Last night, Lupe Fiasco’s “Tour for the Fans” finally made it’s way to NYC. I had been looking forward to this concert all week, so now that the day had finally come—I had no problem waiting 45 minutes in front of NYC’s infamous venue, B.B. Kings. While waiting, I met a few fans and we shared our hopes for the night. “I hope he does The Coolest,” I said while another fan questioned “What if he only does newer shit tonight?” Though we were all in agreement that Mural was one of our newer favorites, the thought that Lupe would only do songs from Food & Liquor 2 and Tetsuo & Youth had us shook. We even went as far as looking up a Reddit setlist from a previous show to get an idea of what the night had in store- yeah Lupe Fiasco fans don’t play. As we went back and forth throwing out ideas of what may or may not happen, the line finally began to move. It was almost show time.
As the venue began to fill in, the crowd was warmed up with three opening acts— Z-Verse, Billy Blue, and The Boy Illinois. Chicago rapper, Z-Verse hit the stage first while Billy Blue followed up 20 minutes later. The Miami representative performed a few of his southern roots inspired tracks before Lupe joined him on stage for “Fundamentals”. Shortly after, The Boy Illinois hit the stage decked out in a blue african print suit.
Though the opening acts were dope and each had their own unique sound, by 10P.M. it was clear that we were all ready for Lupe. Chants of the lyricist’s name filled B.B. Kings as we anticipated his arrival to the stage. We asked and Lupe delivered. With Double-O of Kidz in the Hall as DJ, Lupe Fiasco hit the stage performed what he called a “small introduction to Tetsuo & Youth“. As he performed each track, the crowd spit his lyrics right back at him. It was a beautiful sight to see Lupe and his fans go bar for bar, which was something I hadn’t been apart of since his set at The Glow in the Dark tour.
Around 11 P.M. I started to panic, Lupe still hadn’t performed any of his older hits. But almost as if he were reading my mind, the rapper reassured me and the rest of the crowd that the show was far from over. Before a brief intermission, Lupe broke down some rules for the show—one of them being no phones. He told us to enjoy the concert in the moment; not through the phone and he was right. There have been so many times where I had to recap what actually happened at a concert through my Snapchat story because I was too busy trying to show my friends that I was actually there instead of just enjoying myself. As I put my phone in my pocket, Double-O ran through some deep cut Lupe tracks including my personal favorite “And He Gets The Girl”.
Before I knew it, the beat to “The Coolest” was playing and the crowd got hype. Lupe ran out on the stage and performed the hit. Once again, we were rapping along with him as if we’d been waiting on this moment for all of our lives. I didn’t feel like I was at a concert, I almost felt as if I was home. We spent back and forth rapping the lyrics to “Paris, Tokyo”, “Gold Watch”, “The Show Goes On”, “Kick Push” of course, and so much more.
The way Lupe interacted with the crowd was as if he were talking to friends and family not fans. He joked with us and even pulled a few playful jabs at our expense. The crowd was living for every moment as a mini mosh pit and crowd surfing happened as Lupe performed “Next to It”. Lupe even chose someone in the crowd to rap “Dumb it Down” with him on stage and he killed it! He even asked for people’s favorite Lupe song and performed it on the spot! How many rappers do you know do that?
The “Tour for the Fans” took me right back to my high school days. It reminded me of the times I would walk through the hallways mumbling the lyrics to “Hurt Me Soul”. It reminded me of how I would blast “Kick Push” on my iPod every time I laced up my SB Dunks. Most importantly, it reminded me why Lupe was in my top 5 favorite rappers and even why I thought about hip-hop journalism in the first place— for moments like this.
Lupe Fiasco’s “Tour for the Fans” is still on the road. Checkout the rest of the tour dates below:
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