Why Do Rappers Always Go Onstage So Late?

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them hear discussing issues relevant to their culture.

Knights-of-the-Rap-Table sep20.jpg
Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: Paul Wall, Fat Tony, K-Rino and Kyle Hubbard

Not Invited: Devin the Dude*, who leads the league in "Showed Up To His Concert Six Hours Late."

*Actually, he was invited. We emailed him for a response last week. We anticipate he'll return the message in about four weeks.

This Week's Prompt: Out of all of the things that people email us to ask rappers about, punctuality seems to rank pretty high. So, what say you, sirs and ma'ams? Why, when we buy a ticket to a rap show that says it's going to start at 8 p.m., do we get there at 8 p.m. and then feel like a complete ass for doing so?

Is that part of the Rapper Creed, to always try and be three hours cooler than everyone else? Or are there legitimate reasons why shows run late that fans are unaware of (collecting fees, technical issues, orphans trapped in house fires that you have to help)?

Paul Wall: Everybody is different, but for me, first, I'm not going on stage until we get paid. That's due to years of shady promoters screwing me over, being cheap and not paying.

A lot of times, the promoters don't have their shit together, so they wanna push the show back to allow the opening groups more time, or because the show is running behind, or a hundred other reasons that are out of my interest or control. I have never once in my entire career ever wanted the show to be pushed back, not even five minutes.

The sooner I perform, the sooner I can get away from a cig smoke-filled back stage full of drunk annoying reachers claiming to be my fans or friends (yet constantly bugging me for free drinks or to get more people in free that I don't know), and the sooner I can get home to my smoke, my drank and my fam.

I love being the People's Champ, however I have never once pushed show time back. Usually with all shows (not just hip-hop/rap) there [is] some type of opening act. That's who goes on at 8 p.m., not the main event. The artist is simply hired entertainment; we didn't put the concert together, hire sound/lights man, rent the venue, run commercials, hire security, etc.

So for you to blame the artist is like going to see a Rockets game, and being mad at Yao cause the game is running behind due to TV problems.

Fat Tony: All of the above. Problems with promoters, technical difficulties, and other performance-related troubles tend to be the biggest causes of time setbacks, especially in my personal experience.

Also, timeliness of arrival is an important factor. Getting to and from the venue and to and from the airport in an orderly fashion can be hectic when you consider flight delays and traffic. When it comes to diva-esque shit such as an artist wanting to relax/drink/smoke/do drugs/converse with his friends and family/get some head/etc. before a show, that can cause a huge setback.

But those things are often just pre-show rituals that were delayed by some other shit, such as the timeliness of arrival I mentioned earlier.

Usually the promoter (a good one) will get in that ass if the artist is delaying too much for no good reason and fucking up the flow of his/her event with threats of cutting pay (clauses such as this can always be in the fine print of the contract the artist signed when agreeing to the performance). Yeah, buddy.

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