Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Stalley at the Fillmore Miami Beach, September 27

Kendrick Lamar

With Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Stalley, Fly Union, and others

Fillmore Miami Beach

September 27, 2012

Better Than: Sitting at home reading other people's Tweets

about BET's Music Matters Tour with Black Hippy boss Kendrick Lamar.

We arrived at the Fillmore Miami Beach about 30 minutes after the advertised start-time

to find an incredibly punctual mass of sweaty and buzzed young adults.

A duo called Fly Union was warming up the ready-to-rage crowd.

See also:

-Kendrick Lamar's Recipe: Black Hippy, Lady Gaga, "Pussy and Patron"

-Stalley on Sharing Beard Picks with Rick Ross, Beating 2 Chainz in One-on-One

One MC sounded like Jay-Z, the other Eminem, and the production

occupied that curious crossover between Cash Money belligerence and

neo-classical "old-school" Blackstar-style backpack rap.

Despite the openers' relative anonymity, especially compared to the rest of the

acts on the tour, the party's revelers clearly asserted early in the

night that it gave not a fuck about Thursdays or if they even knew who

they were watching: These kids came to rage.

Fly Union jumping 'round.
Fly Union jumping 'round.
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

In between acts, the majority of the crowd would remain parked in

front of the stage, puffin' Swishers and chuggin' $11 plastic sippy

cups of Rum Punch, while the host cracked rap jokes and demanded

people follow him and his DJ on Twitter.

In fact, every single person

that held a microphone last night not only plugged their digital

avatars - a reasonable, contemporary means of promotion - but sternly

demanded that the audience whip out their Everything Boxes and

methodically subscribe to every last Tumblr or drip-drip-drop

of Facebook diarrhea.

Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Stalley at the Fillmore Miami Beach, September 27
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

Suddenly, the lights started flickering, gunshots blasted and a siren

whined. The lady who says "Maybach Music" came over the speakers and

everyone on stage started freaking out like Rick Ross was about to

show up. But it was Stalley.

Following two rappers with a highly

similar style (the aforementioned non-Swag gangsta-pack fusion),

Stalley's performance came off redundant and bare. The Bawse's protégé

knows how to lay it down in the studio. But last night, we weren't

quite convinced that the MC had separated himself from the mob when it

comes to his live performance.

Stalley: Maybach Music Group's second-best beard.
Stalley: Maybach Music Group's second-best beard.
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

Jay Rock was just as monotonous as Stalley. But Ab-Soul provided the evening's biggest deviation from form and one of the night's most engaging sets, looking like Snoop when he still went by Dogg, sippin' "Gin and Juice" with Kendrick Lamar's Grand Poobah sensei: Dr. Dre.


Ab-Soul, AKA Herbert Anthony Stevens IV.
Ab-Soul, AKA Herbert Anthony Stevens IV.
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

Soul's style - which resonates with his tourmates as a fusion of pop-rap stupidity

and that neo-classical "old-school" production - managed to go beyond the

evening's default stylistics. We felt that most of the night suffered

from the monochromatic blandness of The Rapper Shout. But Ab-Soul

shook up his intonation with a grace that recalled (in form rather

than specific style) the golden age of Weezy.

He even snuck a little Swag in the mix via a smattering

of bangers that fell somewhere between the Internet-y New Age

production of select Lil' B and the bass-heavy, screwed-up Southern

Rap-obsessed style of A$AP Rocky.

Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Stalley at the Fillmore Miami Beach, September 27
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

The bass worship didn't stop there. From the moment Kendrick Lamar

took the stage, the Fillmore's sound system was exploiting the

powerful low-end capabilities available in the Age of Dubstep. While

the pounding sent a shock up (down?) our happy trail, the mix

maintained crystal clarity, unlike some other amateurishly thunderous

rap concerts we've seen at The Fillmore.

However, unlike other hip-hop shows we've reviewed, the audience

seemed to indulge a reverence for Lamar that's usually reserved for

Tweeny-bopper heartthrobs and heads of state. Women screamed. Men

stood at attention and chanted "Kendrick! Kendrick!"

Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Stalley at the Fillmore Miami Beach, September 27
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez

And while extreme and ridiculous, the adulation was not entirely

undeserved. Ripping through hit after hit, the MC appeared to

push his level of performance like an athlete on the field or a

soldier at war. He frequently burst into scat-style improvisation and

reworking of lyrics. And, yes, he demanded everybody add him on


Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Scandalously dressed underage girls, scandalously

dressed women, hipster-hoppers, regular rap dudes, concert norms,

Ladies Night!!!!!!!!, bros, bros inexplicably dressed to the nines in

Ultra gear, blunt smoking machines, and a trick giving a lap dance

while texting.

Overheard In The Crowd: Every other line of every song every

time the DJ cut the music for the part where the audience is supposed

to sing along. These party animals knew their shit.

From The Stage: "Make some noise if you fucked up! Now raise yo

hand if you sober. OK, now boo them niggas for being sober!!"

Best Snack Deal at The Fillmore: $4 soft baked cookies. Still

extravagant, but more proportionally priced than a $6 hot dog.

Personal Bias: It's true, we do have Maybach Music on our iTunes.

Random Detail: We hope marijuana stays illegal forever because

the second Obama gives grass the thumbs up, we know LiveNation is

going to be selling Mids at Chronic prices.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Use Current Location

Related Location

The Fillmore Miami Beach

1700 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139


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