Trae tha Truth Warehouse Live April 26, 2014
Trae tha Truth's fans have stuck with him through a lot over the years. From his breakups and makeups with cousin Z-Ro and his unofficial ban from the Houston airwaves to the tragic Trae Day shooting in 2009 and the rapper's own subsequent wounding three years later, there has been no shortage of drama in Trae's life and career.
Never once, however, did the Screwed Up Click alumnus ever hint that he might stop what he was doing, reconsider his choices or begin to play it safe, and a core base of devoted fans have stuck with him for every triumph and tragedy.
On Saturday night, tha Truth honored those diehards with a free Fan Appreciation Concert at Warehouse Live. Any seasoned hip-hop veteran could have guessed weeks before that such a celebration would last long into the night, but most fans showed up before 10 p.m., ready for the long haul. The free admission gave the evening a relaxed, unhurried feel that kept the crowd loose and happy as a few openers warmed up the room.
That room never did reach more than half full, but that just meant more room to dance for the dedicated fans who came out. The audience was live all night, drinking, smoking and grooving relentlessly to a dope mix of H-Town anthems pumped out by DJ Mr. Rogers. Even as the night seemed to stretch on and on as we waited for Trae to enter the building, the mood in the place stayed fun and excited throughout. Massive singalongs to "Wanna Be a Baller" and "Just a Dog" certainly helped.
The first cameraphones of the night appeared for MUG, who turned in a solid set highlighted by an appearance by none other than J-Dawg, who favored the crowd with "First 48." It was past midnight by the time young Chi-town rapper Lil' Bibby took the stage next, but the crowd wasn't nearly so restless as they might've been by that time. The young Chicagoan got his fair shot, with fans gamely participating in his call and responses.
Finally, as the clock crept toward 1 a.m., the man of the hour arrived. Backed by an army of friends, family and hangers-on hundreds deep onstage, Trae uncorked the quick and nimble flow that got him to one-name-only status. Fans boogied shamelessly during "It's Goin' Down," "1 Up," "Still Throwed" and other tightly compressed nuggets of angry swag.
Trae led the assemblage in a big rap-along to the DJ Screw classic "Pimp tha Pen," a joyous affair that led directly into his own "Grey Cassette." When the good vibrations reached their peak, the rapper sent them over the top by producing none other than legendary Geto Boy and World's Greatest Advice Columnist Willie D.
The fans in attendance were truly treated to Willie's verse from "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me," jumping up and down and going bonkers on command. It was lovely.
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Then, as Trae rolled through "Phone Numbers," his collab with Wiz Khalifa, a fight broke out near the back of the crowd. A couple dozen cameraphones turned around to film a couple of young guys wail on each other, sliding around on the beer-slicked floor. Onstage, Trae kept right on rapping about his Rolex or whatever, but the tussle was an unsettling and annoying reminder that sometimes, for no good reason, Trae fans can do their damndest to ruin a perfectly good Trae show.
The performance was shaken a bit by the unexpected outburst of violence, but the Warehouse crew cleaned it up quickly, and Trae and his audience alike proved eager to brush it off. After all, the most sacred moment of any Trae performance was coming up: the observance of "Swang," Trae's crucial collaboration with his fallen comrades Pimp C and H.A.W.K.
Trae rapped through the Pimp's verse himself, with a little help from the crowd. Then the beat dropped out and the crowd shouted out H.A.W.K.'s verse a cappella. The song became a moment of communion with a couple of Houston's departed hip-hop icons, a worthy tribute to friends gone too soon. And dang if you couldn't dance to it.
Personal Bias: Forever one deep.
The Crowd: Rather smallish, but highly enthusiastic.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Can I buy that lighter off you?"
Random Notebook Dump: If I'm not mistaken, Trae gave away a set of rims from Texan Wire Wheels at the show. That's a hell of the hip-hop door prize.
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