Pusha T and Fabulous at Mezzanine



Rappers Fabolous and Pusha T have joined forces, along with MTV Jams and Sean Healy Presents to bring The Life is So Exciting Tour to cities across the country, and worldwide. The tour continued last Sunday night at The Mezzanine in San Francisco, and while many young San Franciscans were recouping from the Bay to Breakers race/party earlier in the day, there was no shortage of fans at the sold out, downtown venue.

The show kicked off with a stellar performance by little known, Oakland native, Darling Bonnie. Her set list may have not been familiar to the crowd (or anyone, for that matter), but her delivery and lyrical content kept heads moving and hands waving from beginning to end. Darling Bonnie’s style embodied, to me, what it might have been like if Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes had been discovered by Jay-Z or Dr. Dre. Needless to say, the young hip-hop artist’s lack of public exposure didn’t hinder her one bit as she warmed up the crowd.

Two subpar openers later, Pusha T, never one for subtleties, hit the stage wearing an apron made out of some sort of reptile (I’m guessing gator?) to match his sweat pants (made out of that same reptile). Even though he only wore the apron for a couple songs, the statement was made: the chef had arrived. King Push opened with his popular intro verse on Kanye West’s remix to “I Don’t Like;” the verse that represented his birth as a solo artist after signing with Kanye’s label G.O.O.D. Music. Pusha’s next couple songs paid homage to his brother and former partner Malice and their group the Clipse, with hits like “Popular Demand,” and their ultra-successful debut single “Grindin’:” the song that launched Pusha’s rap career as a member of The Clipse.

Pusha T, who was mainly promoting his solo album, My Name is My Name (scheduled for release July 16th), had also left ample time in his performance to present a few of his solo pieces. As a fan myself, it was surprising to see how many people in the Bay Area had already memorized the lyrics to his first solo mixtape. Even Pusha T had to give props to certain loyal patrons with a military style salute for studying his solo work so closely. At one point, the crowd went so far as to rap along with the song “Exodus 23:1,” a blatant diss track against Drake, Lil Wayne and the rest of Wayne’s label, YMCMB. Pusha then performed more solo hits from his recent mixtape Fear of God: Let us Pray 2, with more than half of the sold out crowd rapping with him, word for word. The adrenaline in the building had escalated to a point that Pusha took it upon himself to calm down the audience of believers from all the excitement over his new songs. Then he brought the energy right back up, by closing with his biggest single from the My Name is My Name album, “Numbers on the Boards.”

Fabolous, who was also promoting his album, Loso’s Way 2: Rise to Power, did anything but disappoint. His approach may have been different from Pusha T’s in that he started with some of his newer tracks, but the Brooklyn rapper received an incredibly warm welcome. It may have been the songs he contributed to the hip-hop genre over the past twelve years, or it may have been the gold chain with the 49ers medallion, but Fabolous came to the Mezzanine to entertain and did just that. Loso, accompanied by his live band, delivered a bevy of hits, beginning with the song “Transformation” from his 2011 mixtape, The S.O.U.L. Tape 2. Unlike the show in New York City, Fabolous performed without the aid of any special guests. Fortunately for everyone in attendance, Loso’s blend of old and new tracks helped close the night on a significantly strong note.

-Written by Zach Chiappellone and photographed by Ryan Holmes