The Club went up on a Tuesday (Alexander Gastown w/ Fashawn & Special Guests)
Words By: Racquel Villagante
Photos By: Noah Herzog
March 3, 2015 – Vancouver, B.C. – So Tuesday night isn’t known to be the most happening night in Van—let’s be real. But considering the lower than usual turnout at Alexander Gastown this past Tuesday, the freshest addition to Nas’ Mass Appeal Records hailing from Fresno, California, Fashawn (and special guests on The Ecology Tour) knew just how to deliver the goods and make the “club go up on a Tuesday” (as the song goes).
The night was kicked off by Vancouver-based rapper, originally from Regina, Def 3 getting the people going with some crowd-participation on, “So Far.” To an audience of about two dozen people staggered across the main staircase at Alexander, Def 3 set the tone for the evening when he stated, “You know, some of the best shows are the smaller, more intimate shows, which is what I think this will be tonight.” Def 3 then rolled out the hypothetical red carpet for the night’s Mass Appeal headliner with a cover of Nas’ “Represent” and got heads nodding and hands waving to the Illmatic classic.
With a couple more drinks knocked back at the bar and a couple dozen more bodies shuffling into the venue, the energy started to pick up just in time for The Ecology Tour’s electrifying rap duo out of Atlanta, Georgia, EarthGang. EarthGang’s Venus and Doc stepped beyond the comfort zone of the stage to fully engage with their Vancouver audience, spitting rhymes up and down the main staircase and directly at those distantly perched over the club’s balcony. The duo’s eyes-rolled-back and hyperactive movements, mixed in with jungle elephant and chimpanzee noises coming from their DJ Dark Knight, seemed to channel the outer-realm, oddball styles of rappers like Flatbush Zombies and Danny Brown. The crowd got hype on the Gang’s “The F Bomb,” and of course, as with any opportunity for a crowd to throw a middle finger to the air and yell, “I don’t give an F—!” in public, a collective catharsis naturally occurred.
Stepping onto the stage in a black leather Stussy bucket hat, a humble, nonchalant Fashawn approached the mic unsuspectingly and without pretentious intro, starting off his set with The Ecology’s Track 1: “Guess Who’s Back.” The spread-out audience quickly drew closer for a more “intimate” view of Nas’ claimed “most underrated rapper in the game.” Three particular fanboys in matching Fashawn tees stood directly in front of their icon and began getting a little too close for comfort. Fashawn eventually called the three overly intoxicated fraternity-esque lads out on their disrespect after they had continuously yelled into their hip hop hero’s face and were within half a cm away from contact with their aggressively clumsy up-down arm movements. Although this fanboy-glitch drew the show to an awkward halt, Fashawn’s positive energy and pure professionalism on the mic did not die down but rather accelerated from there on in.
Fashawn solidly and skillfully worked the room, laying his bars down and his heart out as if it were a packed house on a Friday night. The crowd got to bumping and grinding at the climax of the evening when Fashawn busted out his infectious bass-banger, “Out The Trunk (feat. Busta Rhymes).” The room fell silent and gears switched into more meaningful content when Fashawn dedicated his song, “Man of the House,” to “any one in the audience, whether you’re a male or a female, who had to grow up without a father”—echoing back to his own childhood involving parents who dealt with incarceration and drug addiction. The show came to a close with some masterful beatboxing and MPC skills from DJ Exile and Fashawn’s surprise freestyle finale with returning-to-the-stage guests, EarthGang and Def 3.
Fashawn was gracious enough to stick around after the show to answer a few questions for Hip Hop Vancouver…
Q: What kind of advice would you share with youth today trying to come up in the hip hop and rap scene?
Fashawn: Have something of substance to say. Have something to say that the audience can hold onto for the rest of their lives, and I think that in turn, that will give you longevity in your career. Other than that, what I would tell them is to not write for a three block radius, think farther than that, think farther than Vancouver. When you’re writing these things down, think about how other people are receiving it and how they’re connecting to it as well. Don’t just be selfish. I think that’s the secret to being an artist is to be selfless.
Q: What’s your drive and inspiration? Where does that come from?
Fashawn: It comes from a lot of different places, it comes from various places. I can look my daughter in the eyes and be like, “You know what? I need to get off my ass and go make some money or some music or some history or something. I need to go make a difference.”