Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, B.o.B. & Trinidad James at The Woodlands, 7/26/2013
When I tell people that I shoot and review rap shows for a living, the overwhelming response is hate, as in "I HATE RAP SHOWS!" The feeling is understandable. Headliners are usually late, we are bombarded with 10,000 opening acts that are less interesting than watching the Astros play at Minute Maid Park, and the room is usually so full of weed smoke that receiving a DUI on the ride home is all but inevitable.
I've suffered through my fair share of such shows, and yes, they suck hard. "So why do you keep going to rap shows?" you may ask. The answer is this:
Every now and then, there is that one show where artists combine to provide an overall exciting, well planned, and well executed show. A show that reminds you that underneath the bling and the Autotune there is actual talent being showcased. A show that puts the "music" back in "rap music."
Friday night at The Woodlands, I experienced such a show. The Under the Influence Tour smoked its way into the Woodlands Pavilion with two of rap's biggest success stories of the past few years. The first was Wiz Khalifa, who rose quickly from slinging mixtapes in small clubs to selling out arenas and amphitheaters, sporting a stoner attitude and an infectious laugh, making him one of the biggest stars in the rap game. The other was A$AP Rocky, that pretty muthafucker from Harlem, New York City, who was named after rap pioneer Rakim and who is himself destined for greatness.
After battling some traffic during the Friday afternoon rush hour, I was able to catch Atlanta's own Trinidad James of "All Gold Everything" fame. I first saw Mr. James in Austin during SXSW 2013, and I must say that his energy and fun-loving attitude is a great spectacle.
He rode onto the stage on a BMX bike, dressed in an apron adorned with the Texas flag, and with the Trinidad & Tobago flag displayed prominently behind him. He hit the crowd hard early with one of my favorite tracks of the year, "Females Welcomed". He ended the set deep into the front section of the audience, rapping about popping molly and sweating. WHOO!