At a tour called “Under the Influence,” you would expect nothing less than a constant cloud of heavy weed smoke permeating the venue. The lineup – Mack Wilds, Iamsu!, Sage the Gemini, Young Jeezy and Wiz Khalifa – was designed to be the perfect fit for young, wild and free fans of stoner hip-hop.
For an overtly drug-focused tour, outdoor venue security at the Xfinity Center near Boston was surprisingly tight. Walking into the show, one girl in front of me tried to slyly tuck a joint into her bra. She was flagged and dragged out of line with a frightening swiftness. Luckily, some people made it in with contraband herb, as evidenced by the perpetual haze of cannabinoids floating above the crowd.
Mack Wilds hit the stage early, when many people were still caught up in the epic security line. He bounced around the stage trying to get people into the show, but it was a little too light out for the real turn up. He showcased his twitter/Instagram/Facebook info on the overhead display, so maybe he got a few new followers from the performance.
Ty Dolla $ign was up next, hitting the stage in a hoodie over his trademark braids. He had a somewhat misguided inflatable sign of his name, reminiscent of a beach toy. Visuals showing “Ty Dolla $ign” written in the sand – presumably by a beach house – were displayed on the overhead for added romantic effect. He crooned hits such as “My Cabana,” “Or Nah” and even a short refrain from “Toot it Or Boot It”. He ended his set with his mega hit “Paranoid”.
This was the perfect segue into fellow Young California MC’s Sage the Gamini and IAMSU!. Their combined energy peaked as they coordinated dance moves, raps and harmonies for their set. They performed for a full 45min, running through bouncy, Mustard produced anthems such as “Red Nose” and “I Love My Squad”. The broke out some West Coast anthems such as “Act Right” where their dance move truly brought it back to the Bay (rest in peace to Mac Dre). IAMSU! performed his older song “Hipster Girls” and I was the only one singing every word. Regardless, these two had an infectious vibe that fully represented HeartBreak Gang. By their closing song “Gas Pedal,” the audience was smoking, drinking and vibing as the sun began to set.
The DJ set that followed was where things took a sharp turn toward turnt. I didn’t see who DJing was – it wasn’t Drama – but the song choices seemed perfectly designed to rile up intoxicated 16-year olds. I walked back into the seating area just was “I Don’t Like” came on. Pusha T’s verse seemed to ignite someonthing – or maybe it was the anticipation of Jeezy up next. Hundreds of kids who were relegated to the “lawn” area of seating began to rush down toward the “pit” area, jumping rows and filling aisles while passing blunts around. Security had all but lost control. Making the way back to the now inundated VIP seating was an athletic event. The DJ seemed to encourage this behavior, playing the universal fighting song “Knuck if You Buck.” This was a welcome change from the authoritarian security and harsh seating policy the venue had tried to enforce.
By the time DJ Drama came onto the stage to introduce Jeezy, the people had settled, but not calmed down. In front of giant lettering, J-E-E-Z-Y Drama proclaimed “He’s like a religious to the streets!” and judging by the reaction when the first lines of “I Put On” this was accurate. The audience knew most of the songs, and Jeezy owned the stage. Despite skipping over some works and relying on some backing vocals, Jeezy worked the crowd like Joel Olsteen of the trap. His hits were punctuated by motivational speeches. Just before “Soul Survivor” he asked everyone to put their lighters up. “We gonna light it up in the back… I wanna dedicate this to all you big dreamers”. He said as Akon’s voice filled the amphitheater. Everyone sang along to the whole thing, even the “Akon and Young Jeezy” intro.
After Jeezy had elevated the crowd to epic levels of confidence, Wiz Khalifa himself hit the stage. He was dressed more like “Trap Wiz” than high-fashion Wiz, in flannel and glasses reminiscent of Kurt Cobain. His set was heavy on the old school Taylor Gang songs, including “KK,” “Damn it Feels Good to be a Taylor” and the classic “Young Wild and Free”. He steered clear of too many songs from his new mixtape, giving die-hard fans a set they would know every word to. By the end of the show, Wiz was shirtless and sweaty in the green-tinted smoke. He ended with “We Dem Boyz,” which got by far the best crowd reaction.
The show ended with the stoned teenage fans rowdily filing into the parking lot, where many of them tried to keep the party vibe going. Sadly, the ever-present security prevented the turn up. Despite this, people were obviously under the influence of more than music as they drove away. The combination of positivity and ratchet was a rare and special one – something fully embodied by Wiz, Jeezy, Ty, and everyone on the tour. Hopefully, the Under the Influence tour tradition will continue, spreading blunt-fueled party vibes across the country for the year to come.