By: Mathuja Jeyakumar
It was a wintry night on the 25th, as I had arrived to the venue to a somewhat full crowd of high schoolers dressed in trendy, baggy clothes: lots of the typical Adidas and Kappa trademarks. A few kids were secretly vaping in the crowd as security would enter the crowd and tell them off. Rap music, comprising the likes of XXXTentacion, Asap Ferg, and Nav played in the background of a dark, warm venue, overcast with pink and purple lights. The concert started an hour late, as a rapper came to stage dressed in a red track suit. He wasn’t listed as one of the openers, but nonetheless played two songs. He was young, about seventeen, and was a mediocre rapper who lacked stage presence. His voice without volume or natural rhythm; a requirement for all rappers. He rapped an emotional song about his friend who had gotten hurt in a car crash, asking the willing crowd to turn on their phone’s flashlight and wave it in the air. Following him were the listed openers of Pilla B and Thutmose, who were able to bring the vibe back to actual rap and beat, as their rapping had a natural flow.
MadeinTYO emerged at 10 pm. However, before he came to perform, the first rapper who was unlisted, would frequent the stage, telling the crowd to get ‘lit’ and ‘hype,’ preparing the crowd for TYO. As he waited for the crowd to be in the right mood, chart-toppers from Travis Scott to Drake continued to blare. Even as MadeinTYO came on stage, he would reiterate that those who didn’t have their hands up, or ‘weren’t getting lit enough’, should leave, twice or thrice throughout the concert. But I guess his demands were fair. When it comes to live shows, anyone who isn’t with it – kill the vibe. When MadeinTYO initially burst on to the stage he surprised me with his small stature, but his music seemed to make up for it. The performance was characterized by TYO screaming over a low bass and him jumping across the stage. He played his most famous tracks including “Uber Everywhere,” and his newest singles, “Chuckie Cheese,” “Ned Flanders,” and “Moshi Moshi.”
For the longest time I thought MadeinTYO was a Toronto based rapper, but in actuality he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and grew up in Atlanta. Toronto has a great rap scene similar to Atlanta, and he collaborates often with artists from this region. But to me the best part of the concert was when surprise guest Roy Woods emerged on stage, singing his classic “Worth It,” followed by “Instinct.” The crowd roared as Woods came on, and he brought a different R&B vibe in contrast to TYO’s thrashing beats.
Overall, MadeinTYO’s music made for a convincing set. The crowd certainly loved it. By the end, most of the teens were bouncing up and down, screaming the lyrics along with TYO. With lights blaring and MadeinTyo’s shout-rapping, I was able to get into the atmosphere as well.