Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Los Angeles rapper Kid Ink is currently riding a successful pop run. For a man who's most recognizable hit is the track "Show Me," a song with Chris Brown that has been played incessantly on the radio and in strip clubs everywhere ever since it dropped, his overall catalog is more impressive than just a collection of YouTube videos. These songs seem to translate better into live performance.
The 28-year-old, significantly tattooed rapper hit the Fine Line last night with Atlanta's Zach Farlow, who isn't lacking in the ink department either.
Farlow climbed upon stage to a backdrop of shrieking young girls in various stages of undress. Each time he approached the crowd, female hands reached out to caress his legs and reach for his crotch. His pants sagged below his entire ass, and a bejeweled bracelet graced his arm. A bro in a baseball cap emblazoned with the word "DOPE" stood impossibly still, directly in the center of the raging crowd, looking lost. "Get rich or get high!" Farlow proclaimed. Girls everywhere were glued to their cellphones, watching the show through the eye of their iPhone camera lenses.
Farlow was a confident performer. About half way through his set, he took his shirt off to flaunt a nicely sculpted body. He moved gracefully about the stage, at times rambling somewhat incoherently into the microphone, and continuing to sing along with the backing track provided by his DJ. His songs are a reflection of the pain of his youth -- while intervening in an attempted robbery, he was stabbed -- as well as his aspirations.
It was clear that he had an intriguing singing voice, yet it was at times difficult to hear over the vocals in the backing track, which seemed to be Auto-tuned. "He sounds perfect, like Britney Spears!" a fan remarked to her friend. She proceeded to provide her own review: "Obviously he has good tattoos and a nice body. It sounds good, but I just can't tell if he's really that talented."
After Farlow's performance, Audio Perm again played some songs for the restless crowd. Draped in gold chains, he blazed through an interesting mixture YG's "My Nigga" and M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." When he launched into a track mixed with an LMFAO beat (remember that "I'm in Miami, trick!" song by them?) a drunken conga line addled towards the front of the room. Girls were fanning themselves violently with Farlow's mixtapes, as the temperature inside had risen about ten degrees and the crowd had thickened considerably.
Outside, girls were clustered into two distinct groups: those wearing flip-flops, and those teetering in sky-high stripper heels. The flip-flop girls looked comfortable in casual skirts and tank tops, while the stripper heel girls were swaddled tightly in mini dresses and adorned with carefully styled hair and painstakingly painted-on makeup. Past the fence, a line to the front door was still moving slowly.
Cameras were poised and ready as Kid Ink busted out of the backstage area and ran upon the stage, followed by a hype guy hiding behind dark sunglasses. Girls screamed, Strobe lights flashed, the scent of weed permeated our nostrils, and more clouds of smoke rose above the chaos. Kid Ink crept alongside his hype man in fluid movements, his booming voice seemingly too large to be emanating from such a slight frame.
During "Bossin' Up," Kid Ink moved towards the crowd, his pants falling lower around his waist. Girls again screamed hideously, reaching for his genitals and grabbing at his thighs. "Any of my ladies got any tattoos?" he asked. Sadly, there weren't any ladies who came forward to show theirs. Despite the sad response to his inquiry, he moved aggressively into "Tattoo of my Name," to an enthusiastic crowd response. His stage presence was huge, and the energy level in the room seemed impossibly high. A bouncer standing on the stairs to the left of the stage was imitating the ridiculous dance moves of the girls behind the barricade.
Several songs into his set, Kid Ink removed his windbreaker and threw it into the crowd. A small fight appeared to break out as girls scrambled to claim the coat as their own. Then he lit a blunt, teasing the audience with it as he took a few hits. Eventually he handed the blunt to a lucky girl, who managed to inhale one big hit before it was swiftly confiscated by security. The hype guy poured water over the audience, drenching our notebook in the process. "Where your lighters at?," he asked. Lighters were thrown upon the stage, and efficiently removed just as quickly as they appeared by a Fine Line staff member.
Kid Ink's music is totally club-friendly, and fun to dance to. At times it veers into harder territory, but still maintains a danceable feel. He appears cocksure and displays a sincere amount of swag. "Fuck the haters," he exclaimed, before moving into "I Don't Care." His rhymes were confident, almost triumphant at times.
"I'm just tryin' to make sure you're having the time of your fucking life, man," he said. And then, the moment everyone was waiting for: "Show Me." People yelled the words out, grinded up against one another, and leaned over the railings in VIP. Kid Ink made sure to crack a crooked smile up at them. At this point he was entirely shirtless, the glory of all of his tattoos illuminated by a glistening sheen of beaded sweat.
After closing out his set with "Main Chick," another track featuring Chris Brown, Kid Ink whipped out a fat black permanent marker and began autographing everything in sight. People were throwing hats onto the stage, which he signed and returned to the crowd. Finally, a couple of bras were thrown at him. He inscribed the inside of their cups and threw them back. His smile never broke. He exited the stage to the beginning bars of DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What," which blasted from the speakers, keeping the party going. People seemed confused as to whether the concert was actually over or not. It was still quite early -- not even midnight.
Critic's Bias: I actually really like Kid Ink! "Show Me" is one of my signature stage songs when I'm dancing.
Random notebook dump: I've never seen someone so happy to pick up a random water bottle cap than a bro who grabbed one thrown by Kid Ink's hype man.
The crowd: Flip-flop girls vs. stripper heel girls.
Round & Round
Get Rich & Get High
How It Goes
Kid Ink: His DJ promised to e-mail me the set list, but at the time of submission has not yet done so. If I do receive it tomorrow, I'll be sure to update this review!
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS
53 things you might not know about Prince
73 things you might not know about Bob Dylan
Brother Ali: My fans are kicking the sh*t out of me over Trayvon Martin
Here's why we didn't sign the Foo Fighters photo waiver
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list