The Diplomats: Dipset Forever Reunion Tour

Last night, I had the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane with my wife, Amanda and our good friend, Nick.

The Diplomats have had their ups and downs throughout the years, however they somewhat recently squashed their own beef within the group, and as a result, a reunion tour was announced. Cam’Ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey would be hitting the road together for a group tour.

Tour Poster

When I initially heard about the tour coming to Charlotte, I was interested, until I saw the ticket prices. These guys have made some great music throughout the years, but as more of a casual fan instead of a diehard Dipset guy, I wasn’t quite ready to part with roughly $50 for a ticket.

However, Groupon stepped in and cut that price in half. $25?? We’re in there!

There’s one thing I’ve noticed in the last 8 or so years of going to shows. Artists that are younger and on the come up typically have a younger age group of followers, which makes perfect sense. This group of concert goers likes to get wild (Again, this is most but not all). What I’m referring to is pushing and shoving to get as close to the stage as possible, mosh pits, getting way too drunk, etc. For the record, I’m not knocking it, I’ve been there myself. You just have to be prepared to encounter that before going to a show where you think that environment will be taking place. Artists that are more established and have been around for a while attract a different kind of audience. Both groups of concert goers enjoy hip-hop/rap, but the dynamic within the crowd is very different. This older crowd isn’t really too worried about getting as close as possible to the stage, they like to have a few drinks and kind of chill. It’s honestly a very laid back atmosphere. And fortunately, that’s what the crowd was like for this show. I digress.

We three amigos went to VBGB for a few brews before the show and I have to say that NoDa Brewing’s “Good Will Hopping” was quite nice. After those, we walked over to the Fillmore after doors had already opened. There was no wait, we just walked right in. There was plenty of space between groups of people despite the place being packed. Our trio got a prime location in the middle of the crowd and waited for The Diplomats to take the stage.

Unfortunately, we would only be getting 3 of the 4 scheduled performers. It appears that there was some kind of dispute between the promoter for this show and Juelz Santana, who made it very clear that he would not be in Charlotte, NC on twitter for this show.

Juelz :/

Going into the show, I was under the impression that the order of artists taking the stage would go Freekey > Jim Jones > Juelz > Cam’Ron. With this latest twist, I wasn’t so sure what would happen.

And when it was finally time, Freekey, Jim and Cam all came out together, which was definitely unexpected, but a nice surprise. They brought an army of affiliates with them to the stage and those 3 all took turns rapping fan favorites together. It was just a really fun show. The highlights for me were “Hey Ma” by Cam, “Oh Boy” by Cam and last but not least, “We Fly High” by Jim Jones.

I have to confess that in 2007, “We Fly High” was my ringtone on my silver, Motorola Razr. I can still hear it ringing in the dorms of Owen Hall at NC State. Good times.

Remember these things??

And to this day, I will still refer to “We Fly High” as a banger. Take a look – you know you know the words.

All in all, these guys put on a really enjoyable performance and it was fun getting to hear some of rap’s most notable songs of my generation’s youth. This tour just got underway so these guys will be touring for the next few months throughout America. Check your local area for Groupons and see if you can take advantage of a discounted ticket, because it will definitely be worth it.

Advertisements

Big Boi – The Daddy Fat Saxxx Tour

Last night I had the opportunity to see a living legend perform. Big Boi, half of the famed rap duo Outkast, has been touring the United States since September of 2017, and the third leg of his tour finally made its way to Charlotte, NC at local venue The Underground.

Third Leg Tour Dates

I donned my ATLiens tee that had been collecting dust in the closet for the last 10 years and made my way to the venue.

I got there about 10-15 minutes after doors opened up and located a prime spot in the crowd, very close to the front of the stage, dead center.

