New York got together with California to cook up a delicious hip-hop chowder on Tuesday evening. The city by the Bay served as the host for a meeting of the minds between Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt, and an entourage of guests. The performers and crowd alike were riding high on the excitement of new releases, and good strong Cali bud.
After an opening set by Queens up-and-comer Remy Banks, the crowd was prompted to “turn up,” and they were happy to oblige when Earl Sweatshirt hit the stage. The floorboards flexed under the inexhaustible energy of OFWGKTA fans. After a nod to E-40’s Bay Area anthem “Tell Me When to Go,” Earl took the time to make sure that everyone in attendance was familiar with the hook from the new track “DNA.” What followed was a glorious group catharsis that can only be achieved by belting out profane rap lyrics. While some of the tracks on I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside sound dark, introverted and subdued on record, when they are blasted at full volume and you are surrounded by a rambunctious mob, they take on new dimension.
After Earl’s set, L.A. producer and DJ heavyweight The Alchemist took his post at the turntables, and deftly kept the crowd at a simmer between sets. When Action Bronson emerged in all his bearded glory, it was like seeing a mythical beast. The energy radiated by the crowd was reflected in the performance, and while Bronson did not do any cartwheels, or stage dives (thank God), he did not miss a line all night. His flow was on point across a range of material including tracks from the brand new album Mr. Wonderful, 2012’s Alchemist produced mixtape Rare Chandeliers, and 2013’s Saaab Stories. Guest appearances by frequent collaborators Meyhem Lauren and Big Body Bess allowed the husky star several entertaining opportunities to catch his breath.
At one point, Bronson stopped and remarked that he has “only been doing this since 2009” and that he is “a fast learner,” which was a welcome reminder that fans can look forward to what is still to come. A single like “Baby Blue” from Mr. Wonderful has potential to break through to a wider audience, and the fact that Bronson can pull it off without compromising his signature griminess is refreshing considering the current climate of glossy Drake singles ruling the mainstream.
Toward the end of his set, perhaps unwittingly, Bronson did a pretty solid Santa impression by pulling out a big shopping bag of gifts for his audience. However, instead of toys the jolly bearded MC distributed edible treats and warned that they were “very powerful.” Then as a farewell he performed a scorching rendition of “Easy Rider” before throwing the mic over his shoulder and riding off into the sunset.