OAKLAND — The party arrived early at Oakland Arena on Wednesday for the Red Cup Tour with rapper YG.
The Compton native’s first tour since 2019 is in support of his 2022 album, I GOT ISSUES, which he released in October. Though none of his famous collaborators on the album like J. Cole, Post Malone, Nas or Roddy Rich made an appearance, YG was joined by OhGeesy, Day Sulan, Kalan.frfr and D3szn, who like the headliner were born and raised in L.A., and most are on his label, 4HUNNID.
It’s not surprising that the Bay Area has a deep affection for YG because he’s incorporated the sound of the region into some of his most recent work, such as the collaborative tape he made with Sacramento’s Mozzy, Kommunity Service. He’s also recorded with H.E.R. and Kehlani, blending smooth-yet-taunting rap with melodic R&B. And that’s just in his music. Outside of it, he’s an entrepreneur, business owner and actor. Since the outset of the pandemic he’s donated $100,000 worth of food from a restaurant he owns and founded a nonprofit that provided thousands of dollars in personal protective equipment L.A. families living in emergency crisis housing.
The stage was illuminated with pyrotechnics, spewing fire to every beat. This went on throughout his entire performance. YG (whose name is Keenon Dequan Ray Jackson) began with songs from his 2014 debut album, My Krazy Life, including hits like “BPT,” “I Just Wanna Party” and “My Ni**a.”
He repeatedly mentioned his gratitude to be able to perform in the Bay Area for the first time since 2019. Interestingly, he said he had declined a show at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and wanted to a show in Oakland.
YG then took a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of rappers Slim 400 and Nipsey Hussle, and dedicated “Racks in the Middle” to the latter.
Politically charged anthem “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” was preceded by a story about how the Trump White House threatened him after it’s release in 2016. The crowd chanted along to the chorus while red, white and blue lights brightened the inside of the arena
Other hits on Wednesday included “SUU WHOOP,” “UP,” “Toot It and Boot It” and one or two songs from 2020’s My Life 4Hunnid.
The show also featured OhGeesy, who’s demonstrated his ability to establish himself since rap group Shoreline Mafia’s departure by performing solo songs from his 2019 album, GEEZYWORLD. Like YG, he’s also incorporated elements of Bay Area culture into his music by using samples from Too $hort’s “Gangsters & Strippers” on his own cut “Gangstas and Sippas.”
He didn’t disappoint, performing tracks like “Get Fly,” “Musty,” “Bands” and “Whuss The Deal.” Bay Area fans were in for a treat as well because OhGeesy invited many of his local friends up on stage, including Lil Pete for “It Ain’t Shit,” DaBoii from SOB x RBE for “Calvin Cambridge” and Capolow for”Drip.” Fans showed their appreciation blighting up the room with cell phones.
Preceding the two biggest names of the night was Kalan.frfr, who expertly combined upbeat vocals with melodic lo-fi beats. The Roc Nation artist, whose name is Kalan Montgomery and who also goes by Forreal Forreal, has captured the laidback West Coast vibe that YG slowly began to establish in the early 2010s. Kalan.frfr just released a new album, 222, in December, and he performed several songs from it at Oakland Arena, including “Pull Up,” “No Stoppin” and “U Want It.” Other highlights included “Fine Ass,” off 2018’s TwoFr.
At one point, a group of fans even started jumping rope right on the arena floor during the performance.
Compton’s Day Sulan, who infuses her music with influences of both her Vietnamese heritage and her unfiltered upbringing, was also on the bill. She’s prepared to establish herself on this tour with performances from her most recent project, Crazy Girls, as well as collaborations with YG going back to 2019. Day Sulan went through her catalog, performing tracks like “Bailar,” “BIG” and “Gravity.” Backup dancers complemented her every move to her songs.
Hip-hop newcomer D3szn opened the concert, performing songs from his debut album, In My Projects. Tracks included “DRIP,” “Goofy Ho” and “Don’t Get Caught Lackin.” D3szn was energetic, at one point even rapping on the speakers that sat in front of the stage next to the fans at the barricade, asking everybody to “hold their red cups up.”