Front & Center

The first act to grace the stage was Renegade El Rey. He came with his own DJ, DJ Bishop Don. The two of them carried a lot of energy together, particularly DJ Bishop Don. That man was TURNT. Together they put down a set list of maybe 6-7 songs, including “Youngin” and “Yeah Yeah”. It wasn’t a bad performance at all. Renegade’s debut album My Way Out was released earlier this year, so if you enjoy those singles, you may want to give his album a spin. This was a video taken of his performance of his verse on Big Boi’s song “Made Man”.

The next act was KP The Great. I was under the impression that this act would be a rapper. Instead, it was a DJ. But this wasn’t just any DJ. This was Kawan Prather (hence KP) and the audience came to learn that KP was responsible for launching Ghet-O-Vision records and signing artists like T.I. and Youngbloodz. He even won a Grammy for producing John Legend’s “Green Light”. But back to the show. KP put together a really strong DJ set that brought a lot of energy into the crowd, playing Atlanta classics like “Move” by Ludacris, “Knuck If You Buck” by Crime Mob, and “Attenchun!” by Bone Crusher as well as current hits.

During his set, KP brought out Atlanta artist (there seems to be a theme here) ScottyATL. ScottyATL was only out for a handful of songs, but performed his newest release “Ratchet” (which seems to be destined for club play) as well as Cloud IX.

After their set ended and all the correct equipment was put into place, DJ Cutmaster Swiff gave the city of Charlotte a warm welcome to the Daddy Fat Saxxx Tour from the raised DJ booth and brought out none other than Dungeon Family’s own, Big Boi, to the tune of Da Next Day off of Boomiverse. Fellow Dungeon Family member Sleepy Brown was with Big Boi as well, and after the initial song (which involved a fair amount of talking from Big Rube), the two really piped it up by playing “ATLiens”.

I don’t know if I’m technically considered and “old head” yet, but there’s just something about those old school Outkast songs that new age hip-hop doesn’t really touch, which sounds like something an old head might say. I personally feel that the infusion of funk into a lot of those Outkast hits just makes them so enjoyable. And what’s better than hearing 1 Outkast hit? How about hearing 7 Outkast hits? That’s the beauty of a Big Boi concert. Not only do you get to hear the hits from his own solo discography, but you get to hear the classics that Outkast made, that we grew up on. Full disclosure, I can still see the look on my mom’s face when my brother brought home the Stankonia CD. The look of the art inside the CD case did NOT go over well in our household for my parents. I digress.

After ATLiens, Big Boi and Sleepy went through quite the set list, which can be found here.
Some personal favorites of mine were “Shutterbugg”, “Rosa Parks”, “Kryptonite” and “So Fresh, So Clean”.

However, the highlight of the night was yet to come. Following “Kryptonite”, Big Boi ended his set and left the stage. A few people started leaving the crowd, but I wasn’t quite ready to call it yet. A chant of “One more song” began, and took like wild fire with the remaining audience members. We were heard. Big Boi and Sleepy came back out to put down one more performance – UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem” – one of my favorite hip-hop/rap songs of all time. It’s truly a timeless classic. RIP Pimp C.

Then the show really was over, and I made my way for the doors. Big Boi put on a helluva performance and it was something I was really glad to have seen. It’s definitely one to cross off the bucket list. His tour is coming to an end very shortly, so you likely won’t have a chance to catch him soon. But if you ever have the chance to do so in the future, do yourself a favor and make it happen. Here are a few of the better photos I got during the show as well:

Big Boi

Sleepy Brown

Dungeon Family

Big K.R.I.T. & Ty Dolla $ign

Following their respective releases of 4Eva Is a Mighty Long Time and Beach House 3, both Big K.R.I.T. and Ty Dolla $ign announced supporting tours that would span across the continental United States, each with more than 25 tour dates.

Heavy Is The Crown Tour

Don’t Judge Me Tour

There just so happened to be 4 tour dates in which both artists would be playing at the same venue at the same time. Conveniently, 2 of those 4 tour dates were in North Carolina. One in Raleigh, and one in Asheville. It had been a few years since I last visited The Orange Peel in Asheville, but it felt like I was due for a trip. I hit up one of my boys (what up Wes!) and we both agreed to make the trip and planned out the logistics.

