11:04 p.m.: This is going to be a good show. Somehow, this is the first time of the universe that Trae and Z-Ro have performed as ABN, the group a lot of people were saying could've maybe been as nationally famous as the Geto Boys (the GB are, for certain, ABN's historical analogue). Maybe more impactful though: the murder of the beloved Money Clip D will automatically make everything feel just a little more substantial.
11:20: Standing in line for the show with Wife. Before we came, we watched two episodes of Locked Up and a video on Youtube of a lion fighting some alligators to get into the proper mind state. However, right now, this line is made up nearly entirely of young white kids. So confused.
11:27: Inside. Kicked in the teeth by smoke.
11:27:15: FYI, the term "smoke" in the above timestamp is used to mean real, actual smoke. Wanted to clarify that because it totally wouldn't have been that surprising if there was a guy named Smoke that was hired to just stand by the door and kick people in the teeth as they walked in. ("Hi. Welcome to the ABN show. Here you go. [teeth kick] Enjoy your evening.") I mean, I hear that's what they do at Z-Ro's house on Christmas morning right before they open presents. #AnABNChristmas
11:27:30: Ooh, how awesome is that scene? Can you imagine Trae and Z-Ro, lords of the underworld, on Christmas morning? Do they even call it "Christmas"? Probably not, right? It's probably called Fuckyoumas or something. And everything is reversed. Like, instead of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, it's How Santa Saved Christmas (And Then Was Stabbed In An Alley). Oh, man. Somebody needs to make the #AnABNChristmas cartoon special for everyone to watch on Fuckyoumas. Fuck that kid and his Red Rider BB gun, bro.
11:28: Trae and Z-Ro have already been on stage for a few minutes. Trae's doing "Screw Done Already Warned Me." There are a handful of those RIP Clip D letterman jackets walking around on stage. So crazy. You're a real bastard sometimes, world.
11:29: Hey, so of course people are going to be making "This is Houston's version of Watch the Throne" comments. Can we all flip that a bit? Let's take a variation of the adjective "throwed" from the Houston rap lexicon and plug that in. ABN = Watch the Thrown (or Watch the Throwed, whichever you prefer). Everyone got that? Cool. Someone make that t-shirt.
11:30: Oh, so here's a question: What are they going to finish with tonight? The biggest song they had together -- or, rather, the most beloved song, anyway -- is probably "No Help." That might be the odds on favorite. They both do it at their individual shows. But Trae mostly closes with "Swang" at his performances, and Z-Ro with the "Mo City Don Freestyle." Curious to see how that works itself out. Some odds:
The Concert Finishes With "No Help": 1:3 The Concert Finishes With Trae Performing "Swang": 1:5 (We're going with this one.) The Concert Finishes With Z-Ro Performing "Mo City Don Freestyle": 1:4 The Concert Finishes With Someone Getting Beaten Up Near The Bar: 1:7
11:31: "Who's the man, who's the boss, who's the nigga that paid the cost..." Warehouse Live is vibing right now. Neat.
11:34: Okay, I think everyone is on the stage except for me. It's kind of hard to focus on what's going on with all of those other dudes up there. It'd be cool if they weren't there.
11:36: There's a guy here in a Trill Gladiator jacket, and that's neat, except he's, like, maybe five and a half feet tall, less than 150 pounds. Do they have a Trill Gladiator: Tots division?
11:38: "Miss My Dawg." Real quick: Mostly, people like to say that Trae and Z-Ro are the same person. And, superficially, that might be true. Both have been hardened by a less-than-easy existence, both managed to traverse rap's hypercomplicated labyrinth to regional stardom, both are terrifying black guys, etc. But there are some fundamental differences between the two (it's a large part of the reason they were so devastating together) and they're captured almost entirely in this song (Trae, a social creature, dealing with trauma: "I love to roam the streets, it gives me what I need"; Z-Ro, a solitary creature, dealing with trauma: "I love to smoke the week, it gives me what I need"), and fuck if that isn't just endlessly entertaining.
