I remember the first time I listened to Lil Tjay, falling in love with his sound instantly. His quick rhythmic words complementing his unique voice was sure to make him a star in the upcoming months. One of the first songs I remember listening to by him was a sampled remix of Justin Bieber’s 2010 hit “Baby” called “None of Your Love.” His creative remix on the song was what made me so drawn to the Bronx rapper’s music. Many compare Tjay’s sound to A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, but there are many differences that distinguish both talented artists. With his first album release called “F.N,” late last year and his blow-up song “Pop Out,” with Polo G, he quickly gained a lot of attention in the music industry.
As one of his day one fans, it was surreal to be so close to my favorite artist. When I heard that VOX ATL had tickets for Lil Tjay’s March 5th, 2020, Atlanta stop for his “True 2 Myself” tour, I knew I had to go.
This was my first concert, so not only did I get to see my favorite artist perform, but it was also a crazy experience in itself. Arriving at the Buckhead Theatre venue, we waited for the show to start as the people chatting drowned out the DJ’s hip-hop playlist tunes. The concert lights were flashing in every direction with every color hitting the stage and the small crowd that was growing every second as it grew closer for the show to start.
When the show finally started, the first performer was a female Bronx rapper, KYY Stacks, who wasn’t quite well known in the music industry yet, but with her catchy melodies having a similar style to TJ Porter’s sound, fans were quick to vibe to her music. After her successful performance, another young underground rapper, 5AM, came up on stage dressed in all black with chains around his chest. His music had a much different sound than the previous rapper with a much more strong autotune effect similar to Travis Scott’s music.
As the suspense grew while we waited for the next performer, Big Havi finally came onto the stage with the first song, building immense hype for the fans as the 808s blasted through the speakers. After playing one of his biggest hits, “9 Time Out of 10,” the crowd was filled with energy and I didn’t think he could top his performance.
For his final song, he brought out his new song, “I Pray,” which just released last month on the album, “Personal Problems,” with an ingenious transition leading up to the beat drop. He started off by paying respects to all the entertainers who recently passed away such as Pop Smoke, Juice WRLD, and Kobe Bryant transitioning into his lyrics in the song very smoothly as if he was just talking to God in prayer. When the beat dropped, even fans who didn’t listen to Havi were thrilled with his performance. He even brought out people to do a dance gig with him during his last song which had a great reaction among the crowd. Big Havi was born to be a performer.
Following Big Havi’s phenomenal performance, Mulatto came on stage wearing an outfit that had the design of money all over her corset. The Atlanta rapper is huge in the city of Atlanta so fans were eager to hear her perform, with some even chanting all the lyrics to her songs.
The last artist before Lil Tjay was Jay Gwuapo. He was more subtle than the other artists who performed as he didn’t bring a lot of energy while rapping his songs. Although Jay Gwuapo is also one of my favorite artists, he wasn’t the best performer, because even when the beat drops came, he struggled to get the crowd hype to his music.
Because Jay Gwuapo is New York rapper who is much more underrated than mainstream rappers such as Tjay, I don’t think the Atlanta crowd knew his music as well as the previous artists, so it was hard for them to sing along and bring the same energy compared to Mulatto and Tjay. His performance was subpar compared to my expectations of him, but he ended his performance with a bang, singing his feature in TJ Porter’s “Harder Than Ever,” featuring himself and KJ Balla.
Around 30 minutes after Gwuapo’s performance, the performer everyone was waiting for, Lil Tjay, finally came on stage with fans screaming and pulling out their phones to photograph and video the famous rapper. He opened his performance with one of his top songs called “One Take” from his album “True 2 Myself,” which released late last year. The moment he ran up on stage with one of his longtime friends, Bubba Stacks, who performs with on his tours, the crowd’s energy level could be felt throughout the room, going from zero to 100. He continued to please fans with classics from his singles such as “Leaked,” “Hold on,” “Brothers,” “2020,” “Ruthless,” and even one of his first blow-up songs, “None of Your Love.”
Lil Tjay performs “2020” (video: James Rhee)
From fans going crazy with every beat drop to screaming every word from his songs in union, it was an unbelievable feeling being there in person. Although it was his “True 2 Myself” Tour, he didn’t perform many of new songs on his album other than “Sex Sounds.” In every song he sang, Tjay and Bubba Stacks complimented each other with Bubba Stacks being the hype man shouting the countdowns till the beat drops and Tjay with his almost singing-like voice.
Lil Tjay performs “Leaked Beat” (video: James Rhee)
Maintaining the same energy throughout his jaw-dropping performance, he played a lot of his popular songs he is featured on including “Pop Out” by Polo G and “War” by Pop Smoke. “War” was just one of Pop Smoke’s songs Tjay performed as he and Pop Smoke were very close. This was Tjay’s way of paying respects to the young star who passed away a few weeks ago.
One of the most defining moments of the concert was when he threw water bottles into the mosh pit as the fans almost trampled each other to grab them. When the first beat dropped on one of his most successful songs, “F.N,” the crowd threw the bottles in the air spraying water all throughout the crowd and into the sky.
The entire room was filled with water mist after the wild performance. Finally, to end his show, Lil Tjay performed, “Go In,” and as fans left the concert area to head over to his merchandise stand and to exit the venue, they were left with smiles on their face and covered in sweat from jumping up and down throughout the concert.
This was the first concert I’ve attended so far, and many more to come. From the beginning to the end of the concert, I was hungry for more songs. The energy of the room and standing three feet away from your favorite artist is a mind-blowing experience. Although my voice was hoarse from screaming all the lyrics to his songs, I would do it all again a hundred more times.