Big Sean – The I Decided Tour

This past January, Big Sean announced he would be embarking on a 20+ stop North American tour in support of his then upcoming 4th studio album, entitled “I Decided”. “Uber Everywhere” rapper MadeinTYO was set to be the supporting act as well. See dates below.

Tour Dates

Upon getting the notification on my LiveNation app, I knew I would immediately have to snap on tickets. To me, Sean is a guy that has consistently been putting out quality music for the past 3-4 years. He may not quite have the recognition or mass appeal of a Drake, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar etc, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing when it came to this tour. Instead of playing a stadium tour, or a large outdoor venue, Sean would be playing indoor venues like the Fillmore with a capacity of around 2,000 or so people. This meant that my friend Cory and I would have the opportunity to get a “seat” very close to the stage.

Fast forward a few months and it’s Friday, April 14th. A beautiful spring day in Charlotte, NC with clear skies, a nice breeze, temps in the 70’s and a 100% chance of turning up on the horizon.

After a few drinks and some food beforehand at nearby VBGB, Cory and I made our way to the venue and managed to be the 2nd group of people in line (not counting the VIP folks). A little over an hour later we were both approximately 10 feet away from the stage waiting for the show to begin. The crowd began pouring in once doors opened, and a buzz began to grow. In less than half an hour it seemed like the entire venue was packed, but I guess that’s to be expected when the venue sells out of tickets.

The first opening act was a Detroit, Michigan local by the name of Neisha Neshae. Dubbed the “queen of R&B trap”, she played a number of songs that including elements of both, yes you guessed it, R&B and trap. Admittedly, I knew nothing of her coming into the show, but I thought it was a pretty cool gesture that Big Sean went the extra mile to get a fellow Detroit artist on the tour for some exposure.

DJ Mo Beatz, Sean’s official DJ, was the next act on stage. There’s usually always a DJ involved in playing some popular hip-hop/rap music for the crowd at shows while sets are put up, artists get ready, etc. and Mo Beatz was that guy on this evening. He dropped a number of current hits, including Migos‘ “T Shirt”, Post Malone’s “Congratulations” and Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llife”.

After his set concluded, Mo Beatz made way for the tour’s official opening act, MadeinTYO, who performed a few songs, including his hit single “Uber Everywhere” as well as “Skateboard P” and “I Want”. This wouldn’t be the last time we saw MadeinTYO for the night, but more on that later.

Finally, after another set change, it was time. The lights dimmed, some smoke came onto the floor of the stage and a few lights hit the center of the stage, illuminating Big Sean as he made his way to the front of the stage to the tune of “Voices In My Head/Stick To The Plan”.

Sean Don

The crowd was already into it, but they really felt some kind of way when the beat changed during the middle of the song and the Metro Boomin tag came through the speakers. From that point on, Sean ran through hit after hit: Mercy, Clique, Play No Games, Paradise, All Your Fault, Moves, Dance (A$$), Blessings – just to name a few. One highlight during this sequence was another appearance by MadeinTYO. He re-emerged from the back of the stage so he and Sean could jointly perform “Skateboard P”.

Sean ended his set with “Bigger Than Me” and said his goodbyes to the audience. He wasn’t gone long though, because he came back out a few minutes later with an encore performance that started with “IDFWU” and ended with his recently twice platinum certified song “Bounce Back”.

The crowd was going word for word with Sean, and during the performance he came by my friends and I a few times and dapped us up mid-performance. If the show was a piece of cake, this was surely the metaphorical cherry on top. All in all, I would have to say that this concert registered in my top 10 shows that I’ve attended. Everything was great. The crowd was great, all the performers gave it everything they had, the sets/lighting/sound were on point, and all of that combined for a great experience. I’m hoping the success of I Decided and this tour give Sean the additional backing he needs (and deserves) to take his music to the next level, that could possibly turn into a stadium tour with his next LP. Only time will tell.

