Written by Ryan Lyons
This past winter during the 7th anniversary of J Cole’s Friday Night Lights a good portion of J. Cole's record label performed in Washington D.C including Lute, Earthgang, J.I.D., along with D.C. native Chaz French on their Never Had Shit tour.
A little bit of everybody showed up to the crowded but contained event held at Songbyrd in the Adam’s Morgan district: women with dubie wraps and purple lips, guys with rolled up beanies, rap crews, Hampton University alum, and noticeably older hip hop fans.
If Dreamville is a fleet of expensive cars, JID’s the Porsche, Lute is a classic Lincoln, and Earthgang would clearly be the Cadillac. Depending on your type of drive, Dreamville’s a one stop shop.
I didn’t have any film for my Nikon F4, so I grabbed a couple of disposables from the nearby CVS. During the show, I shot with the flash but a guy with an Illmatic “font” styled Lute shirt told me to turn it off. I ironically missed Lute’s set, I had been looking forward to seeing the most, due to the CVS pickup and trouble at the door. How was I supposed to know that a rap concert would start on time?
"Colorful outfits aside, It’s clear the true party doesn’t get started until JID walks in. Remisicnent of Lil Wayne with elongated flows and equally impressive punchlines, J.I.D. steals the show but equally brings it together." - Ryan Lyons
The sound at Songbyrd during their set would forbid a new fan from really getting into Earthgang, aside from the fact that they prompted the fans to put middle fingers up and say, “Fuck Donald Trump.” Johnny Venus wore the goggles from their “Robots” visual, while Doctor Doc opted for a cheetah printed jacket and a ninja styled Doo Rag.
Colorful outfits aside, It’s clear the true party doesn’t get started until JID walks in. Remisicnent of Lil Wayne with elongated flows and equally impressive punchlines, J.I.D. steals the show but equally brings it together. He’s a clear showmen speaking in D.C. terminology, “Kill moe,” and finding ways to relate to his crowd while rallying with his rap compadres.
It’s not so awkward that in 2017 there’s a crowd full of rap fans singing the hook to a song about a man’s heartbreak and singing intently without a pause. Watching the crowd sing, “Hereditary”, is a lesson in modern masculinity.
My sister, who accompanied me to the show and favored J.I.D. said, “It must be because he’s from East Atlanta.” True indeed, Atlanta’s a hotbed for talent right now and the south has been holding hip hop in its orbit for quite sometime.
They say that a car loses it’s value as soon as it rolls off the lot, but it’s safe to say that within Dreamville, Hip Hop and J Cole have a fair hand.