Last night’s Yo Gotti show, which you can view above via XXL’s stream of the event, was a celebratory affair. The self-proclaimed “King Of Memphis” showed that his kingdom extends far beyond Tennessee, delivering a set that was packed with special guests who spanned the country and drew from musical influences far beyond Gotti’s soul-filled street aesthetic.
On the same day he released I Am, his first album for Epic and his follow-up to 2012′s Live From The Kitchen, Gotti invited longtime fans, new supporters and numerous special guests to B.B. King’s in midtown Manhatan for a concert that often felt more like a party than an intimate performance. Playing tracks from throughout his career, while still making time for the hits of his friends who came out for the show, Gotti assumed the role of gracious host, keeping the festivities going with his easy-going charm.
Taking the stage with a DJ and a live drummer, Gotti delivered a wide-ranging set, mixing aspirational anthems like “Check” and defiant tracks like “F-U” with character sketches like “Disqualified.” Despite the me-focussed title of his new album, the show itself had a revolving door feel that placed an emphasis on Gotti’s vast network of friends and collaborators. The first and most explosive guest of the night was Meek Mill, who lent his exuberant shout to “F-U” and even performed a bone-chilling rendition of the Dreams And Nightmares intro. His Maybach Music Group co-hort Wale also made an appearance, lending his support to “Disqualified” while also dropping some of Tiara Thomas-assisted hit “Bad.”
Gotti was far from done with the guests—he was only getting warmed up. As the show progressed the CMG-repping rapper—sporting a hat and chain—brought out a rotating cast of newcomers and rap royalty: Yayo, Rich Homie Quan, Maino, Ne-Yo and opener YG all made appearances. In many ways it felt like the night was all leading up to the appearance of Jeezy, who stepped onstage in his signature sunglasses for his verse on “Act Right” and helped close things down with a pounding, triumphant version of YG’s inescapable DJ Mustard-produced hit “My Nigga.” For some it might be strange to end your album-release show with a song that you’re not even featured on, but Gotti was in control of the moment, standing on stage as his friends and associates saluted him, basking in the glory of it all just like kings are supposed to.