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You Don't Deserve This Concert Review

You Don't Deserve This (Rory Fresco & Gee Watts)
June 3rd, 2017
The Downtown - Kansas City, MO

Rory Fresco
Over a dozen Kansas City hip-hop artists banded together on Saturday for a special concert titled You Don't Deserve This. Co-headlined by Rory Fresco and Gee Watts, nearly every rapper on the bill put on their best performances of the year and some put on the best of their careers.

Several hundred fans packed a sweaty room at The Downtown building on Saturday evening. Its windows were quickly pried open in hopes of cooling things off. The unassuming two-story structure is located in an industrial district that's fairly desolate after the work day ends. Flashing lights and cuts from DJ Quan-Chi seeping from the second floor room were the only signs of life for several blocks.

The show was opened by newcomer and last minute addition Kaleb Tune, followed by Kye Colors. Colors' evoked crazed screams from a handful of fans as he performed a couple old favorites and debuted his new single "House Party." Kye popped up again during the next set with Dame. As Dame's final track "2 Girlfriends" ended, Kye snatched the mic and petitioned Quan-Chi to cue up his remix verse.

J-Tone and A'Sean performed a joint set that included their popping-on-SoundCloud party track "Fatal Attraction," "Today" with Dettsa, and an unreleased solo track from A'Sean. The duo was backed by an electric guitarist and although some of his licks complemented some of the songs, they were not properly mixed into the PA and often drowned out the other instrumentals.

The next two to perform were also well-acquainted with each other. City Watts put on a lively and aggressive set, engaging the crowd more successfully than in many past performances. City brought out Vion, a recent addition to the Caviart family, for one of his first appearances as a member. Riley followed with an equally-tough set and handed the microphone to Sahvannes for a performance of a new song with Riley's go-to producer Bruiser3100.

Gee Watts took the stage after his Caviart team departed. Before jumping into his set, Gee hoisted his young, smiling daughter onto the stage and announced his dedication to making a good life for her. After she was safe and sound back in the crowd, Gee launched into a set that reminded everyone in the room -- if they made the mistake of forgetting -- of his lyricism and sheer power as a performer. Recent sets have seen Gee opening for touring acts like Curtis Williams or Lil Pump where he has been at the mercy of uninterested crowds anxiously awaiting rappers they recognize. Gee's set took place in the moment where the venue was at its fullest. Its attendees immediately latched onto him due to his authentic speech about his daughter and easy charm. With his city behind him, "Grammys" felt more triumphant than ever. He also performed his unreleased song "Did It Again" for the second time, spawning several mosh pits through its epic five minute run time.

Kye Colors
Directly preceding Rory Fresco's set, his close ally Dettsa performed a few songs of his own. The lights at the rear of the stage were flipped to a menacing red as Dettsa strutted onto the stage. His first track of the set, "Go Crazy," evoked the wildest crowd response yet (outside of Watts' "Did It Again") as Dettsa's friends flooded the stage to bounce along with him. Before rounding out his time with "Tough Luck," Dettsa performed "Been Had." His first mixtape, "Who Listens When God Doesn't," is a bit less focused than his current material, but this grimy throwback track set a fire under his day one supporters.

After a bit of quick preparation, Rory Fresco emerged with Dettsa at his side, careening across the stage to their track "Uber Thru The Hills." The pair offer an entertaining dynamic when they're together. They both maintain a "pretty boy" image, but Dettsa often brings tougher, denser lyricism to the table while Rory puts his energy into crafting arena-ready hooks and melodies. Rory offered up other popular tracks of his like "Runnat" and "Lowkey," as well as one or two unreleased joints from his upcoming release "Teen Spirit. SuperShaqGonzoe also popped in to hang out for "Lottery" and perform his own "Bounce."

While this set was one of his longest and highly-orchestrated yet, it was also Rory's most honest and emotional. At other performances he usually has just offered quick thank you's and the usual rap show banter. At this show, Rory took at least two separate moments to thoroughly thank his growing fanbase for its support and reflect on his recent successes. Plenty of artists abandon their roots at the first signs of fame, but Rory made it clear that he intends to stand up for Kansas City whenever  necessary.

Saturday night's show was also produced almost completely by the artists performing at it. The room was rented out from friends, the artists and their management handled promotion, and familiar faces staffed the show. You Don't Deserve This was the latest in a growing line of spectacular nights for Kansas City's newest hip-hop scene, and perhaps its most spectacular yet. With Gee commanding the mic, Rory poised to dominate the pop charts, and a litter of other incredible talents, Kansas City hip-hop has never been more ready to take on the world.

Full photo gallery here.

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