Art Basel Music: Nas and Theophilus London at Ricochet Miami, December 1

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With Theophilus London

Spotify's Music Loves Art

Ricochet Bar & Lounge

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Better Than: Seeing Nas perform from a distance greater than ten feet.

It was only $14,000. No big deal.

Nas slapped a bit of watercolor and scribbled some washable marker onto an oversized sketchpad, all while rapping his classic "Made You Look."

As fans recorded every second on their smartphones, the rap icon produced a masterpiece right before our eyes in proper Art Basel fashion. Five bids later and it sold -- a $14,000 charity bid from the host of the party, photographer Rashid Johnson.

The only way you could have witnessed this transaction go down was if you were one of the fabulous VIPs (or one of their not-as-fab friends) invited to last night's exclusive performance by Nas and opener Theophilus London at Ricochet Bar & Lounge in Midtown Miami. Or you could've won a contest on Facebook. Go figure.

Ricochet is a bit of a hidden gem -- a hip venue close to Wynwood's Basel action with a mere capacity of 200. It's so intimate that had there not been a flood of cameramen and women huddling around Nas at the front of the stage, Crossfade could have reached out and touched the ginormous diamond ring on his pinky finger.

The event was sponsored by Spotify and Perrier. Their message? Listen to good music while staying hydrated with fancy water. Oh, and there were servers walking around with cheeseburgers on silver platters. Standard.

Theophilus London and his crew revved up the crowd with some good 'ol fashion dance tracks -- a sexy bass that tickled the eardrums. It was hip-hop/rock/electro/dance fusion, or something to that extent. London's moves were a hint of Elvis Presley and a touch of James Brown. His rendition of Bob Fosse's "Big Spender" was especially sick.

The 20 minutes between sets were brutal. And we mean David Guetta, Pitbull, and Spanish love ballads bad. Then there was that awkward moment when the DJ was so terrible that people literally screamed in unison so he would change the fucking song. And he did.

The room was very appreciative when Nas finally hit the stage.

Backed by DJ "Aw You Shouldn't Have" (the dude's own chosen name for the night) and a lion-man bongo player, Nas pulled out timeless tracks and fervent lyrics. "I never sleep" he rapped on "N.Y. State of Mind." To which the audience shouted back, "'Cause sleep is the cousin of death!"

And then he called for some shots of Patron.

Though he could have been anywhere in the world last night, Nas mentioned that he chose Miami for Art Basel. So in celebration, he wanted to paint something.

It was the first time in his life that he sold a painting -- a Nas original with watercolor and marker.

Only $14,000. No big deal.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: VIP, friends of VIP (who were also considered VIP), and contest winners

Random Detail: There was a Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino imposter in the crowd.

Overheard in the Crowd: "This bass is making me burp."

Theophilus London's Setlist

-"Why Even Try"

-"Last Name London"

-"Love is Real"

-"Flying Overseas"

-"Girls Girls $"

-"Big Spender"

Nas's Setlist

-New York State of Mind"

-"It Ain't Hard to Tell"

-"Nas is Like"

-"The World is Yours"

-"If I Ruled the World"

-"Made You Look"

-"You Can Hate Me Now"

-"Got Yourself a Gun"

-"One Love"

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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