YG at First Avenue, 5/8/14
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The last time YG (initialism for Young Gangsta) performed in Minneapolis, a concertgoer was shot and killed inside of Epic during his set. Last night, First Avenue staff pulled out all the stops in ensuring that no such incident would occur. Fans were met at the door by metal-detector wielding doormen and full body pat-downs. Big burly security guards stalked the crowd at the entrance of the club as scantily clad women and fly gentlemen trickled in.
That's not to say that there wasn't plenty of drama. The ladies in attendance certainly weren't threatened by the additional security, a lack of fear and consideration they demonstrated amply by erupting in several weave-pulling screaming matches. Clusters of men adorned in mostly red posted up in various areas of the venue. The command "Rep your set!" would occasionally be heard ringing through the air, followed by a display of hand signs signifying particular affiliations.
The evening started out slowly. A modest number of fans crowded the stage, still masked by First Ave's giant projection screen advertising upcoming concerts, staring upwards as if at worship. The selfies started almost immediately. A woman with an ass eight times the size of her teeny tiny waist leaned relaxedly up against the bar, her man ordering drinks for them both. Though doors were actually open at 8, it seemed that no one had gotten the memo. By 9:30 there was still plenty of open space to practice your twerk in.
Suddenly, the projection screen rose. "Watch all them ratchet bitches run to the front," commented a concertgoer. The ratchet bitches did indeed run. DJ Mustard stood behind a booth emblazoned with his name, dropping a pounding bass thud as he began his set. As soon as everyone got into an ass-shaking groove, he would switch up the track.
This tactic was occasionally frustrating, especially when Kid Ink and Chris Brown's "Show Me" only survived through one verse. By the way, DJ Mustard made that beat. How many songs have you heard recently on the radio that begin with a voice declaring, "Mustard on the beat" within the music? The man must be straight ballin'.
DJ Mustard was recently signed to Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Jay Z, and is currently working on his first full-length. He took a pause to make this announcement to the room, encouraging everyone to hold their Roc signs up in the air. For those of you who don't know what that means, here's an important lesson:
In order to signal affiliation with Roc Nation, both hands are held in the air to create a triangle -- utilizing the pointer fingers and thumbs to create the triangle while holding both palms outwards. This hang sign has conflicting interpretations. Jay-Z himself explains the symbol as representing a diamond -- the "rock" in Roc-A-Fella records. Some believe that the gesture is a symbol of the Levites, one of the original tribes of Israel. In religious circles, the symbol is used to indicate God's chosen soldiers.
The symbol is also associated with the Illuminati, who are thought to run the entire music industry like a bunch of savvy puppeteers pulling on the strings of an army of successful hip-hop artists.
Anyway, DJ Mustard then went on to play Jay-Z's "Hustler" as hundreds of hands made the symbol of the Illuminati. A drink was hurtled through the air, the spray of its contents illuminated by flashing strobe lights. A girl was actually trying to make a phone call on the dance floor during all of this, her face contorting as she screamed into her iPhone.
The projection screen again descended over the stage as people headed outside for a smoke. On the sidewalk, promotors handed out fliers and scalpers hawked tickets. Then, all hell broke loose. Shouts were heard as several women tumbled out onto the sidewalk. One jumped into the street screaming, "Come on, bitch," posturing like an amateur boxer. Another followed her. A wig was ripped off and thrown to the ground. "Downtown tumble-weave," commented a security guard.