Until then, if you have a chance to catch one of the few remaining dates on this tour, I highly recommend going. If not, make sure you check out Sean’s album I Decided and hit me with your takes on twitter @ Leeroyknievil. Oh God!

I Decided.

The #PurpleReign Tour: Charlotte Edition

Happy Friday everyone. I’m enjoying a lovely rum & coke at the moment and I hope that your evening is going just as swimmingly. To be completely honest, I’m aware that it’s been almost a month since this concert took place. Part of me feels almost guilty for not posting sooner, but a larger part of me doesn’t want to feel obligated to make these posts. Let’s be serious, there probably aren’t but a few dedicated readers anyways – hey Amanda – so from here on out things will be a bit different. I’m going to post reviews after seeing a show for sure, but I’m not going to try to pander to any audience or try to make some kind of clickbait title for views. The days of going to ~20 rap shows a year are behind me. So from here on out, I’m keeping it real. [This would be the ideal time for a Chappelle show clip about when keeping it real goes wrong btw].

Alright, I’m off the soap box, let’s get to the damn thang.

Here we go. 2015 was owned by Future. There’s no doubt about it. The man dropped two critically acclaimed mixtapes in 56 Nights and
Beast Mode, and then followed them up with an unprecedented 3, yes THREE, number 1 albums in DS2, What A Time To Be Alive w/ Drake, and EVOL (not to mention the Purple Reign tape itself). For those counting at home, that is 5 projects in a single calendar year. Some people can’t put out 5 projects in a career – looking at you Dr. Dre.

Needless to say, the hype was really real for the Purple Reign Tour, and rightfully so.

Purple Reign Tour

Purple Reign Tour

A few months back I got a notification from my LiveNation app letting me know that tickets would be going on sale. I was all over it. Yes, I have seen Future perform before, but at that time he was nowhere near as popular as he is today.

Fast forward a few months. April 7, 2015. Showtime is 8pm at The Fillmore, one of my favorite venues. I’m rolling solo, which at this point I’m used to doing. Live music is just worth it in my opinion. Anyways, I showed up about 20 minutes before doors opened and the line was at least 200-250 yards long. Unreal. It didn’t phase me much though, because I had previously purchased a handy dandy “fast pass” from the venue for $10 which essentially provides a separate admission line that gets in before the mile long general admission line. I was tempted to buy a “Meet & Greet” package ticket, but $250 is a little too steep for me, no matter how much I like Future.

So inside the venue we go. The show actually didn’t take long to get started, which was nice. Lil Donald was the first act out. I won’t front at all, I’ve never heard of Lil Donald before that night. I learned he was signed to Freebandz though, so he’s got that going for him. He did a few songs and the crowd was cool with him.

The next performer I was very familiar with, Ty Dolla $ign. Most people got familiar with Ty following the success of his hit single, “Paranoid”. I will humble brag and say that I was a fan a little before that, mainly because of his affiliation with YG, who I love. I think everyone is familiar with the song “Toot It & Boot It” though, which is where Ty really got his start, even if nobody really knew who he was back then.

Ty came out looking super casual and put together the following setlist:

1. Familiar
2. Dead Presidents
3. Violent
4. Irie
5. Only Right w/ TeeCee4800
6. Toot It & Boot It
7. You & Your Friends
8. Play No Games
9. Sitting Pretty
10. Or Nah
11. Paranoid
12. Saved
13. Blasé

Ty held it down, especially for an opener. I would almost venture to call him a co-headliner. I skipped seeing Ty about a year ago at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte, so it really was a treat to see Ty AND Future in the same night.

Dolla $ign!

Dolla $ign!

After Ty’s set, house music filtered back through the speakers at a reasonable level and general conversation filled the venue. After some time, the stage was set for Fewtcha. The lights dimmed, and the backdrop of 3 split screens began to show a steady sea of purple waves. Anticipation was rising, and ultimately, our boy came out to grace the stage. After at least 2 hours since most of us entered the venue, we were ready to turn up. At first, there was a faint sound of music playing. It gradually got louder, and ultimately you heard the beginning of “Thought It Was a Drought” playing. Future ran through a brief introduction to the crowd, but the crowd could have cared less. We went word for word over the intro to the song until the beat dropped at which point all hell broke loose, in a good way of course.