Fast forward past our road trip, and we were in Asheville on Tuesday, March 27th. We started the day off in the late afternoon by brewery hopping around the city. We started at Wicked Weed, which conveniently backs right up to the Orange Peel. We were enjoying our first beer when K.R.I.T. and Ty$ both began to run through their sound checks inside, which were easily heard from where Wes and I were at. I got hype just hearing that.

We made a few more stops at Burial Beer Company, the Green Man Brewery, and finally came to White Duck Taco for dinner – all awesome spots. At this point, we were completely fueled up and ready to go, so we headed on over to the Orange Peel. It didn’t even take long to get through the line and security, despite the show selling out. The crowd had for the most part already assembled itself around the front of the stage, but the vantage points were great from pretty much anywhere inside. We checked our coats, got some beers, and made our way back.

The Orange Peel

Big KRIT & Ty Dolla $ign

The first act to come out was Childish Major. I recognized the name from his production – notably UOENO and 4YEO – however, I wasn’t aware that he began a career now as a rapper. As far as openers go, he did a pretty decent job. His most recent project Woo$ah features DRAM, 6lack, SZA and Isaiah Rashad, and is worth checking out. I wasn’t familiar with his solo work so I kind of just tried to take it all in. The set was fairly short though, so I’ll be going back to check his material again.

Next up, GOOD Music signee CyHi The Prynce. I started following CyHi back in college, especially after the release of Royal Flush 2. I loved that tape. The puns and clever wordplay really got me into his music, and since that point I’ve kept tabs on CyHi as the years have gone by. He’s put out a number of mixtapes since that point, and most of them have been pretty well received by critics and fans alike. His rumored debut album seemed like it would never drop, however this past year, it finally did. No Dope on Sundays gave CyHi his first major release, although in my own personal opinion, it wasn’t his best work. That said, his set was pretty solid. The majority of it was new material from his recent album, although he did go back and play some of the mixtape cuts from some of the old heads like myself, including “Cold as Ice” and “Far Removed”. It was really nice to finally see CyHi showcase his talents as a wordsmith.

CyHi The Prynce

Next up, KRIZZLE. I’ve been a long time supporter of Big K.R.I.T.’s music. His soulful melodies and country fried bars are like chicken soup for mah heart, mah soul. His mixtapes are undoubtedly all fire. They’re honestly so good. I’d probably have to lean KRIT Wuz Here as my favorite, but it’s not an easy choice. He hasn’t quite tasted as much of the commercial success that some of his peers have, but I don’t think that means his music isn’t as good by a long shot. In fact, I think the opposite. The majority of KRIT’s material is better than that of his peers. And as far as I’m concerned, 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time is a dark horse contender for 2017 AOTY. KRIT came out to “Big Bank” and the place went nuts. I remember initially hearing it when I first got the album and I got the same vibes as I did when I first heard “Country Sh*t”. KRIT didn’t stop there, and went on to perform a lot of his newer material, including – “Subenstein” and “1999”, some of his older material – “Just Touched Down” and “Mt. Olympus” – and then closed things down with some of his slower, more meaningful songs “Mixed Messages”, “Drinking Sessions” and “Justin Scott”. You could feel the emotion in his voice on those ending songs. His delivery was spot on (per usual) and he did not disappoint.

