Ad Week is over, but you’d never know it from the glut of agency parties happening constantly around town. If it’s a weeknight and you’re looking for something to do, just talk to your closest ad buddy, because chances are they can break you in. Tonight, music-production company Headroom‘s soiree is doin’ the do early on a Thursday: Business-minded people pack into a somewhat small space on the 19th floor of an East 26th St. building in a random part of town, with small amounts of food and large amounts of liquor. And tonight, as silly as it may sound, is a decent ticket, thanks to one Biz Markie.
When you have this much cash to back you up, you can pretty much book who you like, save for the big guns. Tonight, friends of friends here who happen to have Serato software start the night off, spinning a typically inoffensive mix of recent indie dance and the like as clients and employees oscillate wildly. But soon, whether they realize it or not, the drunken masses are about to be graced with a trailblazer they may not even deserve. A hip-hop pioneer and general silly-gent-about-town who no one beats, the esteemed Biz Markie takes to the decks; thanks to the numerous open bars, everyone’s lubed up and ready for the rap legend. The decks vacate for a few silent, dramatic moments as “The Biz” takes his time stepping into the booth, as a hypeman or two precede him to the “stage” and announce his incoming arrival. No novice on the 1s and 2s, Markie commandeers the willing crowd to his classic hip-hop stylings: whether they realize it or not, the unwitting guests have fallen under his spell. The crowded side rooms and private areas suddenly vacate as Biz takes to a laptop and turntables both to show the crowd what he’s been perfecting over the past 20 years. From Gang Starr to Slick Rick to A Tribe Called Quest, he spins the real hits, but sadly a “Just a Friend” sing-a-long never ensues. He’s probably real tired of hearing that one.
Once he starts, no one’s pithy convos or surreptitious business meetings matter anymore as he douses the crowd in classic hip-hop. People stop what they’re doing and take notice: This may be an industry networking party, but a jovial icon is showing them how its done, and they’re smart enough to take notice. For his short spell, Biz takes control of his followers as if it were 1989 again, and then silently slips back into the darkness. Advertising isn’t such a bad business after all.