Future put down a set list that was pretty amazing. It consisted of:

1. Thought it was a Drought

2. Move That Dope
3. Same Damn Time
4. Karate Chop
5. Monster
6. My Savages
7. Peacoat
8. Lay Up
9. Where Ya At
10. I Serve the Base
11. Blood on the Money
12. Stick Talk
13. Freak Hoe
14. Blow a Bag
15. Rotation
16. Slave Master

At this point, we had gone through a number of hits, and Future needed a break to get some water/hydrate/hit the gas, etc. Whatever he was doing, we had ourselves a guest MC enter the stage to keep us entertained, DJ Esco, who was donning a fitting #2 Charlotte Hornets Larry Johnson jersey.

DJ Esco

DJ Esco

Esco played a number of current radio hits for 10-15 minutes and ultimately gave the mic back up to Future, who continued to light things up, and he started the 2nd portion of the show with a bang, by bringing Ty back out of stage to perform Blasé, together. It was lit. Ty even leapt from the stage into the welcoming arms of fans, who lost it.

17. Blasé w/ Ty Dolla $ign
18. Real Sisters
19. The Percocet & Stripper Joint
20. Trap N*ggas
21. F*ck Up Some Commas
22. Diamonds Dancing
23. Jersey
24. I’m The Plug
25. Jumpan

26. March Madness
27. All Right
28. Wicked
29. Perkys Calling
30. Purple Reign

Fewtcha!

Fewtcha!

And with that final performance, Future bid us adieu and left the stage. The venue’s lights came back on, and people started filtering out into the brisk night air. What they didn’t know, was that Future wasn’t done. After a few minutes, he came back out on stage and gave an encore performance consisting of:

31. Low Life
32. Honest
33. Chosen One
34. Love Me

It was a solid hour and a half performance, and Future certainly delivered. He put down a great performance and earned every cent that he made that evening. My only criticism would be that he didn’t play my personal favorite, “Gone to the Moon”. I get it though. With his current buzz, most of his fans these days don’t even know that song because it’s so old. Fortunately, I can say I’m lucky enough to have seen it performed before, so there was no real damage done.

All in all, it was a great show, and I’m really glad that I made the effort to go see Future perform. I won’t say I’ve been a day one Future fan, but as a fan of at least 3 years or so, it is really cool to see him rising up in the hip-hop community and know that you were supporting him back when he was relatively unknown. My humble brag is now done. Point is, if you haven’t seen him and he’s coming to a city near you, get some tickets and make it happen. You won’t regret it.

Mac Miller – The G00D:AM Tour

Fresh off the release of his third studio album, GOOD:AM, Mac Miller announced that he would be launching a US tour to promote his new LP. Thankfully, one of the stops listed was in Charlotte, NC.

GOOD:AM - Album Cover

GOOD:AM – Album Cover

GOOD:AM US Tour Dates

I’ve only seen Mac once before, when he was hardly known in the mainstream hip-hop audience. 4 years ago, he opened for Wiz Khalifa on the Green Carpet Tour at the Red Oak Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC. I was only a year removed from college at the time and still made frequent visits back to my old stomping grounds, so this concert was just an excuse to get back to Raleighwood to have a good time with some friends.

Flash forward 4 years, and Mac’s stardom has grown exponentially. His 4th mixtape, KIDS, really got him into the spotlight back in 2010 and since then he’s released mixtape upon mixtape along with 2 critically acclaimed albums, not including his newest release, GOOD:AM.

As many people are well aware, Mac is a Pittsburgh, PA native. He went to the same highschool as Wiz Khalifa (Taylor Allderdice HS) and later got a record deal with Rostrum Records, who Wiz was also signed with. Initially, I think a number of listeners felt that he was riding Wiz’s coat tails to a degree, but he has more than proven any doubters wrong since that time. Mac has truly carved out a role for himself in the hip-hop world and continues to impress with his clever punchlines and melodic flows.

