Lil Debbie at Fine Line, 7/26/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Adam DeGross

Lil Debbie
with Sweetz P, Chi City, and Chase Compton
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lil Debbie returned to the Fine Line Saturday for what turned out to be a headlining performance, as Chicago's Katie Got Bandz (filling in for Lil Durk, who had to cancel his appearance) ended up not showing up. The Oakland rapper held her own alongside some unannounced touring partners and local firebrand Sweetz P for a hyped 16+ crowd.

I didn't catch the name of the first trio of openers, who began by spinning records and later moved to the front to lip-sync some of their own material. From a critic's perspective, a DJ set composed entirely of DJ Mustard tracks seems entirely too easy, but it sure worked to get the audience moving. The crew's rap tracks cribbed from Migos pretty heavily, which would've been great if they'd really cultivated that influence and pushed beyond just rapping in triplets into carrying themselves as a cohesive trio.

I'm old and still like hearing people rap sometimes, but seeing performers hop around to pre-recorded tracks seemed to work for everyone else. Some moves, like the synchronized group air-humping, added some great stage energy, while others, like tossing the microphone from hand to hand, just accentuated the fact that they weren't actually rapping. I don't intend to single them out because basically no one else that night did either.
Photo by Adam DeGross
Sweetz P was the notable exception, and she powered through a strong set of big songs with her trademark grit. Stepping out while singing along to "Fight Night," she launched into a barrage of her own material with strong voicing and stage presence. She ran through tracks already proven to win over crowds, like "Impressive" and "Champagne Grammy," but closed on what might be her strongest song to date. She brought a posse onstage for her finale, an unreleased track that she seemed aware was destined to be certified hit. Spitting catchy, violent taunts over menacing and huge trap drums, Sweetz P turned in the highlight song of the night with a single confident stride.
Photo by Adam DeGross
Kansas City's Chase Compton followed, with his crew of young white boys in logo parody shirts that implied they either liked money or smoking marijuana. Though the range of sonic influences expanded beyond Migos into Big Sean and Drake territory, the subject matter didn't extend much further than those two topics. This was quintessential frat-trap backtrack rap, filled with wealth brags and struggle bars that probably wouldn't hold under scrutiny. The crew got randomly very upset at front-door security toward the end, flicking them off and cursing them out for no explicable reason. Later they came out and sprayed everyone with water guns. It wasn't terrible but it did give me a glimpse of what rap will likely look like in a decade or so. 

Chi-City's performance leaned on Migos as well, but in the form of a supposed co-sign and feature from the group. Whether adding a verse to the end of "Bricks" really counts as a feature is for the courts to decide, but the rest of the set was comparably unremarkable so I'll allow it. The long period of DJ stalling that followed implied to me that Katie Got Bandz was not coming out, to the great disappointment of myself and a select portion of the crowd, but Lil Debbie's fanbase was clearly strong and kept their energy alive. This was a rambunctious crowd of teens ready to tear up downtown Minneapolis before the clock struck midnight, doing the dances not allowed at prom and getting kicked out for pre-gaming. They were determined to make this an exciting show regardless of the circumstances, and it was definitely one of the most hype audiences I'd seen in a while.

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