A mix of people came out to support hip hop’s newest generation and Juicy J’s second time around. The crowd swelled with polo-sporting undergrads from Georgia Tech’s campus nearby while excitable “Atlanta outskirt” kids stumble-danced during sets spun by DJ Diabiase, presumably not having properly paced their alcohol intake.
The show was set to start at 9 pm, but the openers didn’t begin until 11, and the crowd was growing noticeably restless. Atlanta industry insider and host of the show, Maurice Garland, succeeded at keeping the audience’s attention until Gibbs finally made his arrival. With no music backing him, the Gary native launched into “187 Proof,” to which the crowd released a collective “whoop” in enthusiasm, bouncing along to his fiery verse.
Transitioning smoothly, Freddie ran through a few Cold Day In Hell joints, including “Rob Me A Nigga” and “BANned.” Somewhere between “Gotta Let Ya Nuts Hang” and “2s and Fews,” the sound system faltered, and the CTE representative responded with a grin, stating, “I don’t wanna have to get the soundman fucked up…’”
Leimert Park representative Dom Kennedy took advantage of the free flowing vibe as Gibbs moved into their collaborative “Menace II Society” seamlessly. He continued his set mixing From the Westside II songs (“Platinum Chanel,” “Grindin’”) with some of his previous work (“Choosin’”), prompting the few ladies in attendance to gleefully rush the platform.
When Juicy J finally ascended the stage five hours after the event’s start, the crowd’s energy seemed revived by his presence. He immediately ripped into his catalogue, starting with the newer tracks, garnering the biggest response with “Zip and a Double Cup” and “Who Da Neighbors.” J paused between songs, alternately hollering, “I’m drunk!” and “We trippy, mayne!” to the feverish patrons.
When his set neared the end, Juicy asked the crowd if they were familiar with his Triple Six Mafia beginnings. When one young man spoke up, Juicy asked his age and incredulously responded, “20?” His newest turn in the hip hop industry has afforded him an all new fanbase to add to a resume two decades old. —Nadine Graham