A$AP Ferg and G-Eazy give fans a surprised-filled show on the second of a three night stay in New York.
Gerald Gillum, stage name G-Eazy, is trending right now. It’s easy to assume the emcee is riding white rapper fame to the top of the charts, but the man has been grinding for years. He released six mixtapes and three studio albums before the massive success of When It’s Dark Out, so he’s no tourist in the rap game. During the show, G-Eazy declared that “although I’m from the Bay, New York is my favorite city outside my hometown.” His love for the City That Never Sleeps (and their love for him) produced a three-night stint in New York City with co-headliner A$AP Ferg and openers Nef the Pharaoh and Marc E. Bassy. All three sold out shows took place at Terminal 5, a towering venue in west Midtown Manhattan that features two different mezzanines reaching all the way up to its ceiling.
The double billing of G-Eazy and A$AP Ferg was always a strange one, even in Ferg’s hometown of New York City. The openers are a reminder of that, as openers Nef the Pharaoh and Marc E. Bassy hail from the Bay area along with headliner G-Eazy. Ferg, ever the practical businessman, was certainly aware of the crowd dynamics at play while planning his set. The crowd itself was largely young white kids, most not old enough to drink. Old enough to turn up, though.
A large backdrop made up of 9 different screens displayed Ferg’s introduction video. It felt like something almost out of an EDM concert (remember, crowd dynamics), as a demonic voice declared Ferg the Trap Lord over crescendoing bass. Then Ferg burst out to fan favorite “Let It Go,” his leather trench coat shining and whipping around like a cape as he leapt around the stage. A digital version of Ferg cloaked in lava filled the screen behind him. The crowd knew all of the words and rapped along gleefully with the A$AP emcee. The first part of his set was entirely dedicated to turn up jams, with the surprising inclusion of “Dump Dump.” The crowd displayed little self-awareness as they screamed out “I fucked your bitch nigga” along with the rapper. Cringe-inducing or not, it was lit.
Throughout the night, Ferg didn’t let anyone forget this is his city. He brought out Marty Baller for an energetic rendition of “Big Timers,” and the crowd loved it. Their excitement may have been misdirected though, as at least one person in the crowd mistakenly thought the braided A$AP Mob affiliate was A$AP Rocky. Whoops. A$AP Ferg didn’t debut any unheard tracks from the Always Strive & Prosper, but he did perform “Tatted Angel,” his ode to A$AP Yams. After finishing “Tatted Angel,” the Harlem emcee was visibly emotional, and he led the crowd in a couple rousing cries of “rest in piece, A$AP Yams.” He finished the set with “New Level,” leaving the crowd properly amped for the second headliner.
Between sets the crew quickly assembled a truly massive backdrop setting of three seedy storefronts. The strip club, dive bar (“The Saint”) and motel invited the crowd into the sordid California tales of G-Eazy’s When It’s Dark Out. Screams echoed through the high walls of Terminal 5 as the stage was bathed in red light, the album’s “Intro” track building the crowd into a frenzy. Then the lights went dark. Gerald stepped into the spotlight rapping the first lines to “Random.”
Clad in a black leather jacket, black skinny jeans and a white tee, G-Eazy struck a figure not unlike the rock stars of a past era. A live drummer sat on the roof of one of the storefronts, while his DJ occupied the opposite roof. He rattled off a few numbers from his latest album, including “Me, Myself & I,” and “Calm Down.” He ran “Calm Down” back twice, clearly basking in the glow as he rapped “I’m the coldest white rapper in the game since the one with the bleached hair.” Midway through his performance, G-Eazy shed his black jacket, prompting a chorus of female shrieks from the crowd. Not something you hear at most hip hop shows.
The first in a series of increasingly unexpected guest appearances, Gerald brought out opener Marc E. Bassy for the soulful “Some Kind of Drug,” and while Bassy hit the chorus just right, the cracks began to show in the headliner’s set. He accidentally repeated a verse and at this point in the set was visibly exhausted. Perhaps the sordid antics from G-Eazy's raps were beginning to take a toll on him, or maybe the grueling touring schedule. Either way, he powered through.
Next on the guest list was co-headliner A$AP Ferg, who performed “Lotta That” from 2014’s These Things Happen. After that came Brooklyn emcee Maino of “Hi Hater” and “All of the Above” fame. While Maino might be familiar to the readers of HotNewHipHop, he was not familiar to the young crowd, who cheered but did not seem too enthused with the appearance. Finally, in a twist nobody expected (even after Maino), G-Eazy welcomed DMX to the stage. Sporting a black fur coat and wearing shades the entire time, DMX growled and barked at the crowd, his voice somehow even more gravely than in years past. He was reaching Petey Pablo levels of gravel. He performed the seminal “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” which may have been a bit before the crowd’s time. He then showed love to G-Eazy for bringing him out and dipped off stage.
Gerald had one guest left, his best friend and fellow emcee Marty Grimes. He and Grimes went to highschool together, and their chemistry showed as they closed out the show together. Gerald reappeared on top of the backdrop for a final song, and then disappeared, thanking the crowd for what he considered “the most lit night of his shows in New York.” As if acknowledging that When It’s Dark Out dominated the set list, the DJ played cuts from G-Eazy’s many mixtapes as the crowd filed out into the cold New York streets.