The first hip-hop concert I ever went to was at the California Brew Haus in Rochester, NY. The main reason I went to this particular show was because my friend was selling shirts for one of the performers (svveet t), who was also a friend of mine. The headliner of the show was group from Miami called the $uicideboy$. Other than briefly listening to some of their tracks on their SoundCloud page during the trip to the Brew Haus, I was barely familiar with their music. From what I heard, they made really dark, trap music with really malevolent, violent lyrics. The lyrics were certainly ignorant at the very least. Despite that, I really didn’t know what to expect from the show. Although I was heavily immersed in hip-hop and had already started writing album reviews for DeadEndHipHop, I had never actually seen a live hip-hop performance. Over the past few years I had been dragged to hardcore and post-rock shows by my friends, so I was eager to finally witness a show that was more up my alley.
The vibe of what the show was going to be like set in immediately upon entering the Brew Haus. The stage room was dimly lit and cloudy. The aroma of alcohol and blunt smoke was thick and powerful. Several people were already wasted and the show hadn’t even started yet. The DJ was already playing tracks to keep everyone occupied. By playing artists like Future and Denzel Curry, I already knew this show was going to be pretty wild. Eventually the show started, and the opening acts came through and performed their sets (svveet t did his thang). By the time the $uicideboy$ were up, I was on my seventh drink and heavily under the influence of a certain drug that shall not be named (it rhymes with seed). Needless to say, I was ready for some aggressive, bass-heavy trap music.
The group came out and immediately the crowd got hyped. People were already moshing in the front during the opening acts, and now, simply just the presence of the group on stage had seemingly unleashed hell’s fury. The lights became dimmer, almost to the point of being off. The group then began their first song. I don’t know the names of any of the songs that were performed not only because I wasn’t familiar with their music, but also because they never announced the name of the track prior to performing it. The beat of the first song started out slow. It was obvious that the song was building to huge bass drop. One of the main members of the group, Pouya, began hyping up the crowd, encouraging people to put their hands in the air. The rappers began to rap the hook, and after a few repetitions, the song was then pushed into overdrive with a booming bass drop and rattling high hats. Everyone in the crowd began jumping to the beat. It was absolute chaos. The guys on the stage were already dousing the crowd with water bottles. I was definitely feeling the vibe of song. It was a solid banger that had my friend and I ready to bounce off a wall. The rapping was consistently fast-paced. It was fast to the point where I had no idea what the hell any of the rappers were saying. The surging beat and the energy of the rappers were what carried this song. The flashing strobe lights on stage were also a nice contribution to the aggressive vibe present in the room. A HUGE mosh pit formed in the middle of the stage room. Even though I was pretty hyped, I did my best to avoid getting sucked in to that hellhole. I knew I wouldn’t last a second.
Almost all of the tracks following this carried almost the exact same aggressive tone. There was nothing really mind-blowing creatively. Nor lyrically. However, mostly everybody at show, including myself, was aware of this. No one came to the show to be dazzled by wordplay and double entendres. People came to get f***** up and bang out to some crazy music. People came to see the performers do stage dives and throw open water bottles into the crowd. However, as I found out so elegantly, people also came to fight.
The music that the $uicideboy$ were performing certainly encouraged that very thing. However, I was never on edge or anxious that someone was going to try and pick a fight with me. I was too lost in the energy of the music to worry about someone running up on me. Needless to say, my concert experience with the $uicideboy$ came to a screeching halt. Some dude who was clearly f***** up on something other than alcohol had already gotten “kicked out” for throwing beer on some kid, and somehow managed to find his way back in. The show was almost over and I was standing near the middle of the crowd with my buddy when all of a sudden I was welcomed with a fist to the back of the head. I fell over and turned around to see that very dude swinging his fists like a bat outta hell. I managed to kick the dude off me and was surrounded by other people at the show trying to shove the dude back further. Any musical vibes I was feeling were instantly killed as joy and excitement turned to fear, anger and adrenaline. My friend and I made our way to the exit as the guy tried once again to confront me. We managed to make our way out, only to look back and see several fights breaking out, along with several people being maced by security. So yeah. S*** went down. I trapped out to some hard music and got sucker punched by a junkie. I STILL have no idea why the dude picked me, but f*** it, it makes a good story. Right?
So, my first hip-hop show experience was interesting to say the least. Although it didn’t end pleasantly, it is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I know that probably sounds cliché, but it really did have a profound impact on me. I don’t consider myself a fan of the $uicideboy$ (when I sobered up and went back to listen their music I actually thought it was pretty trashy). However, the vibes and energy of the show stuck with me. I had never experienced a show with energy on same level as that night (until I went to an Isaiah Rashad show in January, which was LIT). Nothing will ever compare to the pure excitement and adrenaline that coursed through my body during my first concert. It just goes to show the different vibes and levels of energy that you can experience at ONLY a hip-hop show. If you’re one of the few (like I was) that has never seen hip-hop live, do yourself a favor and buy tickets to closest local hip-hop show you can go to.