A Night at The Ritz, With Big K.R.I.T. & Friends
Contributors Alex Yllanes and Jimmy Branley headed out to Raleigh last week to catch Big K.R.I.T., Ty Dolla $ign, and many others at The Ritz. They discuss the night's energetic performances, venue sound issues, and the difficulty of finding TeeCee4800 on social media.
Alex Yllanes: Well Jimmy I feel like I have not only you to thank for the hook-up to this show, but also your friend who bailed. Without him I would have been at home getting ready for the work week instead of struggling to find enough space for my body within the crowd. I’d usually find myself preferring the former, but for Big K.R.I.T., the pain was worth it; especially since it was my birthday last week and the timing of this show could not have been more perfect.
Jimmy Branley: For sure, man! I was sitting on a spare ticket and no way in hell was I about to meet Big K.R.I.T. by myself. In retrospect, I might’ve fought The Ritz if I’d been there alone….
The Meet & Greet
Jimmy: So our night started off as a whole mess when I discovered that the organizers of the meet and greet bumped the check-in time thirty minutes. I had to rush through Sunday traffic…..to not get checked in for another hour. The whole time, we had the pleasure of chilling outside in 45-degree weather.
Alex: Yeah it was really great to feel like we had to rush there…to find out they just wanted to watch us wait for an extra half hour like a bunch of idiots. 4:30 sharp seemed excessive before we got there and was proven so as we waited. It was also really great when security staff walked through the K.R.I.T. and Ty meet and greet lines causing mass confusion over whether people needed to get their tickets from will call.
Jimmy: Granted, I get it - dual headliners has to be a pain to organize. But it seems like no one knew what was actually going on up until the doors officially opened. I’m used to a better pre-show experience at The Ritz.
Alex: I mean I haven’t been to The Ritz before so it wasn’t the best first impression, but I imagine it’s not exactly the norm for them either. The smoking area was a fun place to wait, a great wind tunnel with no sunlight but we had at least finally gotten our VIP laminate and goodie bag. Getting inside the building was nice once it finally happened though and when K.R.I.T. walked out for the meet and greet to start we all really woke up. That was a cool moment because it seemed like he was genuinely happy from the response we gave his presence.
Alex: So I can’t say I had heard this dude before, or at least not knowingly, but I was pretty impressed with the ease of his presence. Especially given the brevity of his set.
Jimmy: This was actually the third time I’d seen him - once with YG and twice with Ty. I’m familiar with him from his verses on My Krazy Life but for whatever reason, I have yet to see him actually do anything off that album.
Alex: Definitely loved that it was a West Coast vibe through and through, but that is odd he doesn’t do the tracks people might know him from. Also can I just say it took me forever to make sure I found the right Twitter profile cause I had no idea he spelled it so specifically.
Jimmy: What was weird was that the screen behind him just said “TC Da Loc,” which has nothing to do with the spelling of the name. I want to take this moment to shout out Kelechi. When he opened for Chance a couple years ago, he stopped the show to get everyone to open their social media accounts to find him right then and there. TeeCee should have considered something like that.
Alex: Yeah that’s what really threw me off — why have a completely different stage name on screen from what you go by on social? A nice little lesson on his name would have been useful for sure.
Alex: This set was a real fun time, and while I’d heard a track or two before definitely another largely unfamiliar act for me. How about yourself?
Jimmy: I’d seen his name around the interwebs but never checked him out. Dude really can rap though! The Ritz is notorious for making it impossible to understand what artists are saying onstage, but from what I can tell, dude seemed to be a pretty terrific rapper.
Alex: You know that’s a really great point I kinda wanted to ignore of the night, but the vocals were sometimes really really hard to make out in the middle of tracks. It’s so odd to me that that’s kind of just accepted.
Jimmy: Same. If I was on an artist’s team with that sound setup, I’d be mad. I know we’re not talking about K.R.I.T., but there were times where he was talking and I had absolutely no clue what he was saying.
Alex: I would have to agree with that. I felt the passion with which he said it but closed captions would have been helpful and that’s not something you should say in regards to sound at a concert.
Jimmy: Anyway, back to Childish Major. He had a well-paced set and you could tell he was having fun.
Alex: He had a real great comfort on the stage that I found pretty infectious. He did a track called “Happy Birthday” which was really well-timed for me and much appreciated. Also shouts to the SC-NC relation, Childish from SC and his DJ from NC (919); dope to see a South Carolina artist getting some traction and definitely looking forward to more from him.
CyHi The Prynce
Alex: This is my third time being in the same vicinity as CyHi in the past year, and second time catching a performance. Dude is an incredible performer and I think really benefits from seeing him in an indoor venue.
