A few weeks ago the JLM crew was invited to check out TYGA, the Billboard “Rack City” rapper, at the Observatory in Santa Ana. The hype leading up to his OC appearance was incredible. When we got there security was tight and very fussy, which was understandable given the incident involving gunshots fired at Tyga’s tour bus back in March in Omaha, Nebraska.
Wristbands, badges and names were checked and rechecked, then checked again. It seemed as if Tyga’s omnipresence was looming over the venue’s staff, causing them to become nervous, rattled and overly meticulous all at once. Luckily, the house DJ, CaliNdaMix, came to the rescue and swooped us up amidst the chaos and brought us to the front.
A few of the opening acts were backstage chatting, including YG (“Toot It and Boot It”) who had his own show at the Observatory a few weeks earlier and gave us a hug, seeming nonchalant about the whole security affair. The stage was decked out for the occassion, with goliath-sized letters spelling out “TYGA” taking up most of it and a giant sphinx head centered at the top. Around 8 pm the obligatory dance-off between the venue’s most-willing and curvaceous ladies took place on stage to satiate the crowd while they awaited Tyga’s performance. What proceeded between 8 pm and 10 pm was something similar to the Observatory-turned-Vegas as everyone in the packed venue proceeded to bump and grind to the DJ’s best hip-hop selection. Yes, this was a Tyga concert indeed.
At 10 pm maroon lights flooded the stage and a hush fell over the crowd as Tyga emerged from behind a small metal curtain. He sported an embellished red hoodie and shades, telling everyone to “Stick your middle fingers up.” Screams and cheers filled the air as he launched into a gritty, heart pounding performance of “I’m So Raw.” As a rapper who gained fame through mixtape collabs via Lil’ Weezy’s Young Money Label, Tyga covered a smorgasbord of beats ranging from his most recent Billboard hit, “Faded,” to Chris Brown’s “Deuces.” Up and coming artist Honey Cocaine joined him momentarily, holding her own as she spit “Heisman,” another hard-hitting ensemble with Tyga.
As panties and bras were thrown on stage, Tyga delivered his famed “Rack City” single three times to the ecstatic roar of the crowd. Of course, everyone in the theatre knew the lyrics — singing along to every word and holding their drinks in the air as if the National Anthem of hip hop were playing.
It was a ridiculous night for all those attended. Nothing less than expected for a sold-out show featuring the “Rack City” king.
Photography Aaron Huntsberger