Big KRIT

Big KRIT

Following an intermission, Ty Dolla $ign was the final act. KRIT and Ty$ both make drastically different sounding types of music although they’re both underneath the hip-hop/rap umbrella – both great in their own right. The scheduling of KRIT before Ty$ was definitely a good move though. KRIT has a few upbeat songs in his catalogue, although not too many that you might consider “bangers”. A lot of his music has meaning, touches on social injustice, focuses on his storytelling ability, etc. whereas Dolla $ign has a lot more music you can turn up to. And that’s exactly what we all do when he came onto the stage right out of the gate to “Don’t Judge Me”, the Mike Will Made It produced track with features from Future and Swae Lee. That song goeeees. Ty kept the crowd going as he played hit after hit, including “Paranoid”, “Or Nah”, “Irie”, “Droptop In the Rain”, “Lil Favorite”, and “Blasé”. Towards the end of the night, it appeared that Ty would be closing his set out with a solo guitar performance of “Horses In the Stable”. He finished, said goodnight, and walked off to the side of the stage as Post Malone’s “Psycho” was playing, on which Ty$ is featured. A good bit of the crowd cleared out, and I actually don’t blame them because this was a lengthy concert, but that allowed Wes and I to get right to the front of the stage. Ty$ rapped his verse on “Psycho” then came back out and told us about a new song, “Pineapple” that would be dropping in a few days. (At the time of this post, the song has dropped and is available everywhere and features Gucci Mane & Quavo). It was a nice preview of what was to come though and a great way to send us off with a bonus cut.

If you have the availability to see either of these guys before they begin to conclude their tours, you should definitely do yourself a solid and go check them out.

Caleborate – The Real Person Tour

This past Saturday, I was with a number of friends brewery and bar hopping around the Charlotte area. We started at NoDa Brewing Company in the late afternoon because they were releasing their Girl Scout cookie inspired beers, of which the Somoan Blonde is AMAZING. (insert all fire emojis). Naturally, they were sold out of those, although their Tagging-a-long brown ale was quite tasty. After a few of those, our group made its way over to the Davidson Street Public House where we all had some tapas style dishes – lamb mac & cheese, pork belly sliders, bruschetta, etc. Great food, (more) good beers and a great environment. Saturday was off to really nice start. As we were wrapping things up at the table, one of the girls with us had a really stong urge to see some live music (What up BetSQUAD!). A few of the other folks were calling it a night, but Amanda and I weren’t quite ready to go home yet, so we more or less said, “why not?” Nobody had any idea of what live music was actually being played that night, we just walked over to The Neighborhood Theatre and sure enough, they had a concert lined up for 8:00pm. Tickets were $12, so we more or less said YOLO and bought ourselves some. The headlining artist was Caleborate. I consider myself a pretty big hip-hop head, yet I had never heard of this artist prior to buying my ticket at the door. Nevertheless, our group makes its way inside and we wait for the show to begin. I’ll go to my grave preferring small venues to large ones, and this night spoke volumes to that preference. There were maybe 50-75 people inside having some drinks, small talking, etc. There was plenty of space, we had easy access to the bar, and we had a great view of the stage. After a few minutes, Caleborate walks out and onto the stage to some casual applause. There was nothing extravagant, no grand entrance. He gets on the mic and tells us who he is (Caleb Parker hence Caleborate), where he’s from (Berkeley, CA) and from that point he began to run through his most recent album, Real Person. To be completely forthcoming, my expectations were pretty low. And I don’t mean any offense by saying that. I’ve been to a lot of hip-hop/rap shows throughout the years, and I’ve seen a lot of what you might call struggle rappers open for different artists trying to get their name out. I had never heard of Caleborate prior to this show, so I wasn’t expecting much. Let me tell you how absolutely wrong I was. In today’s music scene where the rising stars are artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, Lil Xan, Lil Skies and XXXtentacion, Caleborate is a breath of fresh air.

He’s got lyrical ability, storytelling ability, and a genuine feel to his music. Caleborate played his entire Real Person album front to back. To say the least, I was impressed. The soulful samples that he used on the album brought a J. Cole and Big K.R.I.T. sound forward. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure the song “Fine” somehow made use of “Forbidden Fruit” by J. Cole, which in turn sampled “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest. It just sounded very familiar. Regardless, after the set concluded and Caleborate exited the stage, our group made its way to the merch table. We had a chance to meet Caleborate and get some photos with him. I purchased a Real Person CD for $10 that he autographed for me.

