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ScHoolboy Q Concert Review

ScHoolboy Q
October 24th, 2016
The Midland - Kansas City, MO

ScHoolboy Q
ScHoolboy Q makes rap music for gangbangers and frat boys alike. The rugged Top Dawg rap star made his return to the metro on Monday night for a performance more comprehensive than his ill-fated Liberty Hall show two years ago.

Q is revered for his modernized West Coast gangsta rap and flaunted this strength early on in his set with aggressive renditions of "Gangsta" and "By Any Means." Although his set was never fully derailed, fans would be hard pressed to find moments more impressive than these two. In his finest hour, Q's blunt, sneering delivery and effortless charisma allow him to shine in a fashion similar to that of Death Row Records' most talented emcees.

After his first few songs, Q paused to lament his Lawrence appearance that was cut short due to a curfew. Q mentioned that he hoped a curfew was not in place for the evening. He also encouraged the crowd's participation with an offhanded notice that he often ends shows he's not enjoying early by 30 minutes.

Q's temper took center stage on more than one occasion in the evening. His new DJ was in the middle of his first night on the job and botched the beginning of multiple songs to the point where Q threatened to kick him off the stage.

Mishaps and soft threats aside, a majority of Q's hits went off without a hitch. "Hell Of A Night" -- a track that nails every item on a "party song" checklist -- had every able-bodied fan jumping up and down. "Collard Greens" showed "Groovy Q" at his grooviest, bouncing across the stage and rapping a large chunk of his absent partner Kendrick Lamar's verse.

The crowd at The Midland was filled with college kids who could've partied along all night, but Q cut out portions of his set to give himself a chance to breathe. The first break gave Q time to thank his loyal fans for his success and the ability to give his daughter a quality education. The other break, later on in the show, consisted of innuendo-heavy sex jams "Studio" and "Overtime" from his two most recent albums.

Due to their continued problems, Q was forced to pause between many songs to huddle up with his DJ and plot out the next segment of the show. These interruptions made for a less-than-fluid set that occasionally took the pep out of the audience. Q's performance of his verse on A$AP Ferg's "Work (Remix)" could've easily been a high point if it hadn't been flanked by complete silence.

Joey Bada$$
While Q was no longer performing with the same vitality as he was in his first handful of songs, two songs in the final half hour of the evening allowed him to reclaim a tight grip on the audience. Several friends joined him on stage for "Tookie Knows II" -- the final song on his new album "Blank Face LP." The song's oldtimey pianos and grim lyrics paint Q as something of a cross between a loyal Crip and a Mafia boss. His group of boisterous associates wandering around him on stage certainly didn't discourage this comparison.  

The final song of the evening was Q's most recent radio hit "THat Part." Like he did before with Kendrick's verse, Q rapped through Kanye West's verse on the song and led the crowd in a massive singalong.

As "THat Part" concluded, Q left the stage unceremoniously with only a quick farewell. The end of the concert prompted hundreds of fans to stick around for minutes hoping for an encore -- most likely due to Q's speedy departure and the mixed signals of house lights being raised, but no house music being played. The remaining audience slowly filed out and a meandering evening of rough-and-tumble hip-hop came to an end.

New York rapper Joey Bada$$ took on the duty of opening the Blank Face Tour. Joey's material -- and that of his group Pro Era -- is overwhelmingly influenced by 90's New York acts like Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep. The emcee's half hour was like a Brooklyn subway train barreling through several stations. The only true stop was to dedicate the fan favorite "Survival Tactics" to his group's fallen member Capital Steez.

Joey's boxer-like stance and emphatic delivery makes it nearly impossible for any fan of classic hip-hop to dislike him. Besides channeling golden age heroes like no other New Yorker, Joey successfully pulled from his Jamaican heritage by toasting on a song or two and implementing the occasional dancehall instrumental. His set was ended with his most recent single "Devastated" -- a song that offers a departure into pop crossover territory and wins at creating a triumphant mood.

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