The near fatal motorcycle accident of TDE wordsmith Jay Rock allowed him to create the poignant ‘Redemption’. But from the onset of this show, his storytelling talent was met with an enrapturing energy.
It’s safe to say that Jay Rock is one of America’s best rappers. His slick bars create a stunning, cinematic imagery which captures his trials and tribulations and how they have moulded him into his reborn identity today.
Monday night’s performance saw the LA rapper send the audience into an abundance of frenetic mosh pits that created an atmosphere which just like venue’s name was emphatically electric.
During an intense DJ set which played classics from the indisputable legend, Kendrick Lamar, the sweaty audience’s overzealous behaviour at this initial stage of the night, meant we were certainly in for a mind-blowing spectacle. Although this was Rock’s first headliner in London, this sold-out leg of ‘The Big Redemption’ tour was an exhilarating display of passion and control that made every individual there feel like they were a part of something special.
The introductory songs of the night created an ambience that made the hairs on your skin stand up as if you were in a thrilling movie, so when ‘Knock It Off’ followed by ‘The Bloodiest” were played the crowd descended into Bedlam. Suddenly a case of a déjà vu took place as I looked down from the terrace into what was sea people ferociously rapping word for word the lyrics to ‘ES Tales’ like we were in 8 Mile. You could see that vim and vigour was transmitted from the stage to the floor as fans love how genuinely unapologetic Rock is, as he tells these stories which are of his ugly past.
A concurrent theme was a massive uproar with each song played and this was due to compellingly and engaging monologues, allowing to have the audience right where he wanted them for seamless transitions into songs. For a night that was dominated by moshing, ‘Tap Out’ was certainly something for the women. As those sensual melodies had men in the clammy standing section looking for female friend to dance with.
When an artist asks “Where my day one’s at?” it can create one of the more beautiful moments of the night for them personally, as the entire journey they have embarked on so far becomes so surreal. Although Rock’s latest album is the one which has pushed him further into the public sphere, you could tell the people didn’t becomes fans from overnight, as they sang songs from ‘90059’ and way before.
The night also spoke volumes of how much of a crazy cult following the TDE roster has because when that distinctively hypnotic flute on ‘Wow Freestyle’ was graced upon our ears, it sent the room into an otherworldly euphoria. I guess that’s why Kendrick Lamar is iconic as despite being the most acclaimed rapper of his generation, his influence is far greater. Not only does he deliver a deft verse which sent the crowd into delirium but he also co-executively produced the album which meant his presence was certainly felt in the room and when ‘Money Trees’ played the room nearly came off the place.
‘OSOM’ was a touching element to the show as you sensed the reflective perspective Jay Rock has on his life, making the album’s title sound as if he has personally has come full circle. This understandably song saw him overcome with emotion and so Rock took a moment to compose himself, but then erupted into a controlled rage into the final verse. Again, something which can’t be faulted is the man’s humour, as despite talking about regrettable contraventions, he then proceeds into ‘Rotation 112th.
What was ingeniously encapsulated from the transfer from the album on to the tour is that his life has been full of twists and turns. The track ‘Troopers” for example, it has a chilled vibe and that dark chilling undertone which you can’t escape. This carries all the way through to the track ‘Redemption’ which has the same heart-wrenching qualities as Kanye West’s ‘Through The Wire’, as the near tragic accident was humbling reminder of not only his right and wrongs but to live life to its utmost.
From the penultimate song of the night, pandemonium broke loose as ‘King’s Dead’ managed to created one monster of a mosh-pit which left looking from above both astonished but ever so jealous, wishing they were involved in the melee. Before the night received its curtain call, something which Rock stressed was to “chase your dreams at whatever cost” and those motivational words struck chord because as he closed with ‘WIN’ which filled the venue with a vehement jubilance.