What makes SonReal unique? “I am very different from anything [you’ve] ever heard,” he told The Triangle before his June 21 show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. SonReal, a Canadian hip-hop phenomenon, opened for Jon Bellion on their second night touring together. “I haven’t even had time to process it,” SonReal said. Best known for his new song “Can I Get A Witness,” SonReal took the stage and immediately won his audience over by throwing ping-pong balls into the crowd.
It’s no repose to say most of the crowd on June 21 was at the Trocadero to see Jon Bellion. In fact, the venue was packed far before Bellion even came on — fans were genuinely excited to see SonReal. “It’s been a humbling experience,” SonReal said in regards to his fans’ presence. SonReal played several of his popular rap songs including “Preach” and “Everywhere We Go,” but made sure to interact with fans by having them chant and cheer along with his lyrics. After SonReal would say “Everywhere we go,” a lyric from his song, the audience would, at his signal, chant back “we go,” demonstrating his extraordinary ability to connect with the fans and creating a jubilant atmosphere.
SonReal would have made a mistake leaving the venue without playing his song “Can I Get A Witness.” The song has nearly three million plays on Spotify and, as SonReal said, “I think it’s just starting [to blow up].” The catchy song really stole the show.
“The beat is kind of dancey, kind of poppy, kind of rappy … I don’t even know what it is. But that’s what we strive for; being different than other people … I’m really proud of that song. The response has been incredible,” he said.
Although the artist didn’t end the show with that song, SonReal certainly hooked his audience into enjoying the rest of his set. SonReal is releasing a new EP entitled “The Name” August 12.
After SonReal’s set, Jon Bellion took the stage. Bellion released “The Human Condition,” his debut album, June 10. The album is arguably one of the most creative hip-hop albums of 2016, combining musical elements from a multitude of genres. Jon Bellion opened his set with the lead song off the album, “He Is the Same,” which led into one of his most popular songs, “All Time Low.” Bellion used a plethora of musical devices to create an explosion of sound in the venue. Bellion would banter a bit with his audience, and get back to singing and rapping with other musicians on stage. Bellion’s short set included only songs off of his new album, excluding “Run Wild,” a song from one of his SoundCloud mixtapes.
“Weight of The World,” a heavily acoustic song that closes with a straight fire rap verse performed by Blaque Keyz, started to cool down the show before Bellion played another rap heavy song “New York Soul, Pt II.” After the two rap-dense tracks, Bellion announced his final song would be a song that took him over a year to record. The final song from his show was also the final song from his album. “Hand of God (Outro)” is a fantastic song. The song is not much different from any other song on “The Human Condition,” until the finale explodes with a choir capturing the highlights of the album, including verses from “All Time Low,” “80’s Films,” “Guillotine” and more. When played live, the entire audience sang along with the pre-recorded choir and it was hard to tell the difference between the ambient track and the passionate fans.
Chants for an encore came about, and Jon Bellion came out to play one last song — a song entitled “Jim Morrison,” from one of his mixtapes. About halfway through the song, Jon Bellion brought up the Orlando shooting, screaming at the crowd, “Fifty people got shot for no reason. Are you kidding me? We’ve got to do better. We’ve gotta show more love.” The fans roared and cheered in appreciation. The encore lasted about ten minutes, and the floor of the venue was literally shaking and covered in tears and sweat.
SonReal and Jon Bellion put together an incredible dynamic. The show was a sight to see.