Autographed Real Person album

Caleborate!

He was extremely humble, very thankful and in general just a nice guy. (I’ve since listened to the album about 3 times front to back and I’m amazed at how good it is). After we parted ways, Caleborate went on to speak to some other fans and I had a chance to speak with one of his boys who was selling merch. We talked about the tour, and I asked where they were going next, to which he replied “D.C”. I asked how they were getting there and he told me that they were all riding in a minivan. And it just hit me. Like, damn. These guys are really out here giving it everything they have, grinding day in and day out to go from city to city to support their friend. I think that made me appreciate the music even more. It speaks volumes to have a crew like that with you, and it says a lot about who you are as well.

The following day, I got online and started searching Caleborate to find out more about his music. Lo and behold he’s got a feature from KRIT on his “Soul” remix and he’s a got a song produced by J. Cole, aplty called “Produced by J. Cole”. I know Caleborate is probably sick of hearing how people are sleeping on him, but I was figuratively in a coma. I strongly encourage anyone to check this guy out. Give him some streams on whatever music app you have or if he’s coming to your city, spend the $10-$12 to get out there and see him perform. Talk to him after the show, get a picture with him. He might just be the next guy to blow. Don’t wind up kicking yourself years from now by passing up the opportunity to check him out. Here are the remaining tour dates. You know what to do.

Young Jeezy – The Cold Summer Tour

Cold Summer Tour Poster

This past December, Young Jeezy announced that he would be touring in the Spring of 2018 on the Cold Summer Tour, aptly named for one of the better songs on his most recent album, Pressure. Admittedly, I hesitated to immediately buy tickets for the show….because they were $48.00 after taxes and fees. I mean….c’mon Livenation. However, my patience paid off because roughly a month prior to the show date, the tickets made their way to Groupon. Let’s get it!

Instant cop. One of my boys had already let me know he was going (what up Nick!), so after I had tickets we agreed to link up for the show.

We got to The Fillmore right around the time that doors were opening and didn’t have any trouble getting inside. We got a spot located near the center of the stage, maybe 10 feet back from the stage – prime location. We got a couple cans of rocky mountain refreshment and at that point just had to wait for the show to start.

The first act up was Boston George. I can honestly say that I had heard of him, although it was only for one song – “Rich Off Lean” ft. Future. And I honestly only got the song because I was really on the Future wave when that song dropped. Aside from that, I didn’t know much about the guy. The internet tells me that his most recent mixtape is Blow Talk and it has a feature from, you guessed it, Young Jeezy. Regardless, I thought he did a decent job kicking things off. His style of rap is most definitely trap/street anthem type stuff and even if you couldn’t make out some of the words to a song you didn’t know at a live concert, the beat was there to pick up the slack.

Following George was Detroit native and rising star, Tee Grizzley.

Tee Grizzley

Tee Grizzley started getting some buzz in hip-hop circles following the release of his 2017 mixtape, My Moment – notably the single “First Day Out”. Since that point he’s collaborated with artists such as Young Jeezy, Moneybagg Yo and Meek Mill.

Tee Grizzley upped the energy level considerably as he went through a number of songs from My Moment, before ending his set with “First Day Out”, which was pretty hype. And fortunately, this wouldn’t be the last time we saw Tee Grizzley.

And then it was time for the Snowman. Mr. Seventeen Five.

His trademark angry snowman and the words “JEEZY” were alternating back and forth on the screen that was the front of the DJ booth, the lights dimmed down and snow began shooting out into the crowd as Jizzle entered the stage to “Standing Ovation” The crowd was feeling it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m much more of a fan of Jeezy’s older material than his newer material. It’s not that I dislike the newer stuff, but the older stuff is timeless. It just has that classic Young Jeezy sound and feel to it – especially TM 101. The snowman must have been telepathic that night, because he he gave me exactly what I was hoping to hear. Check the set list:

