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News / Music & Nightlife

T.I., YG, DJ Mustard at UIC Pavilion: concert review

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Photograph: Mitch Jenkins; Photo illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay T.I.

The UIC Pavilion holds about 10,000 people, but it wasn't a fifth of that number in attendance to see a billing of rappers T.I., Mila J, DJ Mustard, YG and ILuvMAKONNEN. The latter, Mr. "Tuesday", was a no show, however. In whatever case, the show must go on.

After two introductions from on-air radio personality UB Rodriguez, the opener came out. Mila J, the older sister of Jhene Aiko best known for her song "Smoke, Drink, Breakup," performed with her dancers and received a good reaction from the crowd. She also premiered her new song with Ty Dolla Sign, who was not in attendance. In between sets, the DJs played songs like Bobby Shmurda's "Hot Boy" and other top 40 hits. One of the DJs showed Chicago some love and played the West Side classics such as PsychoDrama's 1994 cut "Magic." And then DJ Mustard crept