It was an uncharacteristically quiet night at the Varsity Theater Friday night. I know that sounds somewhat like an oxymoron, a concert venue and quiet are not usually a pair. After the whole fiasco that was parking in Dinky on a Friday evening it was clear that while its part of the city was overflowing tonight, the Varsity was not. The downright tiny gathering of fans to the front of the stage had my mind spinning, after all Big K.R.I.T. was in town, where was everyone else?
It’s common practice for concert goers to trickle in as the headliner gets closer and closer to going on. While this did happen last night, I can’t help but feel like I’ve ever been to a show we’re there was so much space between the people on the floor. It was a bit distressing as a huge K.R.I.T. fan and brought up a lot or thoughts about hip hop as a whole. The landscape of the genre changes rapidly and I began to wonder if that was the reasoning for the low turn out. Was someone else in town, pulling potential concert goers and their attention elsewhere? While I’m sure there were other concerts going on last night, I’m also pretty sure there wasn’t too much else hip hop going on unless it flew completely 100% under my radar. That’s just one kid from the suburbs take on the whole situation, but I digress.
Now don’t misunderstand my words. People were there and people did have fun, I had an absolute blast, but the turn out was not what I had expected. Domani Harris was first to perform and his brief yet enjoyable set had quite an intimate vibe. The small crowd allowed Domani to pretty much interact one on one with those in the crowd, it felt personal, it felt real. The first on stage, Domani set a precedent for the evening that would ring true as each of the next two acts hit the stage and that precedent was passion. He was a passionate and capable emcee who was using his time to speak his truths and share his ideas with those who came to watch him perform. His conviction in his words was unmistakable as he got more comfortable on stage. At times it felt like he was preaching rather than entertaining and the crowd there responded really well to his efforts.
Rapsody is an emcee of the purest form. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her stage presence was powerful. Her set ended with her addressing the men in the crowd. The song, based on ‘Keep ya Head Up’ by Tupac sampled and interpolated the following lines from the first verse:
“And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it’s time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women”
A song like this was never blunt and nether was Rapsody. Her set was pointed and she had a group of ideas and thoughts that she wanted to share and in that she was a success. During set change she spent the time in the pit speaking one on one with those who she had engaged from on the stage. While I wasn’t close enough to hear the exchanges I’m sure it was part hellos and thank yous and partly a little affirmation that the things she spoke had not gone unlistened to. One more thing I’d like to point out is that this tour was amazing at sticking to the schedule it had set out. Often times at hip hop shows artists can treat set times as light suggestions, but this one operated as a well oiled machine.