1. Standing Ovation
2. Bottom of the Map
3. Peace Up
4. Get Ya Mind Right
5. Trap or Die
6. Go Crazy
7. Trapstar
8. And Then What
9. J.E.E.Z.Y.
10. Dem Boyz (Boyz N Da Hood cover)
11. Spyder
12. Cold Summer w/ Tee Grizzly
13. Geeked Up
14. Who Dat
15. Lose My Mind
16. All There
17. SupaFreak
18. Tear It Up
19. All We Do
20. Leave You Alone
21. I Do
22. Get Allot
23. My N*gga (YG cover)
24. RIP
25. Way Too Gone
26. I Luv It
27. Soul Survivor
28. Put On

The tour is still going strong, and I would recommend trying to make it to a show for any long time Young Jeezy fans. He’s been making music for so long now that you sometimes might not realize how many hits he’s made through the years until you start to hear one after another after another. It’s a testament to his dedication, and he puts on a helluva show. You won’t be disappointed.

2 Chainz – The Pretty Girls Like Trap Music Tour

Here were are again with yet another long overdue post. What can I say? Life gets in the way. That said, I do this as a way to kind of capture the memories from the shows I’ve attended. I can go back at any time and re-live the moment per se just by reading a brief 5 minute blog post.

That said, I love 2 Chainz. Tity Boi. Tauheed Epps. Whatever you want to call him, that’s my guy. In my opinion, he’s one of the best personalities in the rap/hip-hop industry and he’s in my top 5 favorite rappers. I’ve seen him perform 6 times over the past 5 years in various cities throughout NC and once in VA. Point blank – if he’s going on tour, I’m going to be there. And just like clockwork, after 2 Chainz’s most recent album release, a supporting tour was announced to hit 30+ cities across the United States. His September 12th stop just so happened to be at the Fillmore in Charlotte, NC. I just so happen to live in Charlotte, NC. Done deal. I knew where I would be that evening.

PGLTM Tour Poster

I got to the venue early and attempted to wait patiently for doors to open. Attempted. My wife Amanda was with me and can attest to that. I probably annoyed the crap out of her. But she’s a trooper and loves some 2 Chainz as well, so she put up with it. When the doors finally did open, we secured a nice spot very close to the front of the stage, dead center. It would only be a matter of time.

The first act was TRU signee, Skooly. I didn’t know much about him other than the fact that he was a young artist out of Atlanta, GA. I recognized him from one of 2 Chainz’s songs, “Someone to Love”. Other than that, I was in the dark. Generally speaking, sometimes it can be tough for openers to get a crowd into a show. The crowd is still filling in, getting drinks, not that interested in an opening act, etc. However, I thought Skooly did a solid job of getting a buzz going. He performed a number of songs I hadn’t heard before, then ended his set with his then lead single, “Fucc It Up Suh”, off his mixtape BAcCWArdFeELiNgS. It’s low key kind of catchy. I would also recommend the song “Basic” off of that same mixtape.

The 2nd opener was another TRU signee, Young Dolph. Hailing from Memphis, TN, Dolph has made a name for himself in hip-hop circles for his gritty delivery of songs primarily about slinging dope. He’s also gotten a bit of notoriety for his beef with fellow Memphis rapper, Yo Gotti. Not even a year prior to this show’s date, Dolph was shot at 100 times during the CIAA weekend (also in Charlotte). Nevertheless, he was back in Charlotte on this night. Dolph was seated on a throne with his back to the crowd when the curtains dropped. He began rapping “Get Paid” and the throne rotated towards the crowd. From there, Dolph went through his set that included “Pulled Up”, his verse from OT Genasis’ “Cut It”, “Preach”, and naturally “100 Shots”. Dolph even brought out his own father to the stage to enjoy the moment with him.

Young Dolph & his father

After Dolph was finished, the stage hands began to work on putting 2 Chainz’s set together. It presented a perfect opportunity to hit the bathroom and re-up at the bar. Once I got back to my spot in the crowd, I only had to wait for a few minutes before the show was set to go on.