11:40: Watch the Thrown should perform together more often (since we're all requesting things: it'd be swell if they did with the instrumental versions of all of these songs). They're completely natural around one another. Really, it's a little surprising. It's like seeing a grizzly bear and a great white shark coexisting in the same space.
11:41: Ew. There's a woman standing a few feet away with a shirt that exposes the bottom half of her torso. It'd probably be a lot more attractive if he large, large stomach didn't look like how an old, weathered killer whale's skin looks. Also: her belly button is big enough to put an apple inside of it. Gross. She needs better friends.
11:44: Booyah. Paul Wall, the Golden God of tippin' of 4-4s, just materialized. The crowd is beaming. Coolcoolcool. When they're eulogizing me at my funeral, I really want for Paul Wall to just come out from behind the rafters or whatever and perform that song. It's like insta-party.
11:48: You know what'd be neat? If tonig--OHFUCKOHFUCKOHFUCK! WILLIEDISONSTAGEDOING"MIND'SPLAYINGTRICKSONME"!!! ARGHHADAODIGNALJKDNAIDFNAODIN! HE'SSOKEYEDUPHECAN'TEVENGETTHROUGHHISOWNVERSE!
11:49: So, so glad that the Potential Willie D Sighting can be added to the Cool Shit That Could Reasonably Be Expected To Happen At A Rap Concert In Houston list. Incidentally, we'll have to add Watch Willie D Beat Someone Up to the list too.
11:51: Ooh, by the way, Willie D has a concert coming up. Guess when? Yep: Christmas Eve. He probably sat there like, "Yo, so this'll be my first show in more than three years. I need an appropriate night to have it. When can I, one of the most imposing, intimidating personalities in all of music have it? ...Oh, I got it: the night that everyone celebrates God's begotten son." Fucking, who's cooler than Willie D?
12:02: It's gotten real meta in here. Ro and Trae gave Dougie D, the forgotten king of the Guerilla Maab, a few minutes to remind everyone how good he is. He did his light-speed-fast flow and the guys on the stage exploded. Very cool.
12:10: Jay'Ton is on stage. Excellent. Love that guy.
12:10:30: Oh yeah. Remember that joke about Jay'Ton starting ABN Financial from the Trae Day review? Got an email about that. Turns out, there's already an ABN Financial. They are decidedly less gangster.
12:12: "Pop in you grey cassette, turn up..." That song.
12:20: Getting near the end of the show. No one's been murdered yet. Actually, stage standers and backing vocals aside, everything's been quite pleasant.
12:21: And there's "No Help." Scratch that one off the list. Crowd is going yo-yo. The whole We'll Play "No Help" And Everyone Will Lose Their Shit ploy is one of the most dependable concert moments.
12:28: Trae doesn't even count the money no more, he just throws it. That song.
12:35: Shit. There's "Swang." Lost that bet. That can only mean...
12:41: "Slow, loud And bangin', all in my trunk. Trunk full of funk, I ain't never been a punk. I blow on skunk, I blow on doja. Military minded, I'm a muthafuckin' soldier. Out the streets, of the Ridgemont Fo', not no bitch and say I still ain't a hoe. Letting niggas know everyday of the year, I pimp my pen and I get my point clear. Why niggas wanna talk down, I don't know. Gotta take a trip to Acapulco, from the Fo', with my 4-4 on my side, when I ride..."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Personal Bias: I've seen these guys in concert 700 times.
The Crowd: Was surprisingly young and surprisingly white.
Overheard in the Crowd: "He's skkkiiiiiinnnnyyyyy." - Some girl, when Paul Wall came out. (He has lost a tremendous amount of weight since these last few years. Good for him.)
Random Notebook Dump: Pimp C's mother, an avid Trae supporter, and Bun B, an avid Trill supporter, were also in attendance.