Since the dawn of the millennium, Pandora has been connecting music lovers together with their favorite artists through personalized stations, and playlists. The streaming platform is where users can find the music they love and also allow new tunes to find them. Tuesday (December 5th), was no exception, as the streaming service’s 2017 Sounds You Like station listeners stomped through the gate of NYC’s Pier 36 — towards this year’s most streamed artists, Cheat Codes, Ty Dolla $ign, SZA and Post Malone.

300 Entertainment’s electronic dance DJs, Cheat Codes, fell on radars with their breakout single, “Sex.” The catchy jingle sampled Salt-N-Pepa’s classic, “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and has helped the newcomers take flight with millions of streams to follow. From Pandora’s side stage, the trio set the evening ablaze with their global smashes such as, “No Promises,” featuring Demi Lovato, and the remix of “Pretty Girl.” Eager to make an impression, they buoyantly pounced from behind turntables toward Pandora’s fanatics. Through joyful expression, they announced the evening’s lineup– SZA being the definitive crowd favorite.  

Soon, a glowing Pandora logo nearly blinded the concert-goers, for the Taylor Gang’s green-eyed heartthrob, Ty Dolla $ign. The singer was greeted by exuberant cheers when the recognizable, “Paranoid,” beat knocked through the venue speakers. His recent release, “Don’t Judge Me,” featuring Future and Swae Lee, made him swing his long dreadlocks in unison with the throng.

“How many of y’all got an ex, that you will never fuck with again in your life,” Dolla $ign questioned. The brash lyrics of his unforgiving Beach House 3 single, “Ex” featuring YG, advocated for flexing on ancient history, and the audience didn’t flinch. Now fired up, the earworms, “Saved,” and “Wavy,” channeled the crooner’s ego. But, his chorus on Jason Derulo’s, “Swalla,” is what left his devotees out of breath. Masking his face from radiant red stage lights, Dolla $ign pushed large shades towards him — to signal the next dance ditty, Fifth Harmony’s, “Work From Home.”

Technical difficulties became more prominent, as the sound system levels faltered through the track, “Love U Better.” Still, the singer commanded over the discovery platform’s onlookers with bangers, “Or Nah,” and 2 Chainz’s popular, “It’s A Vibe.” The DJ switched up the atmosphere with R. Kelly’s baby maker, “Bump n’ Grind,” before Dolla $ign sang over Wiz Khalifa’s sexy, “Something New,” better highlighting his flows’ versatility. The sweet impression hardly lasted as the singer disregarded the feels into Future and Rae Sremmurd assisted street anthem, “Blasé.” At the close of his performance, he thanked his supporters, and gave an exclusive, “shout out to the sound man, you’re fired.”

Next up on the bill was SZA, as  her larger-than-life mane caused tumultuous admirers to cram themselves tightly against the stage for the opener, “Supermodel.” Snowflakes began to downpour, as runway clips of full-figured muses and supermodels, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks looped above the Ctrl loving audience. Donning a bikini top that wrapped her perfectly toned tummy, and pinstriped trousers, SZA hummed, “Broken Clocks,” with ease. Her vocal riffs on “Go Gina,” left fans spastic, as clips of the actress, Tisha Campbell-Martin’s role as “Gina” (on the ‘90s series Martin) appeared.

“First of all, before I say another motherfucking word, I had a weird blessing, where I got considered for a Grammy [Award]. And, I wanted to thank you,” SZA announced. “If it wasn’t for y’all listening, and giving a fuck about anything I sing, or do, or say, [it wouldn’t have happened]. And, [fans] wanting to be a family with me, and growing my family… that shit really changed my life. You changed my life,” she affirmed. The TDE songstresses euphoric voice rang through on millennial hymn, “Drew Barrymore,” as she waved her hips and pointed at followers through the song. But, showstopping was in order when SZA kicked her legs above her head on the drum breaks of  “HiiiJack.”

“I was more than unpopular. I was deeply awkward, I couldn’t get a fucking word out [in high school],” she confessed. “I guess more than being popular, I craved being normal. So, I wrote that song about that desire,” SZA explained. Fans immediately recited the words to “Normal Girl,” as she aggressively sang and jumped through her strobing footlights.

Now beaming a massive smile, she abruptly roused, “Okay, p—y! Let’s talk about it,” as her introduction to the Kendrick Lamar cosigned, “Doves In The Wind.” Swirling to the ground from behind her mic stand, SZA enticed with the fleshy ballad, “Garden” (Say It Like Dat). All the while, her moshpit vibrated into her platinum-selling Travis Scott collaboration, “Love Galore.” Blue butterflies fluttered abound, reminiscent of the duo’s erotic music video.