The set was made to look like the trap house that was on the cover of Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.

PGLTM Album Cover

The Trap Choir was posted up to the right of the stage and they were laying down a soulful medley with some backing from 2 Chainz’s longtime friend and personal DJ, DJ E. Sudd. Mid-medley, gunshots rang out over the speaker system and they all ducked for cover. “Riverdale Rd” then came out blaring and crowd knew it was time. The front door of the trap house opened up, and Tity Boi came rolling out rapping his @$$ off. He was literally rolling. For those unaware, 2 Chainz broke his left leg a few weeks prior to starting the tour at his daughter’s birthday party. I can only assume that he was leaned out in a bouncy house or something.

Jokes aside, instead of cancelling the tour, 2 Chainz tricked out a wheelchair a la Pimp My Ride and hired a scantily clad “nurse” to push him around and voila, the tour continued. I think that really speaks to the kind of artist he is. After performing “Riverdale Rd”, 2 Chainz introduced himself to the crowd, said his hellos, and dove into a set list that went like this:

1. Riverdale Rd.
2. verse from No Problem (Chance the Rapper)
3. Big Amount
4. verse from All Me (Drake)
5. No Lie
6. I’m Different
7. chorus from F*ckin Problems (A$AP Rocky)
8. verse from Bandz A Make Her Dance (Juicy J)
9. I Luv Dem Strippers
10. verse from Cut Her Off (K. Camp)
11. verse from Thick (OT Genasis)
12. Trap Check
13. MFN Right
14. Watch Out
15. verse from Beez In The Trap (Nicki Minaj)
16. Blue Cheese
17. Bounce
18. Duffle Bag Boy (Playaz Circle)
19. Door Swangin
20. Crack
21. Birthday Song
22. Poor Fool
23. It’s A Vibe
24. Rolls Royce B*tch
25. OG Kush Diet
26. Good Drank 2.0
27. 4AM

The set list was fiiiiire. Current hits, past hits and verses from other popular singles. And on top of that, the date that Chainz performed in Charlotte was actually also his birthday. So everyone – The Trap Choir, DJ E Sudd, the crowd – sang happy birthday to 2 Chainz while he was on stage. Young Dolph came back out on the stage to wish 2 Chainz a happy birthday and the “nurse” brought out a birthday cake in the shape of a trap house (naturally). 2 Chainz blew out the candles, said his thanks, and then followed it up by performing “Birthday Song”. I mean, how could he not?

4AM was probably the highlight for me, because it was the song I wanted to see him perform the most. It’s definitely my favorite song from PGLTM and I was honestly shocked that it didn’t get more promotion, because it’s undeniably a banger. All in all, it was yet another great 2 Chainz show, and while this tour is obviously not going on any longer, if you have the chance to see him perform down the road, you absolutely should.

J. Cole – 4YEO World Tour

I’ve been putting off doing this review for a few months now, and for that I apologize, so without any further ado, here it is:

On June 18th I had the distinct pleasure to see J. Cole perform at the Cone Denim Entertainment Center in Greensboro, NC. But before we get into that, let’s back things up for a minute.

This past December, Fayetteville’s own J. Cole released his 4th studio album entitled 4 Your Eyez Only. While a huge J. Cole fan, I admittedly enjoyed this album the least compared to his previous 3 albums. Now I’m not saying that the album is bad, or of any lesser quality, I just felt that as a whole it wasn’t as enjoyable as his previous works. Outside of “Neighbors”, there really aren’t any “hit singles” or mainstream friendly tracks that you find yourself wanting to play over and over again. However, this project has depth, and the concept behind it is quite personal. The album follows the story of a young man, as he goes from selling crack, to falling in love and starting a family. In the final track, it is revealed that he has died, and almost the entire album is a tape he created for his daughter to listen to after he’s gone. Listeners come to find out that this story is actually about a real life friend of Cole’s, and in that moment everything seems to come to a halt. Reality check. These aren’t made up stories to sell records. These are the struggles of everyday life for some people. People that while villainized by the media, are really just human, and trying to do the best that they can to provide for themselves and their families.

