Tyga missed his first plane, leaving an audience of aimless Pitt students concerned as to the whereabouts of their headliner. Inclement weather prevented the Compton, Calif., native from making the rounds to the Pitt Program Council’s Hip Hop show Saturday at the Fitzgerald Field House.
But not all was lost.
Opener Ty Dolla $ign still performed to an enthusiastic crowd, and Pittsburgh’s own Chevy Woods answered the call to offer an entertaining warm-up act.
Chevy bounded onto the stage as the brightly colored lights spun and dazzled around the crowd, hitting and dropping along with Chevy’s hardcore and vehement beats. He donned a gruff, antagonistic tone just as he donned his “TGOD” leather jacket and “412” representative hat.
Wood’s performance was defined by aggression as much as by labelmate Wiz Khalifa’s famous mantra, label and song “Taylor Gang or Die.” Set against an unforgiving gangster-rap backdrop, Woods’ intonations focused on the importance of brotherhood and family. Each track began and ended with gunshots, police sirens or both.
Two cameramen on pedestals behind the audience captured footage to display on the two large screens. A third camera on stage filmed Woods’ jerky, angry movements as the artist dipped low and high, his face full of microphone, and caught him as he instigated crowd participation with a shout of, “Put your middle fingers in the air!” Receptively, the audience acted as he beckoned, sticking it to “the man,” the police or whomever. Someone.
Woods closed out with his new single, “30 Deep,” and together with his DJ, GQ, got the whole venue to reverberate with the song’s huge, booming bass. Smoke machines filled the stage with an eerie fog, emphasizing the set’s end with practical effects.
Conversely, Ty Dolla $ign strolled leisurely onto the stage when his turn came. Dressed rather anonymously with a bucket hat, shades and a Portland Trail Blazers jacket, he was content to let his music do the talking rather than his energy. Ty Dolla $ign was instantly differentiable from his opener in that he carried an effortlessness into all of his raps, rhymes and motions. He lacked a lot of the aggression, but countered it with unvarnished singing, gravelly tones and also a reverence for the party lifestyle.
Like Woods, Ty Dolla $ign paid homage to his forebears. A snippet of Snoop Lion and Wiz Khalifa’s “Young, Wild and Free” was juxtaposed between two tracks, and the opening lines of R. Kelly’s “Bump N’ Grind” set the right mood as Ty Dolla $ign leapt down into the crowd and scrutinized the audience for the proper lady to sing his next song to. He demanded the lights be dropped, and so the only luminescence came from red backlighting that channeled an appropriately romantic atmosphere.
Before Ty Dolla $ign finished the show, he removed himself from the stage and reappeared in an Andrew McCutchen jersey, to some notable reaction from the crowd. He then called his crew back up, including Woods, and picked some women out of the audience to join him for his last song. At first, there were about a dozen — but halfway through “Paranoid [Remix],” he gesticulated for more, and approximately 50 Pitt students boogied alongside the artist.
Despite the misfortune of headlining act Tyga missing the show, the responsive, arm-flailing, dancing crowd seemed to enjoy his replacement and Ty Dolla $ign’s epic dance-club beats.