Friday night, Lil Pump and Lil’ Skies brought their performance to Myth Live in Maplewood; the venue that hit headlines last month after a teen was shot in the neck outside the Lil’ Baby concert.
DestoDubb is the first act of the night. He walks on stage with a white ski mask covering his face, wearing a matching hoodie and pants made of brown and white camouflage.
Two LED screens animate in the background with a floating cartoon head of Desto wearing a white sweatband with the words “That’s an awful lot of cough syrup” written.
The intro to Desto’s first song, “DestGang” is playing while he pours what looks like cough syrup into a white cup, takes a puff of his blunt as the underage crowd screams in excitement.
He yells lyrics here and there, but most of the vocals are heard from his backing track. “LIFE THAT I CHOOSE” is next with lyrics such as “I sip a lil’ lean, when a nigga can’t sleep. And I just paid my rent and bail is next week”.
Desto opens a water bottle and pours the entire contents on his gold watch. The crowd loves it. The stage manager doesn’t.
“How many yall like this sweater?” he asks, then throws above the heads of his potential new fans. Now wearing a bulletproof vest, Desto’s chains around his neck swing from side to side as he does some unimpressive choreography.
“Face Tats” is next, followed by a song about Adderall. The crowd is getting tired of hearing songs they don’t know. Luckily for us, he runs out of time before his last song can reach it’s proper ending and the DJ cuts the track short.
Rello is next. His DJ plays familiar songs like “Bus It Down” and “Old Town Road” while he aggressively yelling “LETS GO!” a few too many times for my taste. I’m realizing now he is a glorified hype man buying time.
Rello ends with a call and return with the audience.
“When I say Lil’, you say Skies!”
Lil’ Skies Performance
Clouds of smoke float over the heads of those who are daring enough to smoke weed in the building.
Fans wait patiently with their phones in the air with flashlights shining toward the stage. Lil’ Skies runs out on the start of “Bad Girls” as the room erupts.
Again, pre-recorded vocals are heard far more than Lil’ Skies live voice. I understand is a common practice for rap shows, but it just boggles my mind every time I witness it.
“PnB Rock” is next with wholehearted lyrics, “I like girls who like girls.” The crowd is considerably less hyped. They don’t know this one very well, except for the dude in the middle of the crowd vigorously shaking an inflatable pink flamingo over his head.
The DJ catches onto the lack of energy and cuts the song short and jumps into a crowd favorite “Lust”.
For his next tune, he begins a rapping acapella, “Blame on me no shame on you”. Fans join in, as does the background music. I take a sip from my drink then suddenly lose sight of Lil skies. There’s also an absence of his vocals for a decent period of time.
Turns out Lil’ Skies got a little too close to the edge while jumping around and fell right off the stage, hitting the ground hard. After he realizes he’s all right, he bears a smile while he gets help from security to lift him back on stage.
He recovers quickly to finish the song respectively. “I Know You” is next. Lil’ Skies continues to hop around stage putting in a full body effort to entertain his fans.
Before his next song, he signals the house to turn the floodlights on the crowd, asked us all to raise our arms to form an X over our head, then rolls into “Stop The Madness”.
He only plays the first verse and chorus, then switches to XXXTENTACION’s hit, “Sad”.
Lil’ Skies says “I gotta do a song for my boy” and plays a 30-second version of Mac Millers is “Donald Trump”, then a section of Lil’ Yachty’s tune, “Cold Like Minnesota”.
Back to originals, his popular track “i” gets the floor moving like an ocean of bodies. Lil’ Skies walks off the side of the stage and discretely makes his way to the back of the venue where the swarm of bodies I’m looking down on from the balcony do a complete one-eighty. More Snapchating continues before he ends his performance.
Lil’ Skies leaves the crowd with a message “Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your life. You do what makes you happy”.
Lil’ Pump Performs
After waiting a good forty-five minutes between acts, Lil’ Pump’s DJ makes his way to the stage. Again, warming up the crowd with songs we know, including “Cold Like Minnesota” again.
“We’ve already heard this one, brah”, my inner voice pretends to yell.
Finally, we see Lil’ Pump step out wearing a black tee and backwards hat. He has a friend with him, waving a rag in one hand. “D Rose” is the first track to hit our ears. Then comes “Fasho Fasho”, “Molly”, “Butterfly Doors”.
I’m thinking, ‘Why do all rappers end their songs with shotgun noises?’ Couldn’t they be more creative?
“Gucci Gang” begins playing through the speakers. The place is coming off the freaking hinge. With Lil’ Pump’s onstage calisthenics, he could sell a workout program.
He points out a skinny 14-year-old fan, brings him on stage to sing “Iced Out” with him, directing the kid around like a puppet as they bob around the perimeter of the stage together. He even gives the kid some mic time to say “Iced out chain” when the song called for it.
He lets the boy go back into the crowd, followed by his notorious “Esketit” catchphrase. His adoring fans expectedly repeat this mind-numbing phrase.
He’s now shirtless with his braids held back in a hair band in classic fashion as fans sing along to “Cocaine Moving, “Off White” and “Smoke My Dope”.
I’m learning not only is that a phrase he says, but he also made it the title of a song with lyrics, “Poppin’ on X, poppin’ on X”. Considering the crowd is mostly 14 to 17 years old, I’m curious if these kid’s parents know what exactly they’re listening to.
Lil’ Pump asks for a quick celebration for Nipsey Hustle by playing “Racks In The Middle”.
A rowdy group of seven or so drunk kids pile into the 2nd-floor balcony suite that I’m comfortable watching the performance in. They turn the balcony into a mini dance floor while “Arms Around You” plays.
Before his next track, Lil’ Pump tells the crowd to open up a mosh pit. His humble masterpiece, “Be Like Me” turns the crowd into talking heads.
Now he tells all the ladies to get on their man’s shoulders, then plays “I Love It”, a song he recorded with Kanye West, featuring lyrics, “I’m a sick fuck, I like a quick fuck.”
I’m sitting comfortably on a white couch. A drunk girl sits down next to me and yells “Why arent you having any fun?”.
After exhaling from the overwhelming smell of alcohol on her breath, I conclude to myself that I’m actually not having a bad time.
Aside from the fact that every song played tonight is full of absolute trash messages for the youth, the beats and melodies are unfortunately catchy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my fair share of partying. I also remember listening to “The Thong Song” by Sisqo back in 1999 at age 11, but these Soundcloud rappers are putting out some upper-level trash.
Great songs to get fucked up to— I agree, but many of these kids are still in middle school. They’re incredibly moldable and influenced by nearly everything they consider “cool”.
Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t be down with my kid consuming these R rated lyrics. I’m curious to see what the long term effect of this music is on this generation.