T.I. and A$AP Rocky
Best Buy Theater, New York, NY
December 18, 2012
Concert Review: A$AP Rocky at Best Buy Theater
On the two year anniversary of what’s been widely regarded as New York City’s number one hip-hop morning show, Power 105.1’s ‘The Breakfast Club’ staged it’s now annual celebration Tuesday night inside Times Square’s Best Buy Theater. The totally sold out, jam-packed show featured the finest in the game’s present and future as thousands of concertgoers flocked to the west side for a glimpse of sets from the dynamically rising, and New York’s own A$AP Rocky and the pride of HOTlanta, T.I. for an unparalleled dual billing of hip-hop’s finest. With celebrities and surprise guests also making appearances, the concert turned into an all out party amid the backdrop of Power’s DJ’s working the mix in between each artist’s set.
Anticipation was running rampant all evening long inside the versatile theater, with fans exploding at each song blaring over the loud speakers. Out first were the hosts of The Breakfast Club morning show DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne The God, who in celebratory style, introduced New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who received a massive ovation from the sold out New York City audience. Other surprise guests that appeared on stage included star of The Braxtons, Tamar Braxton, and La La Anthony (Vazquez), wife of Carmelo Anthony. The New York Knick himself did not appear however, despite rumors that he was in the house.
With an indescribable energy, A$AP Rocky joined by his small entourage made his way out to center stage right around 9:15pm with an abridged thirty minute set that provided just a taste of what fans can expect on his upcoming major label debut “LongLiveA$AP,” which drops on January 15th, 2013. Donning a white hooded sweatshirt and thick black overalls, the braid wearing rapper unleashed a fury of rhymes on the hungry crowd, making sure to forge a genuine bond with his audience. At one moment, Rocky paced back and forth on stage like a recently released animal spitting his introspective lyrics alongside his fans, and the next he was stage diving atop the same excited revelers who held him high overhead elatedly. Despite being born in 1988, Rocky hardly seems like a newcomer to the hip-hop scene, with his first full-length mixtape garnering critical acclaim since its 2011 release. But his youthful vigor was full on display on this night, performing familiar tracks like “Goldie,” before returning later in T.I.’s set for his most successful hit to date, “Fuckin’ Problem,” which brought the sellout crowd to a proverbial frenzy.
Concert Review: T.I. at Best Buy Theater
T.I. meanwhile pulled out all the stops during a bouncy hour long set that saw surprise appearances from the likes of Swizz Beatz, DJ Khaled, and French Montana. On the release day of his eighth studio album “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head,” the veteran rapper put on a showcase of new tracks coupled with massive hits like set opener “Bring ‘Em Out,” which riled the crowd up from the word go. Rocking a winter hat and bright yellow sweatshirt, the 32 year old T.I. somehow managed to provide a more frenetic stage presence than the youthful Rocky who opened the show. Despite owning the spotlight while on stage, T.I. was more than willing to yield to his special guests for their own solo slots during his set. Perhaps the most poignant moment of the evening however occurred as T.I. and A$AP Rocky shared the stage, each effusively praising the other back and forth for their hard work and for the trails blazed by T.I.’s career. Rocky called it an honor to share a stage with T.I., who in return encouraged Rocky to bring the love back full circle once he reaches T.I.’s time in the spotlight. Once A$AP Rocky walked offstage, T.I. made sure to bring the crowd to its knees with “Life Your Life” and “Whatever You Like,” which received the loudest ovation of the entire show. And while the celebration may have been called for the Power 105.1 morning show, the entire evening proved to be a platform for two of hip-hop’s greatest artists. One steadily on the rise. The other firmly entrenched as an iconic rap legend. And both, as good at their craft as anyone in the game today.
- Jane Van Arsdale