By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
Chamillionaire, Grammy-winning rap recluse, is in the backroom at Warehouse Live eating time before Kendrick's first show. He is talking to Devi Dev, an MTV personality and former 97.9 radio DJ, about being an introvert in what is likely the loudest, most extroverted way anyone has ever discussed being an introvert.
"I don't like Twitter, because it creates an open dialogue with people I wouldn't normally have an open dialogue," he says to them but also kind of to everyone else. "And what's really crazy to think about — just think about this: If you're on Twitter all the time tweeting about what you're doing, then tweeting becomes what you're doing." There are 13 other people in the room. At least of three of them are in the middle of tending to their own Twitter feed (presumably quoting Chamillionaire in hope that he'll retweet them to his nearly 1 million followers). Also milling around backstage are rappers Trae Tha Truth and Bun B.
It is only 9 p.m., but out front, the showroom at Warehouse Live is all the way full. DJ Mr. Rogers entertains the crowd before Kendrick comes on. Guttfreund is speed-walking through various parts of the venue, stopping to touch hands with what appears to be every fourth person.
Right around 9:30, Kendrick's DJ sets up. The crowd's energy picks up. Shortly thereafter, Kendrick wanders out onstage and everyone loses their goddamn minds. For an hour, Kendrick performs. He is a king. When he hits the most undeniable moment of his hit "Backseat Freestyle" (when, in the opening moments of the sing, he shouts, "Martin had a dream"), it feels as though Earth knows nothing else except that line; all of everything rumbles as the room shouts it back at him. The only time Kendrick breaks character is to chastise two girls who are henpecking at each other. "If you're gonna fight, then fight," he semi-jokes. "Otherwise, chill out and let these people enjoy the show." For the duration of his performance, he owns the crowd.
After his set is over, Kendrick slides offstage and into the back section, reciprocating high-fives and hugs. Someone hands him a bottle of water and reminds him he has to do the entire thing again at the House Of Blues in 60 minutes.
"Okay, look...okay, fine."
Guttfreund is worked up. He's been moving around and talking to people for the last few hours, and this is, for sure, the most excited he's appeared. He is standing up, his hands moving with the cadence of his words. His mouth, turned up but also sort of pulled down at the corners, and his eyes, bright and busy, are relaying a half-amused, half-incredulous hybrid mood. And it's all because of a jacket.
"You wanna know what happened with Tyga? It's the most ridiculous thing. This is crazy. You're gonna laugh. I'll tell you."
On April 12, 2012, Tyga, a nebbish rapper whose brilliant mega-single "Rack City" had earned him a hearty amount of buzz (and, eventually, a double platinum plaque), had a show scheduled at Warehouse Live here in Houston. ScoreMore had put the pieces together, which is just a different way of saying that the venue was proper stuffed; a heaving, energized, throbbing swarm of late teens and early-twenty-year-olds stood shoulder to shoulder waiting for him. And waiting for him. And waiting for him.
Tyga had already missed a scheduled meet-and-greet earlier in the day and had postponed his flight to Houston from San Antonio until slightly past the last possible moments.
Guttfreund's words are packed together tightly as he remembers the night, but they're not uncoordinated. They're not slow, but they're not at their peak, either: They're a bushel of 5,000-meter-race runners on their third lap.
When Tyga arrived at the venue (a couple of hours past his scheduled performance time), he was told he needed to hustle up, that the openers had long since performed and the DJ grown stale. But Tyga pushed back.
"Apparently, his jacket is super important to him. He wouldn't go on without it. Like, he just wouldn't. You know where his jacket was? On his tour bus."
His tour bus was en route from San Antonio, where Tyga'd no-showed a performance.
"I was like...," Guttfreund says, turning his palms up and pushing his eyebrows toward his hairline. "So we waited. The bus finally got there so he got his jacket. He put it on. Then he went out there, and he wore it for one song. One song," he reiterates, holding up an index finger for extra clarity. "He took it off right after that. It was unbelievable."
He smiles and shakes his head.
Within the ScoreMore camp, the Tyga/jacket story has become legend.
Concert promoters have all sorts of similar tales: the no-shows, the strange requests, the prima donnas, etc. That's how ScoreMore is the same as all the rest. But only the successful ones seem to share foresight, and that's how ScoreMore is the same as the elite.
L.A.'s Adam Weiss, for example, was able to turn his company, Ham On Everything, into his full-time job after he combined the appeal of warehouse parties, which traditionally soundtracked themselves with house or other EDM, with hip-hop music. "Nobody else was doing that. I kind of just copied what I saw the hipsters doing, I just used hip-hop. People seem to like it."