“People from Harlem are cool cats,” says CK Paton, one half African-American, one half New Zealander who’s had the good fortune to live in both worlds. A$AP Ferg, from Harlem, played Wellington on Friday night to a sold out crowd. Bodega was like a giant mosh pit, which was cool, considering it was a rap concert; proving again, – as a renewed energy asserts itself in Wellington for hip hop and rap – we can actually sell out rap shows.
If I got to talk to Ferg, I’d ask if having such die-hard fans all the way in New Zealand like this was a surprise to him.
“Y’all are way more turnt than Christchurch,” he said at the after party, where his sense of showmanship had him standing on railings and tables — an instinctive reaction to performing in such a tight space, I thought, as I watched him being led out of VIP to hungry fans who’s paid a mere $5 to walk in off the street and witness the ‘Shabba’ star.
As an extra treat, the after party (hosted by Robin Fernando and Mazdef Productions) had Ferg’s DJ play a set at the Blair Street venue – Betty’s Function House. Once the mob members had taken off their white robes and gas masks, it was realised the DJ was TJ Mizell, Jam Master Jay’s son. Before I was told that though (if I’m unashamedly honest), all the gas masks had reminded me of, was Danny Browns lyrics in ‘Terrorist Threats’:
“O,K,K,K. We mobbing like we the black K,K,K… Don’t try to stop it, get in my way. You’ll get stomped like a Broadway play. OK.”
These dudes got me feeling like there’s been a massive shift in the universe.
The A$AP Mob [hometown New York] have built an empire where their subscribers don’t necessarily have to understand or know where they come from, or how they live there; all they have to do is leave their inhibitions at home when they come to a show; once there all that is required is that they lower their head so eyes are floor-focussed, raise their fists above their head and shake it whilst shrugging their shoulders in time to the trap-style BPM (140 or thereabouts). This is how one gets ‘turnt’. Eating ‘lollies’ is also involved. So is spilling your liquor on others while bumping into them on purpose. As A$AP Mob apparel reads ‘A$AP Worldwide’, the crew which is made up of rappers, producers and fashion designers are seemingly recruiting fans who just wanna let go sometimes. The last time I remember such an effect on Welly kids was when Keak Da Sneak and E-40 brought ‘Hyphy’ to the mainstream and Welly kids were hanging out of subbed-out family vans, doors open and swinging as the driver rolled down the street at 10 kilometers an hour. It’s a beautiful thing.
This is what Ferg posted on Instagram about Wellington:
“It’s like they all left their brains at home” my friend Ramya, 25, said; observing Wellington’s particular style of turnt involved alpha males pushing girls out of the way to get a good view of the Trap Lord — weird.
Her brother, Prad, 20, replied, “You have to let go sometimes. If you aren’t people who turn up, then you’re not going to get it. I knew for a fact if I was going to Ferg then I’d have to lose my inhibitions and wild out, it’s part and parcel of the new young breed of hip hop. No one would do that at Jay Z or Common, but the new age is infused with punk almost, did you see the Hood Pope t-shirt? That’s so punk.”
Nevertheless the part that caught me the most, was, amidst all this craziness, and lyrics like “ladies, when that broke ass ni*** cum quick…What you gon’ tell him?…’Get the fuck out my face'”, [actually a fair call] Ferg also asked for the lights to be turned off and lighters and phones to be raised in the air because, he said, ‘I know many of you are on drugs and this is for anybody who’s ever had friends and family O D or friends and family who’ve never come back from drugs’. Mizell then dropped ‘Cocaine Castle‘ off Ferg’s album Trap Lord.
As the after party began to wrap, Ferg came back to his booth to find VIP had been invaded by fans; his champagne had been sprayed everywhere and then a tiny girl standing on the seats screamed really loud and jumped on him so hard he lost balance. He, gentleman-like obliged her (and as short as he is, she was tinier), as he put her back on the seat she’d jumped from and went to look for someone familiar. Ferg had done his job. Well. He left the club looking satisfied, with a look on his face like two down, one to go. He played Auckland next. Shouts out to Marek and Josh for throwing a memorable night for local fans, from Bodega to Betty’s.
The next Robin Fernando gig is Erykah Badu, April 10 in Auckland and School Boy Q and Isaiah Rashad in Wellington, Saturday, June 14th.
WDYFILWHH also has three digital album downloads to giveaway. Just hash tag ‘TRAPLORD’ to our Twitter by Thursday, May 8, 2014 and be in to win.