Lil Baby Brings his IOU Tour to the Toyota Center

Lil Baby headlines the IOU tour
Lil Baby headlines the IOU tour Photo byVioleta Alvarez
The crowd screamed as spotlights at the Toyota Center began to focus on the figure sitting on top of a stage length LCD screen displaying images of clouds and water. Behind him, an even larger screen displayed a sky with an orange hue whose light flooded the floor of the stadium.

The intro for “Emotionally Scarred” played through the overhanging speakers as the audience began to sing along, rapping louder than Lil Baby. The MC, draped in jeans and a vest with stones that shimmered underneath the spotlight, sat on the edge of the stage mimicking the cover of his second album as the audience took over the song as it reached the hook.

The IOU or It’s Only Us tour, headlined by Lil Baby and featuring Glorilla, Rylo, Gloss Up and Hunxho, touched down at the Toyota Center Wednesday night. This comes after the news that ten tour dates, including Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Louisville, were quietly removed from the schedule.

The removal of those dates prompted fans to voice their displeasure on the internet and start a debate about whether a lot of newer artists have the ability to headline a major stadium tour. Even though those dates were eliminated from the tour the large, venue cities of Philadelphia and New York were added. With all the talk and speculation, the Atlanta rapper still kicked off his show in the Bayou City to a stadium full of fans.
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The Atlanta rapper performs in the middle of the Toyota Center crowd.
Photo by Violeta Alvarez
Dominique Armani Jones has built up his name in the rap world using the moniker Lil Baby, releasing a string of mixtapes leading to his 2018 studio debut Harder Than Ever. That album was just a prequel to his second album, My Turn, released in 2020 to critical and commercial success. The album helped to solidify his place in the hip-hop world and quiet naysayers who pegged him as an opening act for Young Thug.

Much like that album, the It’s Only Us tour proves Lil Baby’s star power. People may have speculated that he couldn’t handle a stadium tour but apparently no one told him. Thousands of fans rocked along with the Atlanta MC as he ran through radio hits, album cuts, and mixtape staples.
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Glorilla opens up for Lil Baby
Photo by Violeta Alvarez

The show featured Lil Baby handling multiple stages. At one point the main stage rose into the air leaving him standing between two skyscrapers. The next moment had the MC walking across a bridge to a circular stage that lifted above the audience and then lowered into the middle of the crowd. An outfit change later found the rapper sandwiched between two massive stage length screens displaying multiple silhouettes of him moving to the music. Two long stages jutted out into the audience allowing the rapper and his troupe of dancers to move in and out of the crowd.

The constant movement of Lil Baby and the dancers going in, out, around, and above the audience made the show seem a lot more intimate than a lot of performances at the Toyota Center.

It was the first night for It’s Only Us but, if Wednesday night was any indication, Lil Baby has the makings of a tour that his fans shouldn’t miss.
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Houston Press contributor DeVaughn Douglas is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster. He is 1/2 of the In My Humble Opinion Podcast and 1/1 of the Sleep and Procrastination Society. (That last one isn't a podcast; he just procrastinates and sleeps a lot.)