By Keiana Smith-McDowell, Contributor, DC Music Live
The bar at DC9 began to crowd as fans, hundreds of them waited restlessly for what seemed like hours to participate in the experience that was the Road to Paid Due Tour ft. Murs, Fashawn, and Prof.
Personally, I haven’t been a fan of West Coast hip-hop since Snoop Dogg sipped Gin and Juice, and Dr. Dre introduced the world to Cali’s little treasure, Chronic. But that didn’t stop me from watching front and center as these four acts tore the house down last Thursday.
The show opened with two underground acts: Black Cloud Music, Noa James and Curtiss King from Southern California.
They set the vibe for what would be an awesome night of performances. Curtiss King even showed how grateful he was for the opportunity to open the show.
“Murs gave me a chance now I’m a fan of miracles,” King said.
Next to take the stage was 24-year-old rapper and close friend to Murs, Fashawn from Fresno, California.
At first glance, Fashawn is reminiscent of New York rapper Ja Rule in style, appearance and even in his energy.
He hit the stage in a grey shirt with the face of a well-known west coast rapper on it, Eazy-E respectfully worn to pay homage to his coastal roots.
Fashawn opened with, “Hola Santiago,” from his new album, Champagne and Styrofoam Cups (2013). The song, which is his rendition of Jay-Z’s “Hola Hovito”, forced his fans, which he refers to as his “Grizzlies,” to get live.
But it didn’t stop there.
He continued with songs laced with beats that made you feel like you were riding through the streets of SoCal in a 6-4 low rider Impala, but offered lyrics that could touch home quickly. “Life as a Shorty,” “Father,” and “Sunny CA,” all tracks from his 2009 independent album, Boy Meets World, chronicled the rapper’s upbringing in California and trying to make it.
As Fashawn made his exit thanking his fans, I grew restless anticipating Murs to hit the stage.
I assumed everyone was there to see Murs, until 808s began to hit hard and the crowd went wild! Everyone in the house knew what was coming next even before the skinny white guy with sagging jeans ran up on the stage and did a rhythm filled southern bounce to his hit song, “Terminator.”
Prof, the 29-year-old rapper hit the stage with the electricity of Cleveland’s wild boy Machine Gun Kelly and the flow and persona of a “down South” artist.
As his fans jumped around to the beat, Prof displayed versatility with nostalgic bluesy beats but displayed his love of partying and “whiskey and women,” which happened to be a crowd favorite.
Although Prof has shared the stage with artists like Yelawolf, Brother Ali, and Killer Mike, he appeared elated to be performing on the East Coast for the first time.
But alas, the highly underrated and underground rap virtuoso Murs took the stage, and as I looked around, I saw the crowd grow for the overwhelming support of the guy who has been overshadowed the last 13 years of his music career.
Murs, the 34-year-old rapper from L.A. opened up with his hit song “Fly” by virtually flying from a speaker (one I was standing next to) onto the stage. His graceful landing and immediate pop up let the crowd know they were in for a show.
Murs quickly transitioned into a calmer vibe when he told the crowd he wanted to do something different and recite a poem.
“Ya’ll might know this poem, so say the words with me if you do,” he started.
The poem he was referring to happened to be a tribute to the west coast as the beat dropped and he started with “It was a clear black night, a clear white moon…”
Anyone who’s heard these words knows it’s the start of Warren G and Nate Dogg’s 1994 hit, “Regulate.”
And the crowd loved it.
In his set, Murs did a tribute to hip-hop legend, Common as well having the crowd participate in his popular yet controversial smash record, “I Used to Love H.E.R. “
Murs, who has worked on his most recent projects with respected super producer 9th Wonder, went on to perform popular songs
from his 16-year-old catalogue like “Remember to Forget,” “Dark Skinned White Girls,” and “You and I.”
With the crowd still screaming for more, (specifically from his 2011 EP Murs 3:16 Presents Varsity Blues), Murs closed the show with handshakes and vocal inspiration in a song about going after all the things you want and not giving up on your dreams, titled “Everything.”
The Road to Paid Dues Tour will go on until March 30, which kicks off the Paid Dues festival in San Bernadine, CA and features acts such as Trinidad James, Joey BadA$$, Black Hippy, Scarface and more.