Gig Review by Chadwick Jackson with Photography by Andy Watson

Wiz Khalifa

When the penny drops it’s an extraordinary feeling, very few pick it back up. Personally, I do.

Wiz Khalifa

Here I was at a Wiz Khalifa + A$AP Rocky concert on a cold October evening at the newly rebranded Genting Arena. The venue is a 14,000 capacity venue but unfortunately only 3,000 was in attendance but you would not be able to tell by the energy in the room.

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa graced the stage first looking like what he had spent most of the night rapping about – smoking weed. Decked out from head to toe in all white, with his slender frame the actually from a distance look like a tightly rolled joint the way how his clothes was hugging to his skin, a kin to that iconic scene from Scary Movie 2, where the Marijuana plant gets revenge by smoking Shorty, Wiz Khalifia is the living embodiment of the character, only thing with the support of his infamous Taylor Gang.

Wiz Khalifa

You would be forgiven to think we were in a Dutch state with the very honest and liberal endorsement Wiz was giving weed all night. At one point he stops rapping and says “If you smoke weed put your hand in the air” I can confirm that every hand went up in the air. The crowd were enfettered to him he could do no wrong throughout his whole set, the way he kept endorsing weed smoking you would think that he gets paid to smoke weed, guys I am not making this up, he does. Performing a mixture of hits from his five studio albums, of which I only recognised three songs as I would be lying if I said I was one of his biggest fans, but his legions of stoners were there with him. After an energetic 90 min set, he signed with his collaboration with George Puth, from that soundtrack they made for that lucrative car franchise not the one with the three racist middle age men, that the BBC just had enough of, it’s the Fast & the Furious 7. It went straight to number one and lived there comfortably as the song does on people’s heart.

Wiz Khalifa

It is an excellent song that really resonates, it is one of those songs that many can relate to for the touching lyrics about loosing someone, which we have all experienced. Mr Puth was not there on the night but all the stoners took on his roll and brought an end to a very entertaining set.

Wiz Khalifa

As we were finished with Wiz the Stoner, we were ushered on to the Rocky; ASAP Rocky. This was the most unorthodox introduction I have ever seen in all my time reviewing gigs, there was what I could only describe as massive white sheet. Much to the bemusement of the near all white crowd, it was then my attention turned to the audience, because much to the playful nature of an ASAP set, the crowd became part of the spectacle, and suddenly the music started and this rapping silhouette appear on sheet, it was mesmerising, any pretentious fine art student in the crowd would have lost their marbles by this point.

A$AP Rocky

I was still wondering the fudge was going on. Much to the opposite of the previous set this felt much more calculated and designed to lure out a deep emotional impact from the crowd. ASAP has a very potty mouth and made his feeling very clear within five minutes’ of being on stage, “I CAME ALL THE WAY FROM LA & THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE FOR ME BIRMINGHAM, THE ENERGY LEVEL IS AT 6 I WANT 10” His request was duly met as if it was on his rider, he commanded the full energy of the crowd. Then without warning the curtain dropped and him and ASAP MOB bombarded the stage in a similar manner, to how NWA was ripping up crowds in Straight Outta Compton, they were tight and just like in the film, their middle class audience were so far removed from some of the trials and tribulations of the Nubian American experience they were signing about, but saying that, it did not stop them dancing singing an screaming at whatever they were doing.

A$AP RockyA$AP Rocky

It is one thing that has always bewildered me about Rap music and Rappers, is that they made poverty look good that rich kids want to buy into it, and I do not blame them sell it to the highest bidder. What really had me at a loss about both sets was the flagrant use of the word “Nigga” and trust me the crowd at times were not missing out a word when they were singing back to both performers.

You would think both performers would have some decorum with the blatant and at times unforgiving slaying of Nubian people in America but, I slept off my thoughts and realise this was just me projecting my self righteous moral standards on other people. I do not know them I only know their music and Rap music is very biographical unless you have a Ghost-writer *coughs*. Listening to their lyrics closely as oppose to hearing them like most of the passive audience that was having the time of their lives, the apparent -Land of Hope and Dreams- did not give them the best start in life, and just like the NWA biopic, these are young Nubian males making the most of the opportunity before them. Their clearly overwhelming influence over the crowd could be seen when ASAP Rocky, demanded a Mosh Pitch, it was the biggest most pit I have ever seen, I really wish I had come armed with my camera, but not only did he request it, he also requested that the crowd started moshing, on the chorus, and without missing a beat the whole standing section of the crowd 100% obliged.  It was dreamlike. Imagine if they had a more powerful message that could really shift the consciousness of a generation I was thinking, and as if like magic, my thoughts walked straight out of my head, like they were from Compton and ASAP Rocky in another one of his charming yet vulgar public service announcements stated that he only makes music for the next generations; “I MAKE MUSIC FOR THEM MOTHER F£$KERS THAT ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD, THEM KIDS WHO BE ON INSTAGRAM MAKING BETTER GRAPHICS THAN YOU SEE ON THE TV”. It was at this point I was severely confused by the warped nature of the messages he was conveying. I guess with age comes wisdom, and in time he will realise, I recently saw this extraordinary video of 50 Cent in Somalia for the UN on a aid mission and he was too embarrassed to sing back his lyrics to some young children who had requested one of his numerous hits.  He declined due to explicit nature of his music. Rappers have this uncanny nature to realise, but they realise when it’s too late, they have a lot of power, but I guess it’s hard to notice when your thoughts and ideas when you are on someone else payroll. The labels.

A$AP Rocky

I will just have to see it for what it is -Art- and just as “Tracey Emin’s The Unmade Bed”, put her in a vulnerable enough position to share her past for a better future, it could be argued that these guys are doing the same. I am going to opt of the intellectual art critique cop out; it’s all subjective! When this tour rocks up to a city near you go and experience the spectacle and decided for yourself.

Leave a Reply