TDE, the influential hip-hop label that’s home to some of today’s biggest names in rap including Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, SZA, and more, put on its sixth — and biggest to date — holiday toy drive and concert on Wednesday, Dec. 18th, taking over Nickerson Gardens in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. The event attracted attendees of all ages, each bringing with them a toy to donate before entering, causing a line to snake down the block past the Boys and Girls Club on Compton Ave.
The purpose of the concert, which in past years has featured surprise guests, is to give back to the community, gifting the less fortunate who otherwise may not have had the chance to celebrate Christmas. Jay Rock hosted the festivities, telling Variety: “Man, it means a lot to me. Big shout outs to the big dog, Top Dawg. The Black Santa Claus. We done it again, it’s the sixth annual. It feels real good to see and it gets bigger and bigger every time. It feels good to come back and give back. A lot less fortunate kids get to see the artists they see everyday on Youtube, TV, etc. Now they get the chance to see them live in the flesh and it’s a beautiful thing.”
Some 10,000 came out to see the show. “I was one of those kids out here running around,” Jay Rock (pictured below) added. “I know the struggle, not having a lot. It feels good to see that smile on their face when they get a toy, when they get a brand new pair of new shoes, or when they get new clothes. Just to see their faces light up, it’s wonderful.”
The TDE concert featured Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer MixedByAli on the turntables and a smiling SZA right next to him, under the moniker DJ S Dot. Social media influencers Shiggy and DanRue kicked things off with their standout dance moves.
Zacari was first to take the stage, performing his single “Don’t Trip” followed by Kendrick Lamar’s “LOVE.”, the song which first gained him mainstream recognition. Jay Rock, decked out in an all-red adidas, then introduced Ambjaay who performed his viral single “UNO,” which had the fans hyped. Reason held it down for Carson, as he performed his new single “Flick It Up” alongside TDE labelmate Ab-Soul.
Isaiah Rashad, SiR, and D Smoke (SiR’s older brother and winner of Netflix’ “Rhythm + Flow”) were next before Swae Lee popped up to turn up the crowd up even more. After Rae Sremmurd favorites “No Type” and “Black Beatles,” the next surprise guest was Tyga. T-Raww blessed the crowd with three songs: “Go Loko,” “Macarena” and the summer favorite “Taste.”
ScHoolboy Q performed “Floating” and “Numb Numb Juice” before Compton’s own Roddy Ricch delivered Mustard’s “Ballin’” and “The Box,” his favorite song off his chart-topping debut “Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial.” Chris Brown then took the stage performing “Heat” and “No Guidance,” complete with back-up dancers.
Kendrick Lamar was the grand finale, with no introduction needed. Donning a blue hoodie, distressed jeans, and black shoes, Lamar stole the show while remaining as low key as possible. “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” followed before Jay Rock came on stage to perform “Rotation 112th” and “Win.” There was also a TDE mascot in a bear costume.
Beyond the show, the most important part of this entire event is day two (Thursday, December 19th) when TDE actually gives the toys to the kids, bringing the spirit of “Christmas” to the neighborhood in its truest form.