Broward County is the home of XXXTentacion, and while he cancelled his Revenge tour with several dates still left on the agenda, he held his promise to his hometown that he would still perform at Club Cinema in Pompano Beach on July 2nd. Upon arrival, it was apparent that the fans in South Florida showed up in full-force to support their very own rising star. With a line that came out the front doors of the old cinema-converted-venue, wrapping around the entire building to the back parking lot, concert goers from the ages of 12-30+ were anxiously awaiting the show.
With previous concerts in the tour causing mayhem in certain cities like San Diego, where the rapper was violently taken down on stage, and some tour dates even being cancelled by the venues, I was impressed by the turn-out of his fans, who are often likened to a “cult-following.” Some people would steer clear of an artist who brings the possibility of controversy to the concert, but his fans came ready to rage and did not disappoint. With several other up-and-coming South Florida artists in attendance, you could say the energy in the building from the beginning of the night was all love and support for the XXX. Not only was he surrounded by his Members Only crew, Craig Xen, Robb Banks, Bass Santana, Kid Trunks and the likes, but local artists Twelve’Len and Kie Money, as well as Killachef music group owner J (Shorty) Ambrose were also in the building. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the appearance of 12-year old viral rapper Matt OX coming all the way from Philly to be on stage with XXXTentacion.
As the venue filled up, Miami DJ Chief Pound started the night off with some high-energy hip-hop to get the crowd hype. Chief Pound kept his set engaging by spraying water guns pointed at the crowd and at one point being the first person of the night to jump into the crowd and do a little surfing. As more Members Only artists hit the stage the energy kept rising and built up the entrance of Bass Santana who opened for XXX. Bass Santana gave an insanely energized performance, bouncing around the stage, belting his lyrics into the mic and interacting with the crowd like a seasoned vet. If anyone in the audience didn’t know who he was before, they learned very quickly that Bass is going to be the next one to watch. Several artists from Members Only took turns with their own songs and kept telling the crowd that the headliner wouldn’t be out until they “proved to him” that they were ready, which at one point prompted everyone in the building to collectively chant “Fuck Rob Stone,” the artist on the west coast that has had continual beef with XXX and crew.
Finally the moment arrived for XXXTentacion to step out on stage and he did so by jumping around full force, screaming his lyrics to “Take a Step Back,” the high-intensity song he is featured on with Ski Mask the Slump God. The crowd was instantly chanting “FUCKED UP” in repetition with him while jumping up and down, showing him that they were there to rage. At this point the electricity in the building kicked into high gear, where it remained for the entirety of the show. Immediately following his introduction he spoke to the room demanding that because this is his hometown, it “better be the loudest and wildest show of my tour.” His fans were eager to oblige and at any point in time looking out in the crowd you could see a fully captivated audience, ready to jump when he told them to jump and scream when he told them to scream. His dominating presence was instantly clear and the allegiance of his fans was equally as evident that night in Broward County.
XXX continued to deliver one amped-up track after another, with other Members Only artists hopping on and off tracks with him when their features were up. While he performed, he maxed out on intensity and never stopped moving and jumping the whole time on stage. Known for his wild stunts during shows, XXX did not disappoint. The first of the night was when he performed his biggest hit that propelled him to stardom earlier this year “Look At Me!”. He made his way up to the second floor of Club Cinema and proceeded to dangle himself upside-down over the balcony railing in the middle of the venue for everyone to see him delivering the the upfront lyrics “can’t keep my dick in my pants,” flinging his body from side to side while his security guards made sure he didn’t fall. From there he walked around the perimeter of building on the balcony edge, balancing himself while barefooted, his signature footwear of choice for shows. He stood high above the crowd and started performing his hood bangin’ anthem “#ImSippinTeaInYoHood” when he then jumped off of the second floor balcony into the crowd below, all willing to catch him no matter how hard the impact was.
Throughout the entirety of the show X’s daring antics continued, issuing a full-on head-to-head chicken fight with Craig Xen where he divided the crowd into two with he and Craig sitting on the shoulders of their biggest security guards. On his orders, both sides of the crowd charged toward each other until either he or Craig fell.
He also later had two of his security guards hold him by his hands and feet and swing him full force off the stage, propelling him into the crowd. Every single time he did any of these things–the audience was there–ready to catch him, open up a mosh pit when ordered it, or “shut up and listen” when he told them to. In this venue, on this night, XXXTentacion could do no wrong.
The Broward County rapper went absolutely full-blast for his hometown and continually shouted out the 954 to let them know this was his favorite stop of the tour. He kept the crowd amped from beginning to end and even performed extra songs that he didn’t plan on performing, stating he rarely does that during a show. One of these was his politically charged song, RIOT. This is when his tonality became serious and he showed off his flow, rapping all of the bars instead of jumping around and hyping up the crowd as he had done for most of the other songs he performed. RIOT, which ends with a recorded hate speech at a KKK rally, propelled XXXTentacion into one of his inspired speeches he has become known for giving at his shows. Telling everyone in that room that if they are a member of a hate group that they are not welcome, and all he promotes is love and equality amongst any and all human beings. He then lead the audience in chanting “Fuck the KKK,” and captured the hearts of everyone who stand strong with his beliefs.
XXXTentacion: the wild and controversial, mysterious and abrupt, never-know-what-he’s-going-to-do-next performer, put on one hell of a show. While his biggest haters say what he does isn’t music, he remains the next huge artist on the rise, confirmed in June by XXL Magazine, winning the coveted “10th spot” this year on the freshman list. Every fan in the building screamed the words to all of his songs–no matter how obscure–and his fanbase nonly continues to rise with each song he releases on SoundCloud gaining millions of plays. What he does is beyond music though. He gives you a show like you’ve never seen, with energy you’ve never felt, and brings people of all ages and colors together to witness it all. This is only the beginning of his career and while excited for the growth and progression of his presence in the hip-hop world, this was certainly a show that will not be forgotten by anyone who witnessed it.