2 Chainz may have started from the trap, but on Wednesday night at Roseland Ballroom, he was king, holding court with NYC rap royalty. The 2 Good 2 Be Tru Tour was an all-star lineup with August Alsina and Pusha T, and fan-pleasing special appearances kept the sold-out crowd turned up for the whole show.
August Alsina was the first act, and his street-meets-bedroom style of thugged our RnB resonated with the crown who made it to the venue early enough to catch his short set. With the young singer already boasting collaborations with Rich Homie Quan, Yo Gotti, and B.o.B, his fan base is sure to keep growing as his touring continues. His tatted-up sex appeal, which oozes off the stage, isn’t hurting his fan growth either.
Pusha T always has the most real hustlers in the audiences going insane as they rap along to his double entendres, and Roseland was no exception. While this wasn’t the longest set, his played most of the hits off his new album, including “Blocka,” a crowd favorite.
Pusha ended with “Grindin'” which was pretty much what everyone was waiting for. He switched up the beat enough to make the 12 year-old-song a bit more fresh, and to cover the absence of Malice. (and YES Griding’ is 12 years old, that’s crazy)
After Pusha, there was an unfortunately 30 min stretch of silence from the stage. I’m not sure if someone was supposed to be playing or didn’t, or if this was just some kind of acoustic palette cleanser. Either way, this killed the buzz of the crowd. But, before 2 Chains came out, the screens on stage lit up with animated images of powerful black men, with a driving beat to get the crowd going. The inspirational images turned to silhouettes, showcasing disproportional strippers and highly ambitious sex acts as the show went on. It was basically a ratchet Kara Walker installation.
2 Chainz owned the stage – as a man over 6ft should – and started playing hit after hit, as well as songs off B.O.A.T.S II. His own trademark “truuuu” worked as a introductory drop, and a bookend to every strip-club anthem he played. The Kara Walker strippers on the screens behind 2 Chainz kept the sexiness factor high.
But the real craziness of this show was the guest appearances. First, 2 Chainz brought out A$AP Rocky for “Fuckin’ Problems” and A$AP Ferg for “Work”. The hometown NYC audience goes wild for these guys, even if Rocky looked like he came straight from Fashion Week in a full three-piece suit.
Obviously, Pusha had to come out to spit his killer verse on “Mercy”, which was certainly a dope-boy crowd pleaser. But the biggest surprise of the night had to be the surprise appearance by none other than Cam’ron.
Harlem was in the building when Killa Cam hit the stage in a black leather cape, further cementing his status as the ultimate urban fashion icon (sorry Rocky). He came out to “I really mean it” and made everyone go insane for “Suck It Or Not”
French Montana came out to play the current street anthem “Fuck About Your Feelings” and debut a new song. The track, called “A-Rod”. is full of Baseball references “I used to run the base like A-Rod..” These lyrics combined, with the Yung Chop produced beat, turn this into a track made for the coke boys.
2 Chainz knows his strengths – he can make the strippers bust it open, he can make the trap boys turn up. But what he lacks in diversity of lyrical content, he makes up for with perfect punctuation of feature artists. Bringing out the all-stars to radio rap to join him onstage cemented my perception of 2 Chainz as a savvy, smart and talented rapper who plays dumb better than anyone. And, most importantly he gave the Roseland crowd the chance to sing along to Cam’Rom asking “Ma, you gonna suck it or not?”. For that, I will always be grateful.