A$AP Rocky + Danny Brown @ Fox, Oakland 10/24/12
One of the most hyped tours in recent memory made its stop in Oakland on Wednesday night, and for three and half hours the place was rockin’. Detroit native Danny Brown comes across as rap’s Prince or Rick James, hardly fitting in with the old school machismo archetype of the genre. Wearing all black (a dress?) and a misbehaving hair style, Brown started the show and tore through tracks on last years excellent XXX. Brown’s voice was the strongest of the three guys on the bill. His changes in flow came across well live, and had enough stage presence to headline. Some people in the audience were disappointed he came on so early.
School Boy Q followed and brought a brutish energy to the stage. Highlights of the set were “There He Go” (which uses a great sample of Menomena‘s “Wet and Rusting”), and “Nightmare On Figg St.” The crowd was bouncing and suddenly Kendrick Lamar came out, and the roof blew off. Kendrick is at the center of the rap world right now due to the just released, instant classic good kid, m.A.A.d city. The record is going to be on everyone’s “best of” list and is (in this Owl’s opinion), the best West Coast rap record since Chronic 2001. He was wearing all Giants gear, and the crowd lost its collective mind when he did “Backseat Freestyle.” It was the highlight of the night, and threatened to completely overshadow the headliner. But Rocky had surprises of his own.
My biggest concern leading up to the set was that the A$AP crew would get into a shouting match over their songs, and unfortunately for the tracks that they shared together, that’s exactly what happened. I couldn’t make out a lyric, just a general sense of aggression. Rocky’s one of the coolest to hit the genre in some time, with his mixture of New York class and Houston soul, his voice is one of his strongest assets. It’s deep and deliberate, but nimble. He changed his laid back flow and decided to up the energy and shout his tracks. For songs like “Purple Swag” and “Peso” it didn’t sound great as those songs are strongest in a more mellow setting, but School Boy Q came back out and the high energy tracks “Brand New Guys” and “Hands on the Wheel” sounded awesome and had the place jumping. A$AP’s debut Long Live A$AP is due out soon, and one of the tracks leaked last week called “Fuckin Problem” featuring Drake 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar. The beat came on and Rocky started the song doing Kendrick’s verse, and then stopped it, and called Lamar out. A few seconds later Lamar jumped back on stage to oblige. It created a cool collaborative feeling, and the crowd got to see the song played live for the first time. The A$AP Mob came back out and did a few more tracks, and Rocky commented “Ya’ll look a little stiff” to the audience. His remedy: Too Short and E-40. The Bay Area legends happily did some of their trademark tracks “Function” (E-40), and “Blow the Whistle” (Too Short) while Rocky and friends played the hype man. The crowd got the opposite of stiff and people were climbing the walls. For what Rocky lacked in vocal excellence, he more than made up in showmanship. It was his show, and as the crowd filled out, there was a vibe of leaving a really fun party.
Check out all the awesome pics HERE.