Back to the tour. When the dates were initially announced, I knew I had to attend one of the shows. The first 13 dates would take place in smaller, more intimate venues and there would only be Dreamville artists as scheduled opening acts. The next set of dates would take place in arenas across the US, with Bas and Anderson .Paak set to open. And the final leg of the tour would go across the pond to large venues throughout Europe.

4YEO Tour Poster

I personally enjoy shows at smaller venues for the intimate experience. There’s nothing wrong with arena tours at all (I go to those too), it’s just how I feel. So when the presale tickets went up, I was scouring Livenation for tickets to the closest smaller venue show. After battling bots online for roughly 10 minutes and temporarily losing my mind thinking I would never get tickets, I landed 2 seats to a show in Greensboro, NC at a venue that holds roughly 2,000-3,000 people. I was ecstatic.

Fast forward a few weeks, and my wife and I are making the one and a half hour trip from Charlotte to Greensboro, bumping nothing by J. Cole the entire way. We made our way into the venue after catching a few drinks with some of her college friends in that neck of the woods, and found our seats. You could feel a buzz in the room. J. Cole was back in NC, performing songs about providing for your family and the joy of having a daughter, on Father’s Day. The anticipation was real.

After Dreamville artists (and opening acts) Lute, Ari Lennox, and J.I.D [who has made quite a buzz for himself with his debut album, The Never Story] cleared the stage, Jermaine came to the stage ushered in by a roar from the crowd. Not a single person was sitting down. He greeted the crowd with a crooked smile, and began to go through his set. One thing I’ve always thought about J. Cole is that no matter how the song may feel or sound when you listen to it in your car, or on your phone, when you see it performed live, it’s completely different. For example, the song “Ville Mentality” is slow, and a bit depressing. It’s not a song you would really look forward to hearing at a show. When performed live though, Cole gets the audience involved and has them singing along and you no longer have those same thoughts. J. Cole gets slapped with the “boring rapper” tag to the point where it’s almost a meme, but his live performances are truly top notch. I’ve been to 85+ shows spanning many genres of music, and he is consistently one of, if not the best showman that I’ve seen. He finds a way to transform his sound and somehow make everything enjoyable. I’m obviously a bit biased here, but I think what makes this possible is that during the show, you realize how likeable of a person Cole really is. The banter with the crowed throughout the show gives you a feel for the kind of person he is. So as the show goes on, you want to like everything, even if you didn’t when you initially stepped through the venue’s doors. He’s a genuine, down to earth guy, and I think that makes it very easy for an audience to relate to him.

With regard to the set, Cole had a little bit of everything in store for us. He played songs from each of his 4 albums, including “Lights Please”, “Nobody’s Perfect”, “Power Trip”, “No Role Modelz”, “A Tale of 2 Citiez” and “Love Yourz”. One of the songs I was looking forward to the most was “Neighbors”, and Cole did not disappoint. IMO, these are all fantastic songs and I love each and every one of them, however the moment that really struck me was his final song.

Cole performed the title track to his most recent album, “4 Your Eyez Only” in its 9+ minute entirety. He told fans that he wouldn’t be returning for any encore, so

“if you don’t want to hear somebody running through some real sh*t for eight minutes and really give you a story, this is your time to beat the traffic.”

It was heartfelt, and simply raw. The ending line was really what got me when I first listened to the song, and hearing it live had the same affect: “Yo daddy was a real n*gga cause he loved you”. Powerful stuff right there.

The tour is still going on right now in the US, so if you have the ability to catch one of his upcoming shows, I would strongly suggest making it happen. If you’re any kind of hip-hop fan, even if you don’t like J. Cole’s music that much, get yourself a cheap seat in the nosebleeds to one of the dates and go in with an open mind. What I said previously will really start to make a lot more sense.