Isaiah Rashad and company took the Knitting Factory stage Tuesday night.
Ray Vaughn opened the show. As the newest member of TDE, he’s their eighth Californian on the roster. His lyrics were hilarious, ruthlessly letting his potential beaus know he is indeed a cheater and rather toxic for any girl looking for anything serious. With his short stature and extreme energy, a fan allegedly mocked him for resembling rapper DaBaby by calling him “DaUncle.” The only time the Long Beach native wasn’t comedic was during his story about getting signed.
“I was sleeping in the car with my mom,” Vaughn said. “This just showed me that anything is possible, man. You’re crazy, it’s crazy, until it works.”
Aside from acknowledging his struggles to success, he was impressive,his potential infinite. Anyone in TDE is.
Before Rashad took the stage, rapper Childish Major performed songs from his latest release, “Thank You, God. For It All,” which he dropped a week before Rashad’s “The House Is Burning.” He performed “Disrespectful” before a quick breath exercise for which he asked his audience to “take three deep breaths.”
Major then performed “Woo$ah” and “Player’s Prayer.”
Major reflected on his time coming up, acknowledging his start as a producer for the likes of J. Cole and the hit song “U.O.E.N.O.” by Rocko, which reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013. His beat creation took the rap world by storm, which ensued an abundance of covers. The South Carolina rapper reflected on his continuing rise through the music world with the help of rapper friends like Rashad.
“Isaiah was one of the first people to see me, and I truly appreciate him for it,” Major said.
The Knitting Factory was the appropriate setting for Rashad to shine. There was artistic intimacy between him and about 300 attendees. A chill performer, he stepped out in a white T, comfortable khakis and red and white Air Jordans 3s.
“I only have three rules to my shows,” Rashad said. “Be safe, move any girl or little dude who doesn’t want to get smashed in the pit, oh, and have fun. We do the shows, we laugh, we have fun.”
He went directly into some of his top songs from “The House Is Burning” after entering the stage with “Darkseid” sliding into “RIP Young,” and “Hey Mista” then going back to his 2016 album “The Sun’s Tirade” with “Park” and “Wats Wrong.”
Rashad was mellow through some moments but electric throughout, flower picking through his discography and linking songs together through their message.
Performing “Don’t Shoot,” “Free Lunch” and “Claymore” back to back put together a calmer moment as Rashad combed through moments of making money, struggling but prevailing either way. He spoke with the crowd, ensuring front-row fans that he indeed saw their “Weiner Mobile” and showing actual pictures his concert team took.
Whenever Rashad showed his ability to balance storytelling and tight lyrical execution, the crowd was unusually quiet, somewhat confused that he wasn’t “turnt” while rapping about his Black, Southern plight.
Throughout the enclosed venue, only a few were really rapping the messages within Rashad’s songs. Many performers engrossed in the moment were a gross minority. Rashad’s DJ played snippets from 1990s Southern rap songs before he played the musical descendants of those samples. Not many could sniff out the original prototype. The DJ turned the reverb up to entice and egg the crowd to sing to hits like “Park” or “Shot You Down,” and not many could keep up.
Concerts without masks or vaccination cards may feel like a world away, but sinking your teeth into an artist’s recipe of lyrical talent, song selection and enjoying an artists’ storytelling ability should not be understated nor lost within concert culture.
With brazen audacity, concertgoers chanted “one more song” after Rashad performed his final song, “Headshots.”
It was no surprise equipment managers continued clean up.
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