It feels like forever since I wrote a concert review. I wasn’t even planning on going to this show because the ticket prices were too expensive, and I haven’t really been a huge T.I. fan since around 2010; but by the luck of the draw, I was able to win some tickets the day before the show. I used to be a big T.I. fan back when I was in high school, back when Trap Muzik first came out and Tip was also featured on Bone Crusher’s one-hit-wonder “Never Scared”. I used to cut my hair short and wear my hats crooked like him sometimes in high school, as he released a new album for almost every year I was there, becoming a bigger name with each release. His albums were consistently solid, but then as the years passed I slowly lost interest in his newer music, to the point where I haven’t even heard his latest album which he’s currently touring for: Paperwork.
I had to get to the venue early to claim my free tickets, so I experienced all the waiting through opening acts. The first group to perform wasn’t bad, they were a pair of rappers from Toronto who looked like twins. They did a solid job at rocking the crowd. I didn’t really pay attention to the second opening act; he seemed like one of those stereotypical male-stripper rappers who was all energy, no bars. There was about a one hour wait after that, which wasn’t so bad because this show had more ladies attending than most rap concerts. T.I. finally got on stage shortly after midnight.
I didn’t recognize the first song T.I. came out to, but then he quickly got into some throwbacks with “Top Back” and “Rubber Band Man”. Soon he got into one of my favourites, “24’s”, and a fight broke out between two guys who seemed to be after the same chick. I think they took their fight outside before the song ended and the show kept going smoothly. T.I. got into some songs by other artists he collaborated with, including “Bugatti” by Future, a song I didn’t recognize by B.o.B., and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.
T.I. took off his jacket, letting his gold chain light up the room, and continued into a segment for the ladies with songs like “Why You Wanna”, “Whatever You Like”, and played Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” before performing “No Mediocre”. He then took off one of his shirts and did some more hardcore tracks like “U Don’t Know Me” and “What Up, What’s Haapnin'”, and a few newer songs I didn’t recognize. Next, T.I. would take a bit of a break and let some special guests take over the stage.
T.I. brought out P Reign to perform his song “DNF”, and after the second chorus played, Drake came out to perform his verse! The energy of the crowd got turned up tenfold when Drake got on stage. He saluted T.I., telling us about how Tip gave him advice early in his career that helped him gain all his success today. Drake then performed three of his own songs. I’m not the biggest fan of Drake’s music, so the only song I recognized out of the three was “0 to 100”.
After Drake left, T.I. came back out and got into a medley of his hits, performing just the choruses from “ASAP”, “Swing Ya Rag”, and a few other songs. He then performed some of his other hits like “Bring Em Out”, “Big Sh** Poppin'” and “Live Your Life”, rapping accapella for some of the verses. By now he was down to his beater, wearing his t-shirt on his head like a do-rag. After performing another favourite of mine, “What You Know”, he thanked everyone for their support and reminded us that Paperwork is in stores, and then performed one last song off that album which I didn’t recognize. He then ripped his beater in half and walked off the stage. I feel like T.I. has a deep enough catalogue to have an encore routine, but most of the crowd left right away to rush the coat-check rather than staying and chanting.
Overall, T.I. gave a solid performance. While there was a lot of rapping along to his own recording, he still spit some live verses and even went accapella a few times to show off his flow and lyricism. He showed that his strength as an artist is writing memorable choruses that the crowd knows to chant with him. He also showed some solid stage presence, throwing water on the crowd at times to bring the energy out of them, and sometimes running up as if he was about to stage dive (he didn’t actually jump though).
The Kool Haus was a great venue as usual. It wasn’t as packed as when the Wu-Tang Clan was here about a year ago, and the crowd wasn’t as energetic as when Hopsin was here back in May, but it was still a fun time. I noticed a lot of the crowd spent most of their time with their phones out instead of living in the moment. From all the shows I’ve been to, I can say this happens more with artists who get a lot of play on radio and television. I also noticed people were a little selfish, pushing through the line for the coat check afterwards. There are some shows where people go to enjoy music with like-minded fans, and there are shows where people go to say they were in the same room as someone famous. T.I. has the musical integrity to have the former, but this crowd seemed more like the latter.
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