On a cold evening at The End, a collective of rappers gathered to showcase their skills to a crowd consisting of adolescents to middle aged bikers who looked as if they had been transposed from Sons of Anarchy to the Elliston Place venue. The crowd wasn’t the only diverse assembly in the place, as the rappers ranged from high schoolers to thirty-somethings of all colors and creeds, associated by one thing: hip-hop.
The obviously annoyed owner gazed on from the bar as a myriad of supporters showered every performer in positivity. The show began with the “Fiji Boys,” a duo hailing from Hillwood High School, performing in their first show. Any apprehensiveness the two had before, was quickly wiped away by the bouncing crowd encouraging the two to abandon any anxiety and let loose.
Following these two, the next artist to catch my eye went by the name of Ricky Wavy. As he entered the stage with his backpack still on, I began to doubt the potency of his performance, but my doubts were quickly quashed as Ricky shouted and jumped to every lyric he uttered, and electrified the eager crowd to a frenzy of jumping. After four songs and his backpack proceeding to fall off from all of the jumping, Ricky was finished, and drenched in sweat. From then on the crowd had come to life and was fully warmed up.
Several other rappers followed, but it was Travis Karter who next captured the crowd. The John’s Hopkins freshman, had a large contingency of rabid fans and adherents wearing his merch. Karter came onto the stage, put his ski goggles over his eyes, and went to work. The crowd went wild as he performed songs most every fan knew, and others quickly came to sing along to. Karter finished his electrifying set by performing his first song ever, effectively capturing Travis’s journey in music. After Travis’s set much of the crowd vanished, showing just how popular he has become in the city at such a young age.
However, even after Travis’s energy packed set, the best performance was to come. Many artists followed, and many fans left. The show was growing less and less hype until it was time for Ronin Black to hit the stage. He began the show in front of a small crowd, as many had gathered outside, either to smoke or talk, but Ronin had enough. He jumped off the stage and hit the door with one of the most ferocious shoves I have ever seen in my life and screamed at the outside patrons to get back inside. Quickly, and to my surprise, they all followed. Ronin’s brother and fellow rapper Jdoughblay hit the stage and performed Jdough’s song “Pull Up” together and the crowd went ballistic. Jdough swung from pole to pole alongside the pit like Spiderman and jumped into the crowd with his dreads swinging in the wind.
This one song left me speechless. A fledgling crowd was brought to frenzy by the pure energy the brothers brought, and by the quality of the music they were performing. Following this Ronin performed his song “Ray Gun” by himself and kept the crowd at a subdued hysteria for the entire song. A minor moshpit ensued and a still angry Ronin exited the stage.
Nephw followed this madness with a different vibe that played well with the tiring crowd. After his first two songs a chant began and it began staggeringly clear that the people wanted to hear “West End.” After a number of people gathered in the center exclaimed to Nephw that they too attended West End, the music began and most in the crowd sung along with every word.
The show was wrapped up with a duo performance between Gerald Del Monte and Kemosabi. The two continued the energy that had been building all night long, and finished the evening performing “Out the Mud,” and dazzling onlookers.
The recap video should be up within the coming week.