“I didn’t come here to perform, I came to party,” the soft-voiced emcee told the audience, many of whom were wearing T-shirts with his face plastered on the front. An enthusiastic crowd at Birmingham’s 02 Academy regaled the boy from Harlem with praise and admiration. To open the night A$AP Rocky emerged from behind a set of curtains in the midst of commotion and packs of screaming girls, but he wasn’t the first act.
Joey Fatts and Aston Matthews opened, managing to capture everyone’s attention with their crowd surfing and energetic stage performances. The sweat cascades on their foreheads were very visible: you could tell how much effort they were putting in.
After their sets and a long intermission, A$AP Rocky, adorned in a black jacket and one of his many trademark caps, appeared, beginning a performance that would last nearly an hour. There are only a handful of new rappers that truly know how to rock a show, and he effortlessly fits into that group, embracing and charming fans with his sparkling gold smile and boyish charisma. Almost immediately, he demands for the lights to be changed to purple before continuing to run through his ouevre, from his breakthrough songs from debut album Long. Live. ASAP to the hype-building tracks from his earlier efforts. Backwards baseball caps, body piercing and tattoos could be seen all around. Most of the males in the crowd evidently admire his style.
From there on out, Rocky relentlessly elevated the crowd throughout his set with his uncensored hits “Wild For The Night”, “Fuckin’ Problems”, “Goldie”, and the hugely popular “Purple Swag.” With a little help from his hype man, A$AP Ferg, they bounced around the stage, shouting expletives, and trading fist pumps with adoring fans. And as if it wasn’t already evident, A$AP Rocky reminds us mid-way through the show: “It’s all about crowd surfing and bitches showing their titties.” Immediately almost everyone began hurling themselves into mosh pits, making it very clear that the remainder of the show would probably be filled with exuberant bouncing. The best moments were watching fans attempting to desperately touch the rapper’s unclothed body every time he left the stage.
A$AP Rocky is an aficionado of money, girls, swag, lots of weed, and usually other things that parents would rather not know about. That’s one of the many things you will learn from seeing him up close. He is a rare breed: an influential powerhouse with credibility in the streets and in the fashion sphere. Although his speedy ascent to stardom is still in the making, he remains one of rap’s most unique personas. Everything about A$AP Rocky was refreshing, from his messages of unity, to his witty and artistic use of wordplay. He really was able to spin the night into something exceptional, shedding back some of the more monotonous layers of hip-hop and showing us some things we’ve forgotten. Like how to have fun.
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