Joey Bada$$ at The TLA

Bob Marley once said “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain” and that perfectly describes how the feeling of the Joey Bada$$ show in Philly on November 7th when Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew performed along aside Vince Staples. Before the show had even started, people were roaming South Street talking about the show and how excited they were to see Pro Era perform. From the very beginning, until the very last song, the entire crowd had their hands up and knew almost every word to every track. It was not a typical hip-hop concert here in Philadelphia where people just come for one artist and leave mid way through the show. Instead this show was all about the fans showing their appreciation for all of the artists performing.

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The show started with each member of Pro Era getting a chance to showcase their individual style to the crowd. Nyck Caution kicked it off, bringing a lot of energy to the crowd and getting them warmed up for the rest of the Pro Era crew. Next was Dyemond Lewis, who was followed by Kirk Knight. Knight performed his hit single “Extortion” which the crowd loved. He received an incredible response from the audience which actually led to him performing that song two more times. After Kirk Knight, CJ Fly came out and calmed the crowd down as they focused more on his word play than his stage performance. Fly had a great set and brought out many of his fellow Pro Era members to perform with him. One of our favorite moments was when he brought out Dirty Sanchez to perform “Ernee” which is a highlight track off of CJ’s mixtape “Thee Way Eye See It”. After CJ Fly’s set it was up to Vince Staples to show Philadelphia his skill set and prepare them for the headliner, Joey Bada$$.

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When Vince Staples came out, the crowd exploded. Vince had not preformed here in Philadelphia in a while so many fans, like us, had been waiting a long time to see him grace the stage again. Everyone’s hands were up, and everyone was bouncing along to the beat while trying to snap a photo on their cell phone of Vince performing. Vince paid a lot of attention to the Philly faithful and kept commenting on the level  of energy the crowd was giving him. He also gave shout outs to many other artists he works with, such as Mac Miller and Ab Soul, as he performed his verse from their the projects they had collaborated on. Vince wore very plain clothes as if to highlight how much he focuses on his music and did not care about a lot of flashy jewelry. We have seen many young artists perform live but there was something about the energy Vince put into his verses that left a mark on the entire crowd. Vince released his debut album “Hell Can Wait” on October 7th of this year, so most of the tracks he performed were from that project. He started his set off with “65 Hunnid” and ended the set with one of our favorites, “Blue Suede”, which has a great music video online as well. Vince did a great job of controlling the crowd and definitely boosted the energy in the room, making sure the fans were ready for Joey Bada$$.

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As the crowd chanted “Joey! Joey!” Joey Bada$$ came out onto the stage performing one of his most popular songs, “95’ Till Infinity”. The entire venue was jumping and watching his every move. The crowd recited every lyric to every song which was their way of showing how much they appreciated Joey Bada$$’s music. Bada$$ was feeling so good he told his DJ, Statik Selektah, to turn the beat off mid way through his track “World Domination” and proceeded to rap the rest of the song acapella. After that, he preformed his new single “Christ Conscious” which was clearly a crowd favorite. Joey preformed all of his songs with tons of emotion, even some of the songs that typically would be a slower song if not performed live. Towards the end of the performance, he played a tribute song for the late “Capital Steez” which was something each Pro Era member had done throughout their sets as well. Bada$$, along with the entire Pro Era crew that had joined him on stage, asked for a moment of silence and the crowd went completely quiet. That was definitely the most moving part of the entire show and it was amazing to see the crowd showed Joey Bada$$ and his crew such genuine respect. Joey even recognized that fact and commented how that had been the most respectful moment of silence they had received throughout the entire tour. To end his set on a high note, Joey asked the crowd to make a huge circle in the center of the venue, creating a mosh pit in the middle. He finished his set with his hit “Survival Tactics” which had the crowd in virtual riot mode. All members of Pro Era were jumping around on stage and you could tell it was a great ending to an awesome show. The performers had a great time and all the fans that had came out to see a great show, left with even more than expected.

[Article by Alex Hawkins-Dix. Photos by Sam Cones]

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