So this past Sunday night I made my way up to North London, to one of the many retired theatres that the O2 somehow now owns around England. I was on my way to see the illustrious Playboi Carti and who was about to embark on his debut UK performance. As a DJ and radio host, I was intrigued to see what one of hip hop’s brightest talents had to offer.
At around 9.30pm Ciesay of Places + Faces (P+F for the kids) fame was DEEP into his set as the opening act. Like I heard doors opened at 7.30 so like a whole radio show deep. You could tell he was running out of trap bangers by the time he played Drake’s and Future’s “Digital Dash”. That track dropped three years ago (yeah I feel old too, reader). You thought “Jumpman” came out like last week. Ciesay, or Aux God as most know him, was really bringing the energy and the whole crowd enjoyed that set. Everybody was dancing, singing in unison Drake’s now famous line from “God’s Plan” “I only love my bed and my mama. I’m sorry”.
Fast forward to 9.50pm and we have hella technical difficulties. The writing on Carti’s powerpoint presentation isn’t fitting on the screen. I saw the Macbook screen many times too. But this didn’t derail anyone’s anticipation for Playboy, with his DJ eventually appearing on stage and played a host of bangers that got the crowd hyped for the man of the moment, Carti.
The rockstar that is Playboi Carti graced the stage in leather trousers and a bomber jacket that was probably worth more than every item in my wardrobe. The first thing I thought was wow this dude looks like a rockstar and his performance did everything to justify this opinion.
Carti spent a lot of his concert on top of items he shouldn’t have been on – speakers, the DJ’s decks, the bannister for the balcony to name but a few – and actually most people couldn’t see him for large swathes of his concert. It was like a musical version of Where’s Wally. When you did find him, he was constantly being hugged by members of his security detail.
In fact, one of the funniest/best moments of the concert was when a fan (who shall be named Robert for time’s sake) ran through security to touch Carti as he balanced on the balcony’s bannister. Robert smashed through the first line of defence and ran to Carti’s side only to be met by more resistance. Bobby managed to lay a hand on Carti’s arm before he was swiftly thrown down the stairs and greeted with a headlock on arrival.
The show was thoroughly entertaining and proved why Carti is an artist of promise. Despite the powerpoint not being consistent, there was some quite incredible visuals that appeared on it and he even brought out Skepta, which nobody saw coming. My only issue with it was the fact that he barely performed. The crowd and the DJ did most of the heavy lifting and he did the ad-libs. Like he just turned the reverb and echo ALL the way up and did ad-libs. But again, he showed glimpses of brilliance and given it was his debut show in the UK there were a lot of signs of excellence to come from Playboi.
I rate it 3 shells out of 5.