On Saturday afternoon (Sept. 9), Genius hosted their first IQBBQ in Brooklyn. The event featured activations from Atari, an interactive ‘IQ Room’—where attendees were tested on their lyrical knowledge—and treated to live performances from Ski Mask The Slump God, Rico Nasty, Sonny Digital, Dej Loaf, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Pusha T.
Rob Markman, manager of Genius Artist Relations says that when planning the event, the team wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the direct connection between the fans, the artists and the breakdown of their work.
“Genius was made to bring fans together to rally around their deep love for music,” Markman told Hip-Hop Wired. “Whether it’s on our site with annotations and lyrics, with our Spotify integration, through our social media, or with our original videos; Genius draws our power from rich conversations about music.”
He added, “With our first annual IQBBQ, we wanted to take that same engagement offline and give music fans something to rally around in real life.”
The show began with sets from Sonny Digital and Dej Loaf as fans continued to stream into the indoor/outdoor space in Park Slope. Sonny completed his set, stepping down from stage to speak with fans directly and take pictures. That vibe continued throughout the evening—the event felt more intimate than most rap shows.
Dej Loaf sauntered back and forth onstage in a gilded bubble jacket, stopping every once in a while to focus on the faces in the crowd. By the time A Boogie hit the stage, the venue was about 90% full—from the floor to the rooftop. With the grace of a veteran and the passion of a young superstar, he bounded through “My Sh*t,” “Wild Thots,” “Drowning” and more than a few mixtape cuts. At one point, he had the track turned off and concertgoers recited every word to “Timeless.” The mood was set for Pusha’s arrival—this was a crowd that appreciated not only lyrics, but cadences and meaningful delivery.
According to Markman, everything had gone according to plan. Genius had managed to connect their online engagement to something tangible. “Thanks to the performances from artists like Pusha T, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Dej Loaf and others; we were able to do that,” he says. “The other activations like our IQ music quiz, the food, and overall design of the event made IQBBQ a success.”
Photos: Ryan Muir