Sweating Out Big Sean's Swampy Cricket Wireless Block Party
Big Sean meets a fan... once he finally showed up
Photos by Marco Torres
What do you get when you mix a mad amount of humidity, random thundershowers, and a rapper who shows up two hours late for his own event? Big Sean's Block Party Thursday at the Cricket Wireless store near 290 and Mangum, that's what.
The Detroit-based rapper has been celebrating the dropping of his second album, Hall of Fame, by traveling to random cities to throw these block parties for his fans, actually spending time meeting people and posing for pictures and schtuff. In theory anyway, it's a totally in-your-face promotional concept, where fans get to see an artist's more personal side for once. Pretty sweet, right?
Well, sure. However, it's only awesome if his flight isn't delayed and you're not in a parking lot that resembles of a swamp more and more as the minutes pass, thanks to a mixture of heavy rain and the blaring Houston sun. Then it's torture. Unintentional torture, but torture nonetheless. So here's how it went.
3 p.m. Setup for the block party is a bit delayed. The torrential rain and threat of being struck by lightning must have kept the crew from risking their lives to staple up some fancy-schmancy Big Sean posters. We're huddled under a tent trying to keep our hair from frizzing any further, and yet a line of brave fans has already formed outside of the Cricket store. Big Sean must be worth the lightning risk.
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3:12 p.m. -- Brave souls are starting to venture out from under the tent, and the line for the meet-and-greet has tripled in just a few minutes flat. Big Sean is a popular dude. There's a snow-cone truck, and that's freaking rad. I'm still under the tent.
3:38 p.m. No sign of Big Sean, there's a rap battle courtesy of J-Mac from 97.9 The Box and an overzealous fan, and it's pretty awesome. Maybe if Big Sean doesn't show, J-Mac can be a stand-in. I dig him. Oh, and the dude he's battling against wins a phone. Also awesome.
3:52 p.m. They're playing Ca$h Out, there's free pizza from Papa John's, and still no sign of Big Sean. The meet-and-greet line is long as hell, but some of the more daring fans are venturing over to the block-party area. Wise, I think. Also, fuck this, I'm getting a snow-cone.
The wait continues on the next page.
Despite the wait, fans seemed to be in good spirits.
4:10 p.m. Still no Big Sean. The snow-cone, though, is delish. It's swampy as hell, and I'm not dancing, but a few people are breaking it down. Everyone else is just sweating.
4:26 p.m. I notice a tent where folks are playing a giant Connect Four game with a dude from The Box, and venture over. My partner in crime wins a T-shirt. I wish we'd win Big Sean showing up, because I'm melting.
The magic snow-cone
4:46 p.m. Rumor has it Big Sean is on his way. I wish I had another snow-cone. Tiger Blood is apparently the best. Flavor. Ever. Also the best is my brand-new Def Jam Recordings cup.
4:49 p.m. Some dude from the radio station gives me a Big Sean towel (screw you, Houston humidity) and I am thoroughly impressed with The Box's and Cricket's hospitality, while entirely annoyed with Big Sean.
5 (ish) p.m. Big Sean has finally showed up. He's in the Cricket store, and he's signing autographs and taking photos. I creep in and stand behind the chaos to catch the fans' reactions. Someone has painted a really insane portrait of him, which is almost cooler than Big Sean playing with a baby that someone brought along. I'm still not ready to forgive the two-hour delay, though.
5:38 p.m. Still creepy, still standing behind the crowd of fans meeting their rapper-hero Big Sean, and I peek my head out to see how long the line is. It's infinity. Infinity long. That's a thing now.
5:58 p.m. I try to pry some info from a Cricket employee that I've befriended, although I'm not sure the feeling was reciprocated, but he can't tell me if Big Sean is going to perform or not. I peek around again, line is still past Academy Sports and Outdoors, and I wave adios to Big Sean. Even if it's that "Ass, ass, ass, ass, ass..." song, it's still not worth it.
So yeah. That was Big Sean's Block Party in a nutshell. To summarize: he was late, it was hot and rainy and muggy, all at different points, and the employees of the Cricket store and 97.9 were fucking awesome despite it.
Can't blame 'em for trying, but Big Sean kept his constituents waiting just a bit too long on this one. Maybe next time, Big Sean. Maybe next time.
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