food, free vapes, free drinks, and good vibes are always appreciated, turning up was not the only goal here. Yes, of course, let’s get loose and have an amazing night — it is Thursday after all. But no one was here to be reckless or be bougie in any capacity. You can leave all the negativity and bullshit at the door when you come to this event. This was legit an evening for the people to enjoy themselves, meet some new connections, and discover some new talent.
Props to Ericka, who was 100 percent ready for the rain. Somehow, this month’s event fell on one of only two days out of March where Los Angeles would be experiencing a torrential downpour. I remember last time, the event was half indoors and half outdoors, which actually set the mood. This time, it was 100 percent indoors in mid-city. The ambiance could not have been more perfect. I loved the lighting, it was dimmed with the most beautiful tints of blue, purple and pink, enclosed by all-white walls. The name #TheBasΞment was brought to life. Not only was everyone was dry and covered, but there was a tent outside so you could wait for your ride without getting soaked.
Ericka was sweet enough to provide Lyft codes for all the guest. Let’s be honest, no one likes to drive in the rain, so if you were lucky enough to get an RSVP confirmation, you were taken care of. #TheBasΞment is exclusive and invite-only. If you were blessed with a flier, you still had to RSVP to the email listed. Shout out to the Instor3 management team, they killed it.
— Shirley Ju (@shirju) March 23, 2018
My favorite part of the night had to be the performers. Although I missed Malia, Savii Cross, and Yazz Alali, I was happy to catch Asian Doll. I’ve been hearing her name so much lately and knew she was on this fire remix by Bhad Bhabie. “Hi Bich” reminds me of Trippie Redd every time because he started singing it with his girlfriend when I interviewed him and I haven’t been able to separate the two since.
Asian Doll is dope and I actually got to meet her afterward. What a sweetheart! She’s definitely going to blow, which is why opportunities like this to see her perform in an intimate setting are so memorable. Never forget where you started and never forget who supported you from the beginning and throughout your career. Also, never forget to give back.
In between sets, I got to catch the woman in charge herself. Ericka is always working. I respect her so much. The photo booth was definitely the move, and we were also blessed with the presence of Terrence Green — that man is a riot! He was the perfect host, as he literally had everyone coming up to him afterward, praising him for this humor, including me. You definitely need this man at your next function, he will change the entire mood.
The ambiance was perfect for a showcase too, with beanbags surrounding the stage for anyone who wanted to plop down. #TheBasΞment’s logo was projected against the white wall as the artists performed, making for a perfect IG story or Snap. I see my friend’s friend hit his vape and couldn’t help but hit it, too. I’m definitely that girl at a concert who will ask to hit your blunt, even if I don’t know you. No shame. Although this seemed like the type of environment that would have bleezies present, I feel like no one was brave enough to try. This is definitely why vapes come in handy, though, no doubt.
Drum roll please, it was time for the headliner. Tone Stitch was set to perform — the man everyone was waiting for, the man whose name was all over the step and repeat, the man who ladies could not take their eyes off. I discovered him when he opened for August Alsina at The Wiltern. It was crazy. I could have sworn everyone came to see Tone, even though he was the supporting act. That evening, I discovered he not only had the falsetto game on lock, but he could dance and sing effortlessly.
— Shirley Ju (@shirju) March 23, 2018
Tonight, he was performing for a bigger audience. It was more than just fans, it was people paying attention to who Tone Stith is as a performer and what he brings to the table. I guarantee you he converted everyone who attended this evening. There was no way you could miss his voice, his look, his choreography. His cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” left me speechless.
Congrats Ericka, job well done.
Photos courtesy of Christian Montoya