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Common, Donnis, Vado and Big Sean Takeover Gotham Hall

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Rappers Donnis, Vado (pictured) and Big Sean showcased their indefatigable spirit last night (Oct. 12) inside New York City’s Gotham Hall as the trio performed for The Ultimate MC Challenge presented by Diesel Only The Brave. Hosted by Olivia Munn and Common, the event brought out the likes of Questlove, Jim Jones, Estelle and Peter Hadar, among others.

Dressed in a green leather jacket, Common rooted for the newcomers set to hit the stage. “We’ve got some incredible new talent,” he stated. “The future of hip-hop is alive and I’m in full support.” The Chi-town emcee then prepped the crowd by performing ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.’ Before heading into ‘Universal Mind Control (UMC),’ Common rapped choice lines from tunes like Wu-Tang‘s ‘C.R.E.A.M.,’ The Fugees‘ ‘Ready or Not’ and Biz Markie‘s ‘Just a Friend.’ The rapper-turned-actor had undoubtedly set the evening’s tone.

The first of the fresh hip-hop crop to grab the mic was Donnis. Moving straight into his set, the Atlanta upstart jumped emphatically while spitting the fitting verse, “Hey, mama, I made it, to the bright lights and stages,” off ‘I Made It.’ “Did you come to get it poppin’?” he asked the audience after the song’s finish. “Let’s go.” Proving he was a crowd pleaser, he segued into the cinematic sounds of ‘Gone’ — the track that initially moved him into the rap spotlight — followed by ‘Tonight,” a single off his ‘Fashionably Late’ EP.

Before Vado, outfitted in a black trench coat, walked on stage, men in the audience showed complete standom by shouting out the Harlemite’s moniker and chanting ‘Slime’ — the phrase the rapper helped to coin. Once in front of fans, he kicked off his set with the Omen-produced ‘Polo,’ the lead single off his street album ‘Slime Flu.’ After forming his fingers in the shape of the letter “U” to represent The U.N., Vado, sans Cam’ron, bopped his head while rocking through the lyrics of ‘Speaking in Tungs.’ He capped off his showcase with the ever-fitting tune ‘Celebration.’

More subdued than those before him, Big Sean stood in front of a mic stand while he breezed through the mesmerizing sounds of ‘Memories,’ a track off the mixtape ‘Finally Famous 3.’ The Michigan native kicked it up a notch as he walked around the platform and jumped into the ominous tone of ‘Made,’ minus the song’s featured guest Drake. Rounding out his set, the rhymer performed ‘What U Doin? (Bullshittin)’ but not before asking the audience, “How many of you know people who’s half-assed that’s not doin’ it?” Fortunately for Big Sean, he’s not one of them.

Check out highlight videos and photos at Diesel Presents: Only The Brave.

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