The year is 2019 – Baby Keem walks onstage in front of a packed audience in Los Angeles, California. This is one of his first performances ever, the last of six shows that comprised the highly-anticipated ‘Die For My Bitch Tour’. The air is nothing if not rarified – Drake is somewhere in the building, fans murmur about celebrity sightings like Taco and Cuco, and the excitement is so palpable that you can practically see the energy erupting from Keem’s earliest diehard fans. As you could expect, the show was an enormous success, and since then I have been actively trying to fill the Keem-shaped hole in my heart in an attempt to re-experience that kind of feeling again.
Last Thursday, I was finally successful.
On May 12 I had the pleasure of attending the final LA show of Yeat’s sold-out ‘2 Alivë’ tour at The Fonda Theater. After Yeat’s performance at the Roxy got shut down earlier this year, I knew that nothing on this fucking planet was going to prevent me from being at this event. Upon arrival, I took quick note of my surroundings: insane line (which is usually a good sign), appropriately priced merchandise for fans itching for a souvenir, and a ton – I mean A TON – of turbans. I understand that part of Yeat’s brand focuses on the turban, but I frankly did not expect this many people to show up and show out like this. It was like going to a Halloween party, in a way, and despite feeling a little bit alienated I chalked it up to youthful excitement.
Despite this, I actually noticed that the demographic of the audience was much more varied than expected. An earlier version of this article included a best-dressed segment, but due to poor photo quality and some dubious background characters, I decided to scrap it in favor of painting you a word picture of the people I saw there. A boy with his father, a group of teenagers wearing culturally-questionable attire, a man wearing a hoodie with that Caucasian Kanye photo, another kid with a shirt that said “Gaslighting isn’t real, You’re just crazy”, two women that both looked like that goth girl from Total Drama Island, a literal child (that knew every word to every song performed), a guy I went to elementary school with, and most importantly: a ton of young artists. Above all else, it warmed my heart knowing that the next generation of builders and creatives were going to be inspired by the wise words of Yeat.
As to the actual performances – Septembersrich did a great job and I was surprised at how many of his songs the crowd knew. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on him, but he had a ton of energy and did a great job (along with the DJ that followed after him) setting the stage for Yeat. By the time Yeat came on, the audience was more than ready to get luh gëëky with their king. Everybody in that crowd knew all the words and their inflections perfectly, and while Yeat performed tracks like “Gët Busy” and “Dub”, they moshed in graceful symmetry. Cups went flying at random intervals, bodies thrashed into each other, and with every song played, the crowd only seemed to get more and more energized. Unfortunately, Yeat’s set was only half an hour long – and the setlist was comprised of playing fragments of around 15 tracks instead of the entirety of seven or eight. While some people might prefer this over the alternative, it felt a little bizarre to not only trim songs like”Gët Busy” but also exclude fan-favorite tracks like “Trëndy way” from the setlist.
These issues are largely unimportant, however, and ultimately what mattered most that night was Yeat’s performance and the energy inside the venue – both of which were outright incredible. There’s truly nothing better than seeing a young rap star at their earliest shows, a critical time when both the music and hype are both off the charts. There’s never been a better time to be a Yeat fan, and this show was a perfect testament to this. While I’m praying Yeat hits the road soon, I’m fine with letting our hero get some rest before he comes back better than ever – but when Yeat circles back to LA, you can bet that I’ll be there.