Even so, more sensualism was displayed. “I know they’re probably going to cut me the fuck off, but I just want to ask one question. What the fuck day is it? It’s a weekday,” she matter-of-factly acknowledged. [It’s about to be] a weekend in this motherfucker,” she finished. Pandemonium broke with women shrieking women over the instrumentation of, “The Weekend.” The mob harmonized, “My man is my man is your man/ Heard it’s her man too/ My man is my man is your man/ Heard that’s her man,” creating a climatic ambiance, prior to SZA graciously sending blessings to her band and the #SoundsLike2017 partiers.

Instantaneously, Cheat Code began spinning, but issues surfaced from center stage, delaying Post Malone’s entrance. As continuous testing took place on the sound system, ticket holders began to exit the festivities. In time, Posty emerged thanking his loyalists for their patience. “I want to say rest in peace to A$AP Yams, Lil Peep, and Bankroll Fresh,” he professed to fellow emcees. The aforementioned men passed in their twenties, and set the tone for the introductory chorus to the single, “Too Young.”  As the word “Stoney” floated around his staging in a smoke puff, fans belted out, “I don’t wanna die too young (too young)/ Too young (too young).”

With homage paid, Malone proceeded on an upbeat note with the hit, “Go Flex.” His resentful number, “I Fall Apart,” plays among his most poetic efforts,  despite the verses’ reckless backstory. DJ sirens separated each of his Stoney song transitions, just in time for his ode to his naysayers, “No Option.”

Rocking his signature messy locks, he stood on a podium to rip off a long-sleeved shirt from his plaid button down, exposing his elaborate tattooed neck, arms, and hands. Posty serenaded the #Belieber adored lullaby, “Deja Vu,” while women lusted over Justin Bieber’s savory tone. And, without hesitation, Malone realigned the vibe by calling out hip hop’s often braggadocious, yet, sometimes fraudulent influencers.  “I’ll tell you one thing. I see your watch, and it looks like a fake to me. I see your car and it looks a lot like your man’s car. I see your house and it looks like an Airbnb,” he blasted over his “Big Lie” instrumental. The tell-all canticle wasn’t shot at anyone directly but caused a commotion with his supporters.

“We got done releasing a new song and it is going to be for the [9th] Fast and Furious [franchise] Soundtrack,” he confirmed about the song, “Candy Paint.” His rooters spit his lines, alongside him, and nodded the addictive hook. Humbled by his recent accomplished, he continued, “‘Rockstar’ is No. 1, like eight weeks in a row, and I know it is it basically [because of] y’all, and it means the fucking world to me. Keep on rocking! [Your support] is literally the most important shit. And, I just want to say, ‘thank you.’ But, back to the point, this song is about breaking shit with your best friend.” The rowdy gathering leaped and turned up, as the chart-topper spit about his gnarly experiences.

The four-time platinum, “White Iverson,” kept his blustering momentum saucin’. “New York, before I leave can I tell you a story,” the MC asked. “When I first started making music and taking it seriously, I was probably [a] 15-year old. I put out my first mixtape. I played for everybody at school, they all fucked with it — except for those people that laughed at me. They told me I would never be shit. [Today], we’re looking at [me] the most streamed [new] artist on fucking Pandora,” he affirmed.

“When I moved out to LA, I did not have a fucking cent in my pocket. I had to scrounge for change, so I could buy cigarettes, beers, and all the fine shit. I put out [the song], ‘White Iverson,’ and my life changed overnight. But, still, there were those same motherfuckers, that talked down to me, always saying that you would never be [anything]… they laughed at me. [They called me] culture vulture, all that… whatever you want to fucking call me. I’ll tell you what, I see those same motherfuckers, and they always say, “Congratu-fucking-lations,” he hinted.

“So, I guess this is me really telling y’all to do whatever the fuck you want to do. And, don’t let anybody tell you shit because you’re the fucking shit. And, you can do whatever the fuck you want to do! Play that bitch,” he demanded to the DJ, for the celebratory, “Congratulations.”  A cloudburst released on the thundering pack below, capping Pandora’s Sounds Like You 2017 event with empowering musicianship.


About The Author

Bianca Alysse is a creatively driven Bronx-born writer and editor. Before becoming The Knockturnal‘s music editor she served as Latina‘s creative coordinator and was a contributor at Billboard. The Boricua scribe has a lengthy resume in the music industry and has penned for Universal Music Publishing Group, Epic Records, G.O.O.D. Music, Compound Entertainment, Artistry & Récords, and Arcade Creative Group. Her work has been seen on platforms like VIBE, mitú, TIDAL, Remezcla, and behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. As an independent contractor, she has written for Sony Music Entertainment’s global business affairs department, Warner Music Group, and currently Roc Nation.

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