Under The Influence in Toronto [Review]
Toronto, ON – The Under the Influence Tour hit Toronto on August 10th. Lord knows I’m anti-drug use and rarely drink, but the list of artists was so good I had to go. The show included sets from Berner, Joey Bada$$ and the Pro-Era squad, Trinidad James, B.o.B, A$AP Rocky and the rest of A$AP Mob and of course, it wouldn’t be complete without, Wiz Khalifa.
I got there late into Joey Bada$$’ set (But, really who starts a hip-hop show at 5PM?). I watched as Bada$$ and a couple others from Pro-Era sauntered around the stage. Statik Selektah could be seen behind them on the one’s and two’s. Joey asked the crowd, “Are there real hip-hop fans in the building?” The reception wasn’t that loud, but that was probably because the Amphitheatre was barely half-full. I looked around and did see several die-hard Pro-Era fans out of their seats, vibing out, reciting word for word.
They ended their set with a track dedicated to the late Capital Steez; “Two fingers in the air for Capital Steez,” they said. And just like that the entire Pro-Era squad appeared on stage, jumping around, and throwing liquid on the crowd in front. They were explosive, feeding off each other’s energy. They showed their appreciation to the Toronto crowd; “Era fucking with Toronto.” They slowly walked off stage, throwing peace signs up as they left.
Continue reading the rest after the jump.
Trinidad James was up next. It was his first time performing in Toronto, so I expected something good and ratchet. And that is what I got. He came on stage looking like a Harlem Globe trotter that collided with a rock star; big afro with a red bandana, a blue Ehliens shirt, long cute off jean shorts and neon orange and blue Nike’s accompanied with an excessive amount of gold jewelry. Before the first song, he got the crowd to repeat three words over and over: “Dream, believe turn-up.” His set was entertaining and fun. For the first time performing in Toronto, he definitely left a good impression. The interesting thing about Trinidad James is that, he hasn’t been rapping for that long (about 2 years) and during his set he stopped to explain why it’s really not all that difficult to become a rapper. He said “The easiest shit about being a rapper is the hook, and the beat,” and then he proceeded into a new track that I still don’t know the name of, but it went like this: ‘Hoes, hoes, and that money.’ Catchy, right? I thought so too.
When the beat for “U.O.E.N.O (Remix)” dropped it was turn-up time. The place went wild. After this he ran through so many songs, and they were all ratchet as hell. His hype man was running back and forth on the stage while James leisurely walked around. Everyone was having a great time, and James just kept insisting that we “Turn up harder.” But, we were all waiting for that one song, the one that even your Mother sings along too. Yep, “All Gold Everything.” And of course, he saved the best for last. The whole place was on their feet. The simultaneous ‘woo’ sounded so good live. He addressed the crowd one last time with his slogan: “Dream, believe, turn-up.” Drake’s “Versace” played through the speakers as James’ exited the stage.
B.o.B was next on deck, and at this point, the place was full. He did every song you’d expect him to do, including: “Strange Clouds,” “Haterz Everywhere,” “Raybands,” “Nothin’ On You,” “Airplanes, “Outta My Mind,” and “Still In This Bitch.” I’ve only seen him perform once before a few years ago when he opened for Rihanna. I always thought he was full of energy, but I’ll admit, his set fell short for me. He wasn’t very animated, and mostly just stood in the middle of the stage. A couple of times he joined in with the dancers. The best part was when he ran into the 200 level section for a few minutes, crowd surfed and lit up a spliff. Before he left the stage he ended with this sentiment: “Don’t drink and drive, smoke and fly.”
The first of the two headliners, A$AP Rocky, was due next. After about 30 minutes, thunder clashes and water droplets were heard through the speakers, the intro to “Long.Live.A$AP” played loud and we all knew what time it was. With the first line of the song, “I thought I’d probably die in prison…” Rocky exploded on stage, flying from one side to the other. The deep bass line stirred up the crowd while Rocky jumped all over the place. When the song finished, he just stood there, with the biggest grin on his face and the crowd roared to praise him. “A$AP, A$AP, A$AP,” screamed Rocky. He continued on, talking about how excited he was to come to Toronto and that he had been waiting for the entire tour to perform here. The number 1 appeared on the screens for “1Train,” probably the most talked about track in 2012. For this one Pro-Era and A$AP Mob came on stage and went ballistic. Rocky continued on with his menacing set, performing cuts from his mixtape Live.Love.A$AP and debut album Long.Live.A$AP. He stopped to tell the story about his connection to OVO and how they were the first people to embrace him when he first came into the rap game. It was a nice sentiment to Toronto and the OVO crew.
Here’s where it got hectic. “Wild For The Night” turned up the crowd full blast; the mosh pits began and I prayed I wouldn’t get knocked over. But, once wasn’t enough, and during the second time around, all crowd-control was lost. It gets better though. The street anthem “Work” featuring A$AP Ferg made the crowd act like animals…. feral ones. The entire Mob was on stage and together they tore that shit up. Chubbs and P. Reign joined them on stage too. From there Rocky performed “Goldie,” then of course “Fuckin’ Problem,” which I thought was going to be the last song, but, how could I forget the catchiest track (in my opinion) of this year, “Shabba Ranks,” by A$AP Ferg. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t love this song? Every second of that song was pure enjoyment and overall, Rocky and the rest of A$AP Mob put on an incredible set. I was actually exhausted from afterwards.
Alright, alright, it was now time to welcome the King of being under the influence, Wiz Khalifa. Pretty sure smoking weed is like breathing to him. As his set was being set up I knew we were in for something good. Wiz is a complete rockstar and from the jump, he oozed nothing but pure amazement. From the light show, to the lasers, to the theatrics it all looked beautiful. A lot of the laser work reminded me of the Watch The Throne Tour, so you know Wiz is getting that paper! The set-list was a good mix of songs, including: “Walking On A Dream,” “Work Hard, Play Hard,” “Gang Bang,” “Old Chanel,” which he actually brought out Smoke DZA for! Big moment. He also included “Rise Above,” “Ink My Whole Body,” “Up In It.”
And then… “Remember You.” And guess who joined him on stage? The Weeknd! Even bigger moment. Like wow. I think I even saw a few girls crying (Lol). “That’s a real mothafucking boss right there,” said Wiz. “TGXO.” You’d think that was it, but no, Wiz continued on with his set and performed “Let It Go,” “Young, Wild and Free,” “The Plan” and “Show Out,” which made the crowd go nuts. Juicy J is the man! Wiz did so many songs that I lost count. He showed Toronto lots of love that night. The entire tour then joined Wiz on stage near the end, and two individuals dressed in a beer can and a spliff outfit. Rocky grabbed the smoke machine and sprayed it into the crowd.
It was all fun and a great way to end an amazing show.
Review written by Natasha Paolini for HipHopCanada
Photographs taken by Ajani Charles (@ajaniphoto) for HipHopCanada