On May 18, rappers A$AP Ferg and Tory Lanez brought their “Level Up Tour” to the Fillmore. With opener Madeintyo, this was the very first stop on the tour. Despite this being the first stop and the two rappers having worked together only once before, the show was fantastic.
Madeintyo, an up-and-coming Atlanta rapper, started the show. He went through a number of tracks, all of which sounded exactly the same. Bouncing across the stage, Madeintyo told the crowd to get more excited, but his lackluster rhymes could only get the front row moving. Things livened up with his hit single “Uber Everywhere,” but that peak in energy didn’t last long. When he finally hopped off stage, we (myself and the Triangle’s Billy “The Writer” Bauer) were ready for some real entertainment.
Luckily, this came pretty soon afterwards. Two DJs set up on opposite sides of the stage, and Tory Lanez hopped on stage to perform a couple of songs off of his newest mixtape “The New Toronto.” Yet he walked off stage as quickly as he entered, and A$AP Ferg replaced him, decked out in an all white adidas jumpsuit to perform two songs off of his debut album “Trap Lord.” This was an interesting method of performing. Lanez and Ferg would each perform a couple tracks before tag-teaming the other to come on stage. This way neither artist really lost that much energy and had their time to shine equally.
Lanez came back on afterwards and played a couple covers of ’80s and ’90s R&B classics, such as Ginuwine’s “Pony.” He then played his own “soon-to-be classic,” his most popular single “Say It.” This was a bold move, as most artists save their big hits till the end of their set, rather than the middle. But Lanez’s vocals were astonishing, and he was able to easily switch from rapping to smooth crooning. Then Ferg came out again, running through a few more “Trap Lord” tracks such as “Murda Something” before transitioning to newer music off of his second album “Always Strive and Prosper.” He brought out fellow rapper Marty Baller, who acted as much as a hypeman for Ferg as he did a stand-alone artist.
Tory Lanez has yet to release a proper for-sale album, but has gained a following by releasing a variety of mixtapes over the last five years. Ferg, on the other hand, has two albums under his belt and is a member of A$AP Mob, a hip-hop collective spearheaded by A$AP Rocky.
Ferg was a great performer, but he paled in comparison to Lanez. The unpredictable Lanez had so many songs to play off of his many mixtapes and features that he would switch tracks midway through to start a completely new song. Where Ferg excelled in getting the crowd pumped up with his well-known songs such as “Work” and “New Level,” Lanez gushed with explosive energy. He would crowd-walk, his own signature version of crowd-surfing where the audience held up his legs so that Lanez literally towered above the audience. In fact, Lanez probably spent about as much time in the crowd as he did on stage.
Their collab “Line Up The Flex,” was the first time both artists shared the stage for a full song. Lanez then let off one of his newest songs “Real Addresses” as Ferg hyped up the stage. This climaxed the show, and once Lanez crowd-surfed back to the stage, the two fledging rap stars said goodbye to the crowd for the last time.