BEING THERE: A$AP Rocky & Tyler The Creator @ Festival Pier



What do you get when you take one of the most vulgar and provocative rappers in the last 10 years and put him on a bill with one of the biggest and baddest members of Harlem’s hip hop collective A$AP Mob? The answer is quite simple: The Rocky and Tyler Tour. Several thousand fans from far and wide descended upon Philly’s Festival Pier last night to witness a mixture of well-crafted versifying, Tyler The Creator dancing like a man covered in honey and fire ants and A$AP Rocky effortlessly wooing every female in the house with his majestic cloud rap and suave demeanor. Cali rapper Vince Staples kicked off the night with enough energy to supply three openrs and a headliner. After finishing off his set with “Blue Suede,” his toughest single to date, the helium-pitched maniac we all know as Danny Brown took the stage, squealing ‘Hiiiii Phillaaayyyy!” His vibrantly odd and amusing personality broke through on every one of the tight instrumentals and beats his DJ laid him down for him as he pranced about the stage, playing out wild tunes such as “Smokin & Drinkin’” and “Kush Coma.” As Danny finished up it occurred to me the night was virtually guaranteed to only get better, which is a bold statement given the vigor of the two openers. However, this rang stupidly true as soon as the first of our two headliners, Tyler The Creator took the stage to a simultaneous eruption of raucous screaming, intense stampeding to the front barrier and Tyler standing stock-still and taking it all in with a dumbfounded look. After telling the crazed fans they had 20 seconds to take their pictures so they could get it out of the way, Tyler dove into a set that was considerably toned down compared to his teenage years of ignorant hoodrat shit and putting out lyrics offensive to the point of getting him banned from performing in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. Nonetheless, Tyler soon whipped the crowd into an angry sea of frenzied mosh pits and shrill screams as diehards shouted themselves breathless trying to keep up with every single lyric. He dropped tracks from his latest LP, Cherry Bomb, such as “Deathcamp” (which kicked off his set), and some of his wilder oldies such as “Tron Cat” and “Yonkers.” Tyler, accompanied by his sidekicks Jasper Dolphin & Taco (both members of the now dismantled Odd Future collective), even played out a few songs off of Odd Future’s final mixtape, OF Vol. 2, such as the 11-minute masterpiece “Oldie” and the hilariously strange track “Rella.” After Tyler left the stage there was a 45-minute intermission while the stage crew set up A$AP’s elaborate stage set, which consisted of two additional floors above the stage connected by a staircase and bejeweled with twinkling LED lights. A$AP made his entrance stepping through a sea of smoke and fog as the crowd bum rushed the front of the stage. Rolling through his extensive arsenal of hits — “Multiply,” “LSD,” “Goldie” and “Hella Hoes” — A$AP and his mob collective oozed swag as they hipped and hopped about the two-decker platform while the mosh pits grew like algae in still water. During his collaboration with the dubstep mastermind Skrillex “Wild For The Night,” A$AP requested an obscenely large mosh pit in the center of the crowd while hundreds of kids eagerly complied. Ending the night with one of his most legendary hit singles, “Peso,” the A$AP mobster and fellow rapper geniuses threw down endless bars of boundary-breaking lyrics and enough chillwave synths and 808s to last a lifetime.–DYLAN LONG