Now then, on to the show. I arrived on site about 30 minutes before doors even opened and the line to get in was already 150-200 people deep. I knew it wold be a packed house, but had no idea that it would be this packed. Instead of waiting it out in the general admission line, I called an audible at the box office and opted to get a fast pass. This $10 magical coupon gets you in a separate line to get in, before anyone else. It proved to be $10 well spent. A few of my friends met me there at about that same time, and the waiting game began until doors opened.

Once the doors did open, we made a beeline to the center of the audience. Your standard house music and milling around went on for a bit while the crowd continued filing in. Eventually, a DJ came to the stage and announced the first opener was coming to the stage: Choo Jackson. I’ve never heard of Choo Jackson prior to this show, but the guy had some serious energy. The crowd was so ready to turn up, the moment the first song started people were instantly jumping up and down. Choo played a few songs and eventually gave way to Michael Christmas – another guy I have never heard of. Like Choo, Christmas was very energetic and crowd-friendly. He did a great job getting the crowd to interact with him and had a natural stage presence. The final opener was a duo named Earth Gang – yet another act I hadn’t heard of. (This trend just let me know I need to get out from under a rock and listen to some more up and comers). Like the previous acts, this group had the crowd bouncing and did a great job setting the stage for Mac. All 3 acts really did a great job entertaining the crowd and I think they each have the potential to achieve great things in this industry with the work ethic that they displayed this past Tuesday night.

And speaking of Mac, his time had finally descended upon us. The stage was set, the lights dimmed, and the song “Loud” began to play over the speakers. Have a look:

The crowd went APE – to the point of some pushing/shoving and even some lighthearted moshing for the boys up front. I had severely underestimated the kind of show that Mac would be putting on. I did not expect that kind of energy. At. All. Mac continued on with a set list that spanned almost every one of his better known projects. There were songs from KIDS, Blue Slide Park, Best Day Ever, Faces, WMWTSO, and obviously GOOD:AM.

Here’s the set list:

1. Loud
2. Watching Movies
3. Bird Call
4. Insomniak
5. Doors
6. Brand New

7. 100 Grandkids
8. Red Dot Music
9. Nikes On My Feet – A personal favorite of mine. This song is a classic.

10. In The Bag
11. Rush Hour
12. Weekend
13. Clubhouse
14. Donald Trump
15. Diablo
16. Break The Law
17. Objects in the Mirror
18. ROS
19. Onaroll
20. Lucky Ass B*tch
21. When In Rome

Encore:

22. Frick Park Market
23. Cut the Check
24. Best Day Ever

It took Mac roughly an hour and a half to perform all of these songs, and he put everything he had into each one of them. The energy in the room was undeniable, and I left the venue with a solid sweat going. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many stops left on this leg of the tour, so if Mac is coming to your city and you have a chance to go, do it. I underestimated Mac. Learn from my mistake and don’t do the same thing.

Mac Miller

Mac Miller

Until next time!

PS – Future and Ty Dolla $ign are coming to Charlotte together in March! LETS GET IT!! #FutureHive.

PSS – Shoutout to the The Fillmore Charlotte for always bringing great artists through the city. Thank you.

Travi$ Scott & Young Thug: The Rodeo Tour

One of the most anticipated tours of 2015 was announced this past January. Rising hip-hop/rap stars Travi$ Scott and Young Thug would be touring together across the United States on the Rodeo Tour, in an effort to promote Travi$ Scott’s upcoming album: Rodeo. Along with them, one of the fasting rising producers in the game, Metro Boomin, would be doing a DJ set prior to those two hitting the stage.

Rodeo Tour

Rodeo Tour

The moment this tour was announced, I knew exactly where I would be on March 17th when the tour came to The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC. No questions asked.

