October 19th, 2012 @ Hard Rock Café, San Bernardino, California (Photos via Vibe & Soul Sessions)
I’ll start off saying that I’ve never been through so much trouble in finding tickets for a concert. Days before the show, the concert sold out, and the only available tickets (3) were through Craigslist and StubHub, and they valued for nearly $100 over the retail price. I was lucky enough to find a couple of tickets last minute through eBay for a little bit cheaper. You can definitely say Kendrick Lamar was the hottest attraction in Vegas. That’s with the new look Lakers being in town to take on the Kings, and RZA promoting his Man With The Iron Fists Tour across the strip.
We got to the Hard Rock Café about thirty minutes late and still had to wait in line for an hour before getting in. The upside was that they started the show an hour and a half behind because a few artists (Kendrick & Stalley) arrived late.
TDE’s DJ kept the energy high as he played Hip-Hop classics throughout the night. He played tracks that ranged from old schoolHip-Hop to current mainstream. One thing I liked about Bandcamp was his joint effort with the crowd. He’d have you throwing up your hands in the air and repeating his ad-libs without even noticing it. On a side note, no matter where you’re at on thewWest coast, if you throw on some Tupac, the crowd going to love it. Remember that.
To be honest, I’ve never heard of Fly Union before seeing them live. Their set was about 20 minutes long, and I’ll have to say they were not bad for an opening group. I can’t say much about them because I was at the bar for about half of their set…they sounded good though.
Stalley brought his intelligent trunk music to the stage, and had the audience vibing to the heavy bass. He certainly made sure to let everyone know he was a part of MMG with his shout outs and by the way the DJ cut up the “Maybach Music” sample over and over. The highlight of the set was “Hammers & Vogues” for me. The most recognized song was off Curren$y’s Pilot Talk where the audience was singing “Address” word for word. If Spitta Andretti was in the building, no doubt the roof would’ve blown off. Other tracks he played were “Party Heart”, “Petrin Hill Peonies”, “Slapp”, and more.
TDE finally entered the stage, and Jay Rock displayed his ghetto mentality as he played songs like “I’m Thuggin’” and the “Hood Gone Love It”. In all reality, Jay Rock probably had the most disappointing set of the night. It wasn’t because he didn’t put on a good show, but his set seemed to last around 15 minutes. My favorite song performance was “No Joke”. Other tracks he played were “Boomerang” and “Black Lip Bastard (Remix)”.
Ab-Soul came on in what seemed like seconds after Jay Rock’s act. From the very beginning to the end, he kept the crowd ecstatic, and killed song after song. What separates Ab-Soul from the rest is what he does throughout his performance. He’s not there just to repeat his songs; he’s there to put on a show. One highlight of his set was “Pass The Blunt”. The funny thing is he didn’t even spit any verses, just smoked his blunt, and encouraged the audience to blaze one with him. Another highlight was when he dedicated part of the show to Alori Joh. If you don’t know, Alori Joh was a singer for TDE and Ab-Soul’s girlfriend who lost her life earlier in the year. He played “Empathy”, and exhibited his true sympathy towards the loss of his friend. My top three song performances were probably “Illuminate”, “Pineal Gland”, and “Terrorist Threats”. I just wish Kendrick would’ve spit his verse on “Illuminate”. Other songs he performed were “Bohemian Grove”, “Gone Insane”, “SOPA”, “Track Two”, “Turn Me Up”, and more.
Kendrick definitely had to live up to his hype after the performance by Ab-Soul. From the start, he played Westside Right On Time and had the building hype until the end of the night. Crowd favorites were “A.D.H.D.”, “The Recipe”, and “Cartoons & Cereal”. However, his set seemed to flow perfect, and even tracks I wouldn’t call standouts stood out that night. He didn’t play any tracks off good kid, m.A.A.d city. besides “Swimming Pools” for all that I can remember…maybe “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”. I think he played more songs from O.D. than G.K.M.C. What makes Kendrick a good performer is his on-stage style. He will do some songs accapella without taking anything away from the original. Sometimes he’ll have you rapping his song more than he does. I’ve even seen him share the stage with a random fan to spit one of his verses. To top it off, he ended the show with one of the best encores I’ve ever seen. All I have to say is DAMN! Couldn’t find footage of the Vegas show, but here’s L.A. a few days before. If you’ve never seen Kendrick live, then I highly recommend it.
-Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe?
-Blow My High
-Cut You Off
-Fuck Your Ethnicity
-Look Out For Detox
-The Spiteful Chant
-Swimming Pools (Drank)
–Westside, Right On Time
–Cartoon & Cereal (Encore)
It was a pain in the ass to get the tickets, but it was definitely money well spent. Black Hippy proved to me that they are here to stay. TDE is the truth, and their versatility is definitely something hip hop needs right now. Next up: LongLiveA$AP tour.