Jimmy: First thing I noticed was that dude’s voice was shredded from being on tour. He was sounding real raspy. Opening his set off with “So Appalled” was a great move.
Alex: Yeah, to be fair his voice is raspy as hell from the jump. That definitely threw me the first time I saw him. Yeah, “So Appalled” was a moment, and “Dat Side” is such a damn good song to be in a crowd for. That’s a banger.
Jimmy: I honestly haven’t listened to his album a ton so I wasn’t as familiar with the songs as I could have been, but he did a good job leading the crowd so I could still engage with the music.
Alex: He’s a true showman. The end of his set was kinda odd though cause the instrumental to “Nu Africa”, likely his most notable track, began playing and any CyHi fans started getting ready only for it to fade 30 seconds in. Might just be me but odd choice.
Alex: For me, probably you too(?), this was the set I had been waiting for all day and night. Obviously meeting him was a pretty great moment, but not having seen him before, I was beyond psyched for this.
Jimmy: This was my fourth time seeing him (#StanAlert) so I’m obviously going to be biased here. He’s typically built sets that touched every period of his career but this one was 100% 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time, besides a DJ set interlude. I loved that about it though. There were a lot of terrific records on that album and they all deserved shine. What’s crazy is that I was still surprised to hear “Keep The Devil Off.” Amidst all that great music, I forgot it was on the album!
Alex: Damn son. I love the dedication. Yeah I was thrilled that he basically stuck to 4Eva the entire time. With a double album I figured he could but it was still a nice surprise. I have to say I really loved how fucking energetic he was, I mean he was jumping all over the place not missing a bar. Especially impressive to me was his singing voice. It really sounded great live.
Jimmy: He’s been one of my favorite performers for that very reason. I don’t leave a K.R.I.T. concert without a little sweat and at least one eardrum ringing from subbin’ so hard.
Alex: Those are always the signs of a great show. There were a lot of standout moments in the set too. For me “Drinking Sessions” was crazy impactful because it really looked like performing that song made him emotional and took a little something outta him.
Jimmy: I got that feeling from “Mixed Messages.” He seemed like he was able to channel the internal conflict as well as he did when he recorded.
Alex: Yeah that’s another track for me that he kinda laid himself bare for. Outside of his crazy energy it was really awesome to see him connect so intensely during the performance. It seems like such a given but not every performer can do that. Now I don’t think we can discuss this set without talking about “Subenstein (My Sub IV)” and just how insane that track was live.
Jimmy: “Big Bank” was that record for me. My only gripe is that T.I. didn’t pop out to yell “My daughter can’t sleep in excuses!”
Alex: Wow that would have been incredible. I’m just glad I got my “Justin Scott” moment at the very end when he came to the crowd and dapped section by section. That was an even better moment than I could have hoped for.
Ty Dolla $ign
Alex: Well Jimmy, it was at this point our paths diverged, and the pain in my knee became too much to overcome. I shit you not it took about 20 minutes for my legs to feel like normal, but anyway.
Jimmy: Yo, going into that performance, I was 100% ready to stick around for the whole thing. Then he came out and I felt the fact I hadn’t eaten for ten hours hittin’ like the kicks on K.R.I.T.’s “My Sub” series.
Alex: I kind of enjoyed the different vantage but damn it looked insane way in the middle of it. Having said that I was really feeling it and ended up catching most of his set posted on the back wall.
Jimmy: The crowd at the front was super, super into his music. What was tough for me was that a) I couldn’t hear what was getting played clearly a solid portion of the time and b) his setlist had no real structure to it, so I felt like I was getting jerked from song to song. I’ve loved all of Ty’s projects, so not feeling like I had a grip on where the set was going was jarring.
Alex: Yeah I will say I was not aware of how prevalent Ty was in my own listening habits. Hearing him jump from track to track gave me constant, “Ohhh that’s him” moments.
Jimmy: Ty’s always been a sneakily popping guy, and I’m assuming he doesn’t have a crazy rate for his features because he’s genuinely everywhere.
Alex: All in all, this was a crazy fun night, and I got to cross an item off the bucket list by getting to meet Big K.R.I.T. I’ve been wanting to see him live for years and he didn’t disappoint. For me, every other set was just icing on the cake.
Jimmy: Agreed. If anything, the Ty set was almost too much for me because I felt so worn down from the not eating, standing in 45-degree weather, and the four great sets we saw before him. I wish I could’ve had more energy for his set and stayed through the whole thing but... ya mans needed a burger before he crashed.
Alex: 100% true. I now find myself wanting to catch a Ty set in the future, which is truly one of the bigger surprises of the night.
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