Who’s Next’s Hot For The Holidays Pre-Party Made Dreams Come True!

Rich P Surrounded By A Crew Embracing Him On Stage
(Photo Credit: Daniel Vasquez)

It was a great night at SOB’s Tuesday night (Dec. 17), as HOT 97 Who’s Next and Martell gave an opportunity for one artist to live out their dream and open up for the likes of Wale, and Khalid at Hot for the Holidays! 


Four artists from the Top 20 leaderboard were chosen by our panel of mentors for an opportunity of a lifetime. It all began weeks ago as they submitted their music into our Who’s Next chatbot. DJ Juanyto, Drewski, Enuff, and Def Jam’s Eric Parler then got an opportunity to meet the artist they chose to mentor for the first time during a Skype session where they were able to prepare the artist for what to expect. Then it was showtime. 


Hours before the big show at SOB’s, the artists rehearsed their performance and setlist during a one-on-one session at Slang HQ at 14thstreet which lasted about an hour. Jay Mahrow got lessons on being punctual, and prepared by DJ Juanyto. DJ Enuff got to teach Amaru Cloud how to bring energy to the crowd. Parler helped Keaira Lashae learn the importance of music timing, and how to organize a set. Drewski also gave pointers to Rich P on allowing the crowd to relate to the artist. 


After that long morning, it was then time for showtime. 


DJ Juanyto warmed up the crowd, as Martell’s special cocktails of the night began to pour! The artists who spent their morning rehearsing for the performance were judged by Senior VP of A&R at Atlantic Records, Orlando Wharton, Co-founder and editor of AllHipHop, Chuck Creekmur, Founder & CEO of SLANG, Rene Mclean, and Vice President of Equity Distribution, Susan “Sweetness” Ybern. 


Before the artists were able to hit the stage, we gave an opportunity for two artists from the crowd to show off their skills during the open mic portion of the night. 


Then it was showtime! 


Mahrow began the night with his performance which mixed his South African roots with a little bit of Jersey flavor. He also brought his father out to play the bass while his son performed. 


He was followed up by Keaira Lashae, who flew from Atlanta for the moment to perform on the Hot for the Holidays stage. She performed three tracks, in which she not only sang, but also spit a couple bars on two of the tracks. She also had a message for men who don’t step up to the plate to match her needs. 


Our second artist coming from Jersey, Amaru Cloud then came out to perform his set. It was later learned that this was the first time he performed in front of a crowd the likes Who’s Next can bring out. 


Capping of the night was New York’s own Rich P, who impressed the judges with his energy, and his music. After starting out his set with Jadakiss’ “The Champ Is Here” intro, he decided to end his set by bring a group of people on stage together with him to embrace the moment. 


At the end of the night, the judges chose Rich P, to win the big prize, and perform at Hot for the Holidays, and win $2,500.