I’ve loved hip-hop for as long as I can remember. My dad always played the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Who when I was a young whippersnapper (always wanted to use that word on here), but the first time I heard 50 Cent and Eminem on the radio, I was hooked on hip-hop and I haven’t looked back since. Everything from legends like Biggie and Pac to today’s stars like Kendrick, Drake and Cole to colorful characters like Action Bronson and Tyler, The Creator to internet rappers with a growing buzz like Keith Ape or Playboi Carti….I’m with it.
Because of this (and because I have a lot of friends who are skilled rappers), I go to a lot of shows, and at the last few shows I’ve been at, I’ve noticed something that I flat-out don’t understand. It seems like a lot of rappers let their whole entire entourage plus even more get up on the stage for their sets.
I can understand wanting to share your victory with your homies and shine the spotlight on them, but at the same time, isn’t it the performer’s spotlight and time to shine? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you weren’t rapping, DJing, or grabbing a mic to be the hype man, what do you need to be on the stage for? Maybe it’s just an ego trip. In today’s internet age, people have an insatiable desire to be seen and seem cool regardless of if they’ve done anything to earn that right or not.
If you’re not performing, or a set part of the performance (like Kanye West’s mob of all-black wearing Londoners during his Brit Awards performance) you don’t need to be hopping around on the stage trying to get your own little piece of the spotlight. Save that for the artists. They put in the work to earn their time to shine on the stage, and they deserve the full spotlight.
You might be saying “jeez, that sounds a little harsh. What’s so bad about bringing people up on the stage?” Nothing at all, as long as it’s done in moderation or the time is right. If you’re playing in front of a shoulder-to-shoulder packed house of thousands, it makes more sense. If you’re at a small venue and you have more people on stage then there are in the crowd, then just save the ego trips for later. They’re entirely not necessary.