Cajun Tomato hip-hop correspondent Scott Hesedahl makes his debut with this dispatch about Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky’s Roseland Theater tour stop, which also included indie rap faves Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q.
PORTLAND, Ore. – I am now 0-for-2 in my quest to see Detroit MC Danny Brown perform – despite having tickets to both shows – though I assure you it had nothing to do with me “smoking blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt.”
There were, however, many blunts blazed during the sold-out ASAP Rocky/Schoolboy Q/Danny Brown show Monday night at Roseland Theater, during which I realized my assertion the kids these days are getting soft may not always hold water. More on that later.
After combing Craigslist for a ticket to a show long sold out, and having several people flake … I had to do the unmentionable and talk to a scalper. (NOTE: Memo to the Craigslist flakes: I have your phone numbers and you’ll soon be receiving an onslaught of dick pics courtesy of a Craigslist m4m casual encounter post.)
Normally I’d just call it a wash and vow to see the night’s performers next time, but seeing how this trio has already had a meteoric spike in popularity with a limited catalog, next time would have likely lacked the sweaty charm that only a venue like the Roseland could provide.
After procuring my ticket from some skeezy fortysomething who communicated with a series of mumbles, I decided to knock a few back at a certain Chinatown adult establishment. It was 8 p.m., and while the show was billed to start, I figured it would go late. I arrived at nine to find Schoolboy Q – a Black Hippy crew member along with Kendrick Lamar – already several songs into his set.
This bothered me, not because I once again failed to see Mr. Brown, but because hip-hop shows should never start on time. What fucking world are we living in when rappers are NOT getting blown and blunted on the bus without regard for starting the show on time? (Ed. Note – The answer: Not one I want to live in.)
With the line to the 21 and over balcony 50 deep, I settled on watching from the floor as Schoolboy whipped the all-ages crowd into an acne-pocked frenzy. During his song ”Blessed”, the Cali rapper proclaimed race doesn’t matter tonight, and we all got a pass.
“Stay blessed my nigga, blessed my nigga! Really think about it, could be worse my nigga! Don’t stress my nigga, yes my nigga! We all blessed my nigga!” echoed the crowd.
In Portland you can’t get a proper anthem chant going while 80 percent of your audience is wondering if they can say the one word that is the foundation of said chant. Maybe, if only for a night, we are making progress towards race relations in America.
Well played, Schoolboy.
He absolutely destroyed the rest of his set, sweating through his shirt, as the room enthusiastically bounced from front to back.
Between the Schoolboy and ASAP set the crowd continued to lose its collective shit. The chorus from Kanye’s “Mercy” came on, and by the crowd’s reaction you would have been hard pressed to notice a couple of chord lords were prepping the stage.
ASAP, the 23-year-old self-described “pretty motherfucker”, took the stage and proceeded to further ratchet up the fervor of a riotous room of white boys whose hearts pump Red Bull. Before playing “Hands on the Wheel” with Schoolboy, ASAP explained the venue said they couldn’t smoke onstage, and that they decided to say, ”uh, fuck that”.
Finally, the “I don’t give a shit” mentality that drives hip-hop had arrived. Smoke billowed up from both the crowd and stage as the ASAP mob exploded into an unreleased company flow track featuring Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q, while taking turns parading around an upside down flag.
Towards the end of the set a couple of high school kids previously only known for being wedgie fodder made it onstage and got their 8 Mile on with a fire-spitting ASAP. Good showing, kids. The future isn’t completely lost.
Not to be outdone by some smarmy whippersnappers, a visibly intoxicated adult jumped onto the stage. Yeah, yeah, yeah, happens all the time, but this guy jumped from the fucking balcony. That took some stones. ASAP was impressed enough to call off security and let him bounce around for a bit before he dove into the crowd.
I left feeling I had witnessed something special, reminiscent of when, as a 16-year-old, I saw Eminem perform at Roseland during his first tour. The future is bright for you, young ASAP. Now if only I can find a leaked version of your debut album that keeps getting pushed back.