Don’t you know the female musical artist named Summer Walker? Well, she’s not a rocker, indie-folkster, rapper, or princess of pop… Put simply, the talented Atlanta-born singer is on her way to becoming a world-famous R&B diva. The pure and unadulterated soul devotees are showing their undying love to her by buying every single single from her current US tour. “The Summer Walker Series” tour stop in Houston, Texas was no exception, the first advertised show would sell out in less than an hour. Therefore, any supporting or opening acts on the tour were assured of maximum exposure.
Most Walker fans were more than likely expecting an evening filled with the sweet, sultry sounds of the up-and-coming R&B crooners. Imagine their collective surprise when it was revealed that the bill for the evening would include two quasi-singing men (NO1-NOAH and MarvXXL) and two-time American Music Award-nominated rapper Erica Banks, the self-proclaimed “Da Flow Queen “. Maybe you’ve heard Erica’s signature song, the “Buss It?” While you may not have heard this men’s club anthem, music lovers around the world have streamed the tune 113,543,287 times (at press time), and that’s even after it first went viral on TikTok in 2020. This rap ode to contemporary dirty dancing (Songfacts reports that “the bus” refers to uninhibited dancing or twerking) and its accompanying video (parental advice) has turned Erica into a, dare I say, immensely bankable celebrity.
Not to throw shade, but Nicki Minaj’s recently released “Bussin” only had 24 million streams, or about a fifth of those garnered by rapper Erica Banks. Having Erica on Walker’s current tour starts to make a lot more sense, doesn’t it?
I must confess that I do not use or frequent TikTok. Let’s just say I’m a bit long in the tooth for this kind of social media “tool”. Amazingly, Erica caught my eye via YouTube when her algorithms inadvertently (I guess) suggested that I might enjoy the NR version of “Buss It”. After some hesitation, my curiosity took over and I looked at it.
Guess what? I liked it! More than anything, I loved Erica’s energy and her incredibly adept rapping skills. Finding out she would be performing in Houston with Summer Walker, I made sure I got a ticket to the gig. It was a sight I had to see for myself!
I arrived late at the newly opened 713 Music Hall, so I missed most of NO1-NOAH and MarvXXL’s relatively short sets.
I headed to the front of the stage (to take pictures) just as the pair of DJs/hosts introduced Erica to the audience in the crowded room. From the moment the scantily clad rapper appeared, a palpable adrenaline rush seemed to sweep through the crowd, myself included, and it didn’t subside until about thirty minutes later when the The confident, seductive siren said her last, “Thank you Houston.”
During that frenetic half hour, the 23-year-old rapper from Desoto, Texas performed a five-song set including “Toot That,” her latest single “Slim Waist,” and she ended her show with “Buss It”. To make her concert experience even more exhilarating for audience members, she chose a dozen women from the crowd to join her on stage as additional dancers.
A tall and burly security man for Erica physically lifted the ladies from the crowd and gently deposited them next to the energetic rapper. To my surprise, all of the women chosen from the crowd at 713 Music Hall performed the quickly learned choreography quite well. Banks was thrilled, as were the more than 3,000 Houstonians who saw Erica, live, in the flesh.
Erica Banks is beaming with STAR POWER! No lies! It comes from a man whose Spotify playlist is full of songs by David Bowie and British rockers Bastille. The last rap albums I bought were in 1991, and they were Tupac’s ‘2Pacalypse Now’ and Public Enemy’s ‘Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Back’. Needless to say, it’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely turned on by a rapper.
No disrespect to either ladies, but people can still buy records from Nicki Minaj and Asian Doll (two artists Erica cites as influences), but I’m saving my dollars for the next album released by Erica Banks. I owe him. I not only witnessed an unforgettable performance, I experienced a state of bliss, one like I haven’t felt for many, many moons.
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