A$AP Rocky Warehouse Live February 26, 2012
For more photos from Sunday, see our slideshow.
Who is A$AP Rocky? The simple answer is that he's a kid from Harlem who's real name is Rakim, who proclaims himself a "pretty muthafucka," and who loves all things Houston. From the flows to the purple drank, the guy eats it all up and channels it into his raps.
More importantly, with all of the buzz Rocky has generated in the blogosphere, he was named as the top rapper to watch in 2012. He and his crew are this year's Taylor Gang, this year's Odd Future. And then there is the fact that he was signed to a multimillion dollar contract with Sony/RCA/Polo Grounds Music.
So why should we care? We have plenty of new blood in this city rapping about the very same things with just as much talent. This is true, but after Sunday's show, Rocky proved that he is more than just hype, and you just can't hate on anyone who genuinely champions Houston as much as he does.
As chants of "ASAP! ASAP!" began to ring out from Sunday's sold-out crowd, Rocky and the rest of his A$AP Mob took the stage. They formed a line at the center of the stage, and opened with "Pretty Flacko", a track that commands the listener to "do it trill nigga, get your motherfucking hands up". And the crowd did just that.
"This feels like home to me, man. I was raised on shit like this!" he told his fans right before dropping his hit "Purple Swag." Bun B then hit the stage in support, telling Rocky to "keep it trill young nigga." If a co-sign from the King of The Trill doesn't validate Rocky's importance as a rising rap star, I don't know what will.
With "Get Lit," Rocky grabbed a blunt from the crowd and proceeded to, well, get lit. The only thing missing here was Fat Tony, who makes an appearance on this track on the Live Love A$AP mixtape. Hopefully we get to catch up with him and Rocky at SXSW in a couple of weeks.
Kendrick Lamar, the Section.80 rapper from Compton, then hit the stage to perform his breakout hit "A.D.H.D.," much to the surprise and approval of the young crowd. Kendrick and Rocky are currently opening for Drake on the latter's "Club Paradise" tour, which is set to hit Austin tonight. Drake is another rapper who also reps Houston heavy, so his decision to skip Houston on this tour is odd and disappointing.
"We aren't superstars! We regular people, just like y'all!", said Rocky as he ended the set with the song "Peso." And then, things got crazy. He jumped into the crowd several times, and then, he invited everyone to jump onto the stage with him.
Kids were jumping the barrier and dodging security just to be next to Rocky. It was a bit irresponsible and dangerous, but exciting just the same. It almost escalated to full-on riot status before the venue pulled the plug and turned up the house lights.
I personally have never seen anything like that happen at a Houston show, but then again, I've never seen a trill rapper from Harlem either.
Personal Bias: I Keeps it Trill.
The Crowd: A bunch of younguns.
Random Notebook Dump: The DJs who performed at this show were worth the price of admission by themselves. They included Rapid Ric, Elroy Boogie, Mr. Rogers, Candlestick and OG Ron C.
Oveheard in the Crowd: "Welcome to Houston, muthafucka!"
"Pretty Flacko" "Say Wassup" "Purple Swag" "Brand New Guy" "Get Lit" "Trilla" "Bass" "Peso"
Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.