Fall Jam ‘16 will inevitably go down as one of the most exciting Twin Cities concerts of 2016’s closing weeks. Though the Bronx’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was a no-show Sunday at Myth, the rest of the bill -- Lil Bibby, Young M.A, and Young Thug -- still made for a night of thrills.
Hailing from Chicago, Lil Bibby has a big fanbase in Minnesota, plus his DJ -- Twitter star Kam Bennett -- is from here. Bibby opened with the menacing, piano-driven “Ain’t Heard Bout You,” aka “Kill Shit Pt. 2,” a track with his longtime collaborator G Herbo. If you attended Friday night’s 21 Savage/G Herbo show at Myth, you might have been disappointed that Herb didn’t play the original “Kill Shit.” Fortunately Bibby did, and the crowd reacted with the excitement one would expect to accompany what’s arguably the best-rapped track in the brief history of Chicago “drill music.”
Next, Brooklyn’s Young M.A made a big impression with a boisterous and playful set. Performing in Minnesota for the first time, she quickly dispelled the notion that her mega-hit, “OOOUUU,” will render her a one-hit wonder.
M.A opened with her remix of Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm,” establishing herself as a young NYC rapper who’s loyal to the history of East Coast hip-hop. Of course, it was the Hennessey-fueled, deliriously fun “OOOUUU” that generated the most excitement. She played the song twice, and both times it seemed like every last soul in the building was rapping along, particularly relishing lines like, “You call her Stephanie? I call her Headphanie!”
M.A finished her performance before 10 p.m., and it wasn’t until after 11 that the night’s main attraction, Atlanta superstar Young Thug, arrived.
It was a long wait, but once he took the stage, opening with last year’s “With That” and its sublime, mesmerizing chorus, the crowd was fully engaged. From there, Thug exhibited impressive control over the crowd, like when he got everyone to shout, “Welcome home, Guwop!” in reference to Gucci Mane’s relatively recent release from prison, leading into a performance of his great Gucci collab, “Again.”
While Thug played old songs like “Stoner” and “2 Bitches” (aka “Danny Glover”), newer records like “Memo,” “Digits,” “Slime Shit,” and “Pick Up the Phone” showed that, five years into the game, he continues to be one of our most inventive rappers. The crowd seemed to tire partway through Thugger’s set, with a couple of his biggest songs, “Lifestyle” and set-closer “Best Friend,” receiving less-crazed reactions.
Regardless, the performance was worth the wait. The notion that Thug is a supremely “weird” artist in the current rap landscape might suggest his performances are too quirky and impersonal. But last night he delivered a set that was effective in traditional ways, while still managing to highlight his idiosyncrasies.
Critic’s bias: While I normally consider myself to be less of a Young Thug fan than many other music writers, I found myself getting excited to the point of feeling like a super-fan while waiting for him to take the stage.
The crowd: Roughly half-male, half-female. There was a surprising number of elementary-school-age kids who attended the show with their parents.
Overheard in the crowd: “Watch me work my magic,” a guy standing next to me said to his friend before walking over to hit on a young woman. It didn’t seem like a very magical encounter, as it was pretty clear she wasn’t interested.
Random notebook dump: I’d guess 15-20 percent of this audience was under the impression that Young M.A is a man.