The anticipation was sky high at the Theater of the Living Arts (TLA) on Wednesday, May 10, as eager hip-hop enthusiasts awaited the Grammy award winner and Hustle Gang founder, Tip “T.I.” Harris. His wide discography, dating back from the early 2000’s to the present, brought out a wide variety of music fans: some in suits dancing with a fine whiskey, others decked out from head to toe in their official Hustle Gang merchandise, and all there to see a legend.
As we arrived, RaRa was taking the stage. As one of Hustle Gang’s many touring openers, RaRa brought a real gangsta rap vibe to the stage with three or four songs filled with references to women, money, and drugs. With his own blinged-out World Star music videos projected on the wall behind him, he attempted to get the crowd ready for the Hustle Gang head honcho, and the crowd responded with a minimal stir. It became apparent the crowd was all there for T.I. and wouldn’t be satisfied until they got him.
Following RaRa, the energetic Tokyo Jetz took the stage, bringing with her what felt like a sample platter of her sound. With short songs that ranged from West Coast Bayside bangers to a chanting trap song the audience could participate in, Tokyo Jetz had the crowd jamming out with her.
Another short Hustle Gang set was up after Tokyo Jets, and Yung Booke hit the stage to bring a melodic Atlanta style flow to the stage. Dropping OTW, a song that he has out with T-Pain, he had the crowd coming out of their shells and starting to dance. Ending his set with featured guest London Jae and a Snapchat video of “How lit Philly can get,” Yung Booke had the TLA buzzing.
As the crowd grew in size and anticipation, it was a perfect time for Texas rap legend Trae Tha Truth to come out and drop some street knowledge. He brought an air of power and confidence in his craft that the whole building could recognize. Cutting out the beats repeatedly to flex his jam-packed lyrics, Trae Tha Truth had the fans’ full attention aimed at the stage.
The air was thick and almost every fan in the venue had their phone out and ready to capture the first moments of T.I.’s performance as he stepped onto the stage. Suddenly the crowd went into an uproar and the headlining moment had finally come. In a brand new (old school logo) Philadelphia Phillies hat, sunglasses, a black tee, and a few impressive gold chains, T.I. slowly took center stage, staring out into the audience as they screamed and applauded for the main man they had all come to see.
As soon as the set began the whole room was rocking out with T.I.. When he moved, the crowd followed instantly, hanging onto his every word, even with the overpowered sound system that made understanding him unfortunately difficult. After playing a few of his hits such as ‘Whatever You Like’ and ‘Bring Them Out’, he shared the stage with Young Dro who began getting the crowd even more hyped with a mix of both his songs and a few more with T.I.. After a few other guests hit the stage, including Philly rap-legend Freeway, the crowd was fully satisfied and left knowing they had experienced nothing short of an amazing night of hip-hop. Hustle Gang delivered an awesome night of rap and that surely satisfied the whole range of enthusiasts filling the TLA.
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[Photos by C2H2 Photo]
[Article by Samuel Fawks]
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