I thought I was being slick getting to the show about an hour early. My plan was to hit a bar or two and toss a few back prior to getting in line. That plan did not last very long. When I got on site around 5:30, a line was wrapped around the block already. Doors were at 7. SEVEN. The hype of this show had certainly gotten around.

I met up with a friend of mine and after a while we managed to get in, and in a decent spot in the crowd. After your typical milling around to house music, a DJ came on to warm things up a little bit. Now I’ve been to a lot of shows over the years but I have never experienced a crowd like this. They turned up to the house DJ. I mean seriously?? A mosh pit was forming in the center of the crowd pretty close to where I would be at and I wanted no part of that madness. So my boy and I noped right on out of there to a place that we thought would be a little less crazy.

Metro eventually came out to a lot of people cheering and started off a dope setlist including tracks he had produced as well as ones he had not. The crowd was definitely feeling him, but you could tell it wasn’t quite all the way turnt yet.

But, that ended when about 30 minutes later Young Thug came out to “2 Cups Stuffed”. The energy people had been holding in came bursting out at this point and they started going wild for the night. I hadn’t seen Thugger Thugger perform prior to this show, but he held the stage down pretty well for himself. He played a number of his classics right off the bat, including his verse on “TF out my Face” and “Hookah” for around 15 mins or so, at which point he gave up the stage to La Flame.

I’ve heard people talk about how Travi$ can perform with so much energy, and those people were not lying. Not a single bit. I honestly don’t know if this guy will have a voice at the end of this tour and I’m sure he’ll need to sleep for at least 3 days straight to get his energy back, because he goes all out during his shows. The first song he played was “Quintana” and my God, I think the rafters were shaking.

The show continued on in about 15 minute intervals between Thugger and La Flame each doing songs until they came to do songs together, including “Mamacita” and “Skyfall” – both of which set the place off. Personally, the highlight for myself was “Upper Echelon”. That song is a certified banger. Take a look:

Right as things were beginning to wrap up, Rich Gang’s founder Birdman made an appearance. This was not expected at all. Now, I’m not a big Birdman fan by any means, but I can get down with the Big Tymers. Birdman dropped “Numba 1 Stunna” and “Still Fly” and it was impossible to not go word for word with those classics. It really was icing on the cake.

All in all, this was a great show and probably the wildest crowd I’ve ever been a part of. Songs were performed from Owl Pharoah, Days Before Rodeo, Rich Gang: Tha Tour Part 1, 19 & Boomin and various other projects. Thugger and La Flame played all of their hits and were really fun to watch perform. The only knock I have is that Travi$ used autotune for at least the first half of songs he did which was kinda weird. Still, I would encourage anyone who can to go check it out. Even if you’re not a big fan of either artist, the experience itself is worth more than the price of admission. They don’t call it the Rodeo Tour for nothing either, so brace yourselves.

If you might be heading to one of their shows in the future and don’t want to see the set list, stop reading. Otherwise, here you are:

Thugger:

1. 2 Cups Stuffed
2. TF Out My Face verse (Rich Homie Quan cover)
3. Hookah verse (Tyga cover)
4. Free Gucci

Travi$

5. Quintana
6. Sin City (GOOD Music cover)
7. Uptown
8. High Fashion

Thugger:

9. Imma Ride
10. About the Money verse (T.I. cover)
11. Warrior
12. Some More

Travi$

13. All Your Fault (Big Sean cover, Travi$ helped produce this track)
14. Don’t Play
15. Quintana Pt. 2
16. Upper Echelon

Thugger

17. Danny Glover
18. The Blanguage
19. Stoner

Travi$

20. Sloppy Toppy
21. Basement
22. Backyard Freestyle

Thugger

23. Givenchy
24. 730

Travi$

25. Grey
26. Company verse (Drake cover)

Travi$ & Thugger

27. Mamacita
28. Skyfall

Travi$

29. Zombies
30. Nothing But Net

Thugger

31. Lifestyle

Birdman

32. Leather So Soft
33. Numba One Stunna
34. Still Fly