Last night, the Beaumont Club in Westport saw three of the hottest names to fall out of the current rap music stratosphere over recent months. That’s a good thing too, because all of these recently-booked, loved-but-forgotten rappers who’ve already seen their careers peak before hitting KC for the first time were kind of getting on my nerves. But in the case of the “Long Live A$AP” tour, there were four acts on the bill, all of whom I’d like to think haven’t even hit their stride yet. Just before the show started, you could literally hear crickets on the smoking patio, while a throng of fresh-faced kids eagerly awaited the first act as if they’d never been to a rap concert before (which was probably true in some cases). And there may as well have been crickets at the bar too, at least for the first hour or so. No one was really drinking, another indication that there were a lot of minors.
Danny Brown (Fool’s Gold Records) performed first and wasted little time in ripping through numbers off XXX, installations of the Detroit State of Mind series and more, while the unforgiving sound and unapologetic rhymes probably turned a lot of people on to his music who went into the show curious (or who just wanted to see A$AP Rocky). Brown went on at about 8:00 pm, much to the unpleasant surprise of a lot of people who showed up late asking frantic questions about set times. About 10 minutes into his set (8:10 pm) I found myself near the back of the crowd with my head buried in my phone while taking notes, looked back up to the stage at one point and was blinded by a small sea of hands waving from side to side. At another point during his performance, the DJ cut the instrumental out, the crowd began clapping in unison and Brown completed his verse acapella.
Danny Brown showed himself to be the best pure lyricist on stage last night, most likely. His unmistakable voice resonated with myself personally, though the sound was a bit low for his set it seemed. Garnering big magazine covers and critical acclaim from everyone with a word processor since 2010 all while apparently not giving a flying fuck whether anyone really likes him or what he has to say is a feat. Even if his music still doesn’t strike much of a chord with me, I imagine that his own set last night will stick with me as one of the better exhibitions of hip hop power that KC has seen this year.
Up next was Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope’s own, Schoolboy Q (LA), whose most recent project from earlier this year, Habits & Contradictions, stood out for it’s West Coast hustler music themes and smoky beats. His hotly-anticipated group, Black Hippy, alongside Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, is shaping up to be really good, as are most things associated with Kendrick Lamar. Whereas Danny Brown’s show did not disappoint, Schoolboy didn’t do much to make his performance resemble his official studio releases as well as I was hoping. But having dropped what was probably the hardest verse on A$AP Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP album, I’ll remain eager to hear more of Schoolboy Q’s music.
Shortly after, A$AP Rocky and crew ran out on stage in ski masks and proceeded to rock for what seemed like over an hour, perhaps 90 minutes, waving an upside-down American flag for most of their performance. I’ve been feeling A$AP’s music since his LiveLoveA$AP album came out about this time last year. His beat selection is incredible and his knack for knocking out highly-effective choruses along with those beats stirs up a recipe for one of the hottest names in rap music right now. His verses aren’t anything earth-shattering, necessarily. But it’s effective rap music, more than banging and catchy enough for teens to get into. While his style of music has a decidedly Southern influence, it probably came as a shock for many to find out that he actually reps New York.
The crowd at Beaumont got more than their recommended fix of Harlem crunk last night. Rocky did a lot of new material, some of which most likely appeared on the A$AP Mob’s recent Lords Never Worry. For “Coke & White Bitches”, Danny Brown came back to the stage and did his own featured verse on the track, reminding everyone how good his first set was and inciting shrieks from people who got there late. A$AP’s showing, while very energetic, kind of dragged on.
For Kansas City, last night’s concert was a great example of what’s hot in the greater rap/hip hop scene from coast to coast. It’s exactly what Kansas City needed, in the middle of a time where the bigger names in rap are either flying over us, driving through us, or merely stopping at the Granada in Lawrence, KS. From what I could tell, Kansas City supported this show very well for a school night.