Tyler, The Creator got busy Thursday night at Fiserv Forum
Tyler, The Creator's Fiserv Forum performance Thursday night was the first big hip-hop show in Milwaukee since the pandemic began and it could not have come at a better time. We seem to be turning the proverbial "corner" and moving closer toward feeling the energy and vibe of being in concert with others. And it was exquisite that my first foray back out allowed me to witness one of the future/current torchbearers for this thing of ours, Californian and enigmatic MC/artist Tyler, The Creator.
Career overview: Tyler surfaced with his crew Odd Future in the mid to late 2000s, the pre-streaming, illegal download era. Hours of left field original hip-hop music. Universally accepted and respected. Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, The Internet and Tyler's crew planted their flag in the ground and carved their own lane to drive themselves to where they are now: dope contributors and influencers, bridging the gap between say, your Jay-Zs and your Lil Babys of the world. Very few artists are capable of connecting with either, let alone both.
I will preface my review by saying I'm an old head -- dyed in the wool, stuck in the '90s, back in my day type, get off my lawn, best generation (X), stubborn ass, old head. Proudly. Old heads know that this has just begun (hip-hop) and they're are so many stones unturned and layers to the discovery onion, and that someone can "rap," whether they are 70 or 17. The key thing that I took away from Thursday is that these acts "perform" with a purpose. There was no mailing it in.
First up: TEEZO TOUCHDOWN. Envelope pushed. Tone set. Between the garage backdrop and the knockoff Home Depot smocks, Teezo Touchdown sent a message. The construction site backdrop was fire and exemplified the mission of the crew. Let's work. Do the knowledge on Teezo Touchdown please. I could write a dissertation on them alone and their uniqueness but another time.VINCE STAPLES. One of the things most admirable and altruistic about Vince Staples is his willingness to speak his truth and belief. I've personally seen/read more about this brother in interviews and blurbs than I had heard any of his music. However, tonight he came with that modern 2022, West Coast, gangbanger-community advocate vibe. Some people grow up and pass down family traditions. In our neck of the woods, we pass down hunting or ice fishing or things of that nature. Vince Staples was handed down Cali gang/community/family culture and his music and persona exuded that mightily at Fiserv Forum. Dope jacket to by the way, Vince.
KALI UCHIS. The moment Ms. Uchis blessed us in the physical, the whirlwind of vibes began. The balance of love and pure flyness put in the air from this performance was magical and a natural and effortless progression from Teezo and Vince Staples. Kali has recorded with some of the greatest artists of her generation, but there's something about her solo work that's fire. She got busy tonight, not only strong vocal presence but an engaging and fun persona, in head to toe red lace lingerie. Gangsta.
TYLER THE CREATOR. Rarely, lately, do we acknowledge the significance and spine-tingliness of that moment when the arena goes dark before the headliner appears. Sometimes they just walk out onstage, some drag it out and appear 10 minutes into it, sometimes they may rise out of the bottom of the stage, sometimes trapeze Cirque de Soleil type energy, or my favorite Big Daddy Kane in the bathtub, even better, Slick Rick on the Throne (The Ruler's Back). I digress. Tyler appeared in the driver's side of an old school Rolls-Royce with the white fur babushka, with a backdrop of a two-story home that remained onstage prop/fixture the whole set. He burned through a career spanning setlist of tracks: "Boredom," "Who Dat Boy," "Wusyaname" and my personal favorite "Tamale" before rounding out the evening with "911."
The vibe was genuine and exceptionally positive, yet thirsty for one of our musical icons. This had to be the most diverse and outgoing representation of what our city is. Tyler got busy. The stage layout was ill and there was a meadow-like second stage portion in the middle of the arena which created an intense intimacy.
A packed house bore witness to one of the future moguls in hip-hop and life at the precipice of fashion, art and culture.
*** Special shout outs to all the parents, aunts and uncles and familial types for bringing loved ones out to this event. This is timeless music and energy that transcends age and demographics, or any other type of construct. The joy in the faces and the heavy bottom bass knock is the unifier and the "Call Me If You Get Lost" tour was a blessing for all in attendance.