ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Dizzy Wright
XXL Freshmen Live 2013
Better Than… Actually being a freshman in high school
Since 2008, hip-hop magazine XXL has named its “top freshmen” each year, and on Saturday night the bulk of them performed at Club Nokia. Black Hippy crewmates Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul were included in the group, and one expected they would perform together. But that was not the case, even though each performed tracks that had the other originally featured.
Q ran the length of the stage, raising his arms and riling up the crowd. Wearing his signature bucket hat, he kicked things off with the dark, woozy single, “Oxy Music,” and made intense eye contact with the crowd.
He lit up a blunt and complained that his set was getting cut short, which he repeated at least a half dozen times during his 30 minute set. (It was reminiscent of how, at Paid Dues, he asked the crowd repeatedly if they knew the name of his new album.)
Halfway through Q's performance, Danny Brown came on stage, his hair a mess and his demeanor goofier than ever. The quirky, left-of-mainstream rapper performed “Express Yourself,” with Q's help, and got the crowd going. Q then welcomed Mac Miller onstage and the crowd loved it; the two rapped “Lucky Ass Bitch.”
Oddly Q never once mentioned his upcoming album, Oxymoron, this time, and didn't perform any new tracks. In any case, he finished strong, jumping into the crowd to talk with his fans.
Ab-Soul, meanwhile, seemed at ease. Playing an absurdly short set of only 20 minutes, he performed songs off of last year's Control System. During “Black Lip Bastard” he seemed particularly in the zone, beneath a flat rimmed hat and sunglasses. He crouched lower to the stage and waved his hands.
“Put your lighters or phones up,” he said as his DJ dropped the beat to “Illuminate,” which features another crewmate, Kendrick Lamar. But if folks were hoping Lamar would make an appearance, they were disappointed; he's was actually in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this weekend, at something called Hangout Fest.
The guy who seemed to be having the most fun? Dizzy Wright. The Las Vegas bred rapper knew that most of the crowd wasn't familiar with his music, but that didn't stop him from getting silly; he turned up the charisma and got the crowd behind his singles like “Solo Dolo,” “Hotel Stripper,” and “Can't Trust 'Em.”
Personal Bias: Danny Brown and Mac Miller were only onstage for one song each, yet they stole the show.
The Crowd: Girls in booty shorts and guys with jeans hanging off their booties.
Overheard In The Crowd: “The blunt tore in my pocket!”
Random Notebook Dump: Why are changeovers at hip hop shows always unnecessarily long?
ScHoolboy Q Set List:
Nightmare On Figg St.
How We Feeling
Druggy Wit Hoes Again
Brand New Guy (ScHoolboy Q Verse)
Express Yourself (Danny Brown)
Lucky Ass Bitch (Mac Miller)
There He Go
Hands On The Wheel
Ab-Soul Set List:
Black Lip Bastard