With a trip down to Iowa for the holidays in my future, I was willing to take any show I could get. I know that by the end of the weekend I will be going insane from too much family time and far too much food. Just the thought of my upcoming trip has me stressed out. I have so much work to do, my apartment is a mess and I miss my friends that headed home early. The second I walked into The Myth on Thursday, that all fell by the wayside.
I was greeted by the sound of some unfamiliar local rap and was instantly transported to my happy place. I absolutely love hearing new music and it being local was just the icing on the cake. On stage first was a plethora of people taking turns at the microphone. With two banners on either side of the stage that said “T. Woods”, I think it’s safe to assume that one of these guys goes by the name of T. Woods but, honestly, who cares. I was loving it. Although the sound was a bit more harsh than the Minnesota hip-hop and rap scene that I’ve become familiar with, there was still a sense of wholesome talent that radiated off of the stage.
Following T. Woods and crew’s set was Kid Automatic and Heavy Knee. Much like the first act, I had never heard of Kid Automatic or his buddy Heavy Knee prior to last night’s show but I am walking away with a love for both of them. Kid Automatic definitely knew what he was doing as he spit into the microphone with a sense of fury throughout the quick set. With only a couple of songs on deck, the duo seemed to know exactly what to play to get the nearly sold out crowd going. I loved the way that Heavy Knee commanded a few songs while others were left with Kid Automatic as the spotlight. Switching between the two styles of the two men kept the set feeling fresh.
The Nofuckaround Gang was next and, if you ask me, they completely stole the show. First off, let’s just talk about their name. I mean, what is there not to love about that. They call themselves the Nofuckaround Gang and there was absolutely no fucking around on that stage. I watched in awe as the “gang” took turns at the microphone each with their own style. Although the group seems to be led by veteran emcee Bobby Hatfield, everyone in the massive group had a chance to shine behind the microphone. These guys were also the first and only group of the night to use live instruments. The use of these live instruments gave the music and show a whole new element that no one else brought to the stage.
As the Nofuckaround Gang was swiftly shoved off of the stage, you could feel the crowd’s anticipation as DJ Tiiiiiiiip and host Buddy Vega teased the audience with phrases like “TI an Nelly just entered the building!” Although just hearing those words didn’t quite get me excited, it was hard not to get wrapped up in the excitement going on around me. After a quick delay, the lights went down and TI (with giant security dudes in tow of course) took the stage. The crowd went absolutely wild as TI wasted no time jumping into his set.
Although I only really recognized one song of his, “Whatever You Like”, the entire crowd seemed to be singing along to every word of every song. I watched in amazement as this rap show crowd quickly turned into a crowd that could be mistaken for that of a metal show. Even though majority of the crowd seemed to have dressed to the nines for this event, people were walking by me looking like nothing more than a sweaty mess. With temperatures hovering around “freezing” outside, it was hot as hell inside adding yet another element to the experience that was last night’s show. TI teased the crowd as he tore off layers throughout the set and was left with no shirt by the time the last song started.
I may have been much more of a Nelly fan growing up rather than TI but I cannot lie to you, I was impressed and just may start listening to a bit more TI every now and then. He rapped with a sense of fury and power that was impossible to ignore. Although he didn’t address the crowd too many times, when he did, it was clear that it came from the heart. He explained to the packed house that if he can get to where he is from where he came from, you can do freaking anything. Just get off your butt and do it. Sure, a little cliché but it’s always a bit heartwarming to hear a superstar help you realize that anything is possible.
Closing out the night was the reason I had braved the cold to come out and postponed my trip back home- Nelly. Yeah, we can all joke around about the band-aid phase or whatever you want but, when you take it all away, you are left with an extremely talented man who knows how to command a crowd with not much more than his voice. Hailing from St. Louis, Nelly has been a staple in the worldwide rap scene since his 2000 release “Country Grammar”. Back in 2000 I was deep into my rap phase and “Country Grammar” came out at just the right time to have me listening to it on repeat on memorizing nearly every word. Sure, I haven’t given that album a good play through in years but that didn’t stop me from singing along to nearly every word of those old songs last night.
Nelly’s extensive set was full of songs from all over his impressive seven album career. The crowd went wild as he and his posse performed banger after banger. Even with recent legal woes regarding a rape charge that was dropped earlier this month, fans of Nelly have never left his side and you could feel his appreciation for that. His latest album “M.O.” may have been released back in 2013 but honestly, when standing in the crowd, it felt like this 43 year old was a new face on the scene what with how the people around me were reacting to his every move. It was quite refreshing and, when it was all said and done, I left the venue with a smile on my face.
Okay, you caught me, I’ve seen Nelly twice this year. Go ahead and laugh but I know on the inside you’re a bit jealous. Don’t put yourself in a musical box. If you hear something catchy or something that makes you tap your toe, don’t stop yourself from listening to it because you feel you have this label over your head.