All 10 XXL 2012 Freshmen showed and proved last night (April 9) at New York’s Best Buy Theater. The final show of the 2012 XXL Freshman tour included special appearances by DJ Khaled, Tech N9ne and ScHoolBoy Q and showcased the diverse range of MCs in this year’s class.
Memphis Tennessee MC Don Trip set things off with “Letter to My Son” before jumping into “This is the Life.” LA’s Kid Ink built on Trip’s momentum with a healthy set that included his rising hit “Time of Your Life.”
The Best Buy Theater began to reach capacity as Iggy Azalea prepared to hit the stage. The Australian MC was poised as she led the crowd through energetic renditions of “Pussy” and her latest single“Murder Bizness,” sans T.I., before spending the final moments of her set hugging diehard fans in the front row.
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- 9. Macklemore ft. Schoolboy Q "White Walls" <i>The Heist</i> (2012)9. Macklemore ft. Schoolboy Q "White Walls" <i>The Heist</i> (2012)<iframe width="670" height="25" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pwWvIZ8sILw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>Before "Thrift Shop" became your grandma's favorite song, this jam from The Heist seemed to be Macklemore's most radio-ready hit, with a crazy-catchy hook from Hollis, feel-good and nostalgic spitting from Mack, and an awesomely aggressive feature from Q. If his PR team plays it right, this song could be the anthem of summer 2013.
(Photography by Ryan Muir)
Iggy’s set got the crowd’s blood flowing for Roscoe Dash, who sent them into a frenzy by performing a medley of his most memorable hooks. “No Hands” and “All the Way Turnt Up” got love, but it was Big Sean’s “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay” that really got fans turnt up.
Seattle’s Macklemore formally introduced himself to NYC with a high-octane set that included a live trumpet. The “Otherside” MC had the foreign crowd on his side by the end of the set thanks to his stage presence and the help of phenomenal trumpeter Owour Arunga.
Next up was the white-eyed Hopsin, rocking his distinct contact lenses, who performed the entirety of “Sag my Pants” while crowd-surfing on the Best Buy audience. The room exploded when Hop brought out the evening’s first surprise guest, Tech N9Ne, to perform “Am I A Psycho?” off of Tech’s All 6’s and 7’s. It was the first time the two shared a stage together.
Speaking of eccentric emcees, Danny Brown took the stage next in a Tiger-inspired, ruler-looking track suit, and brought out a special guest of his own. Newly-signed Interscope recording artist Schoolboy Q took the stage to perform “Hands On The Wheel,” before Danny closed his set with “Blunt After Blunt,” from his 2011 mixtape, XXX.
Accompanied by a dancing Moon man, Future was up next, performing club smashes “Tony Montana,” “Ain’t No Way Around It,” “Racks,” and “Same Damn Time.” The Atlanta rapper closed out performing his hooks off of Rick Ross’s “Ring Ring,” and Rocko’s “Squares Out Your Circle.”
With an introduction from host Cipha Sounds, New York’s own French Montana took the stage, and in typical Frenchie fashion flooded it with an entourage of dozens. Wearing a ski mask, the Bad Boy signee launched into hits “Choppa Choppa Down,” “Call It Dat,” and “Shot Caller.” Amongst his entourage were Red Café and DJ Khaled, who performed “All I Do Is Win,” and “I’m On One,” respectively. Montana closed out his set with “Stay Schemin.”
Chants of “MGK” had been filling the theater all night and when Machine Gun Kelly finally appeared, the crowd erupted. With the backing of a live drummer, MGK launched into “LTFU” and “Invincible.” He even performed a cover of Blink 182’s “What’s My Age Again,” bringing a couple of female fans —and one shirtless male fan with an exposed Lace Up tattoo on his chest— onstage to share in the moment. After some stage diving of his own, MGK closed out the night with “Wild Boy.”
Last night’s show capped the 2012 XXL Freshman Tour which made stops at SXSW, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. You can download the DJ Whoo Kid hosted 2012 XXL Freshman mixtape here. —Neil Martinez-Belkin and Calvin Stovall