Why Do Rappers Always Go Onstage So Late?
Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them hear discussing issues relevant to their culture.
This Week's Panel: Paul Wall, Fat Tony, K-Rino and Kyle Hubbard
Not Invited: Devin the Dude*, who leads the league in "Showed Up To His Concert Six Hours Late."
*Actually, he was invited. We emailed him for a response last week. We anticipate he'll return the message in about four weeks.
This Week's Prompt: Out of all of the things that people email us to ask rappers about, punctuality seems to rank pretty high. So, what say you, sirs and ma'ams? Why, when we buy a ticket to a rap show that says it's going to start at 8 p.m., do we get there at 8 p.m. and then feel like a complete ass for doing so?
Is that part of the Rapper Creed, to always try and be three hours cooler than everyone else? Or are there legitimate reasons why shows run late that fans are unaware of (collecting fees, technical issues, orphans trapped in house fires that you have to help)?
Paul Wall: Everybody is different, but for me, first, I'm not going on stage until we get paid. That's due to years of shady promoters screwing me over, being cheap and not paying.
A lot of times, the promoters don't have their shit together, so they wanna push the show back to allow the opening groups more time, or because the show is running behind, or a hundred other reasons that are out of my interest or control. I have never once in my entire career ever wanted the show to be pushed back, not even five minutes.
The sooner I perform, the sooner I can get away from a cig smoke-filled back stage full of drunk annoying reachers claiming to be my fans or friends (yet constantly bugging me for free drinks or to get more people in free that I don't know), and the sooner I can get home to my smoke, my drank and my fam.
I love being the People's Champ, however I have never once pushed show time back. Usually with all shows (not just hip-hop/rap) there [is] some type of opening act. That's who goes on at 8 p.m., not the main event. The artist is simply hired entertainment; we didn't put the concert together, hire sound/lights man, rent the venue, run commercials, hire security, etc.
So for you to blame the artist is like going to see a Rockets game, and being mad at Yao cause the game is running behind due to TV problems.
Fat Tony: All of the above. Problems with promoters, technical difficulties, and other performance-related troubles tend to be the biggest causes of time setbacks, especially in my personal experience.
Also, timeliness of arrival is an important factor. Getting to and from the venue and to and from the airport in an orderly fashion can be hectic when you consider flight delays and traffic. When it comes to diva-esque shit such as an artist wanting to relax/drink/smoke/do drugs/converse with his friends and family/get some head/etc. before a show, that can cause a huge setback.
But those things are often just pre-show rituals that were delayed by some other shit, such as the timeliness of arrival I mentioned earlier.
Usually the promoter (a good one) will get in that ass if the artist is delaying too much for no good reason and fucking up the flow of his/her event with threats of cutting pay (clauses such as this can always be in the fine print of the contract the artist signed when agreeing to the performance). Yeah, buddy.
K-Rino: The first thing is that most of the time the promo flyer or whatever advertisement for the show will usually say "Doors open at 9, Show starts at 10pm" (if its a club). This is just to get people in the building early. That way, by the time the artist arrives, which for me is around midnight [laughs],the place is already full of people.
This is also a move to help the club as well because the earlier the people get there, the more money the bar makes. But the truth is that unless the show is held at a venue that is rented from, say, around 7 to 10 p.m. or 7 to midnight (like Warehouse Live), the show will start after 11 and the main act won't hit the stage 'til midnight or maybe later.
Now, the flipside to that is that most artists, not just rappers, are known for being notoriously late anyway, especially if he/she is hot and in demand. They know the people will wait to see them. So the moral to the story is if you wanna go to a rap show, particularly at a club, don't get there 'til at least midnight. It's better to wait for just [a few] hours than four or five [laughs].
Kyle Hubbard: Let me start off by saying that I approach rapping as a job. There are some things that are cool to be fashionably late to, such as your first child's birth or your wedding, but never work.
I pride myself on being a very punctual person. With that said, I try my damnedest to never be late for a show. My track record isn't perfect but I for certain have more checks under the "on time" column than not. I tend to go to a show hours upon hours before the doors even open. I am still at the point that on days that I have a show I just fixate on the moment I will end up onstage all day, so I figure "Why not take that ball of nerves to the venue? It's going to be dictating my thought process all day anyways."
Plus I find it really important that promoters feel like I am going through the process with them, not just showing up 15 minutes before my time slot and bouncing as soon as I am off the stage. The promoters support me enough to give me stage time in their event, the least I can do is share the boredom/anxiety fest that is sure to ensue before show time.
Of course another vital point is to come through for the audience. If you say you're on at a certain time, you better be as close to that point as possible, though sometimes set times are dictated by the promoters, or the size of the crowd. People tend to delay the start times of shows in an attempt to let the crowd build, but the crowd isn't coming in on time because they are used to shows starting hours later than scheduled.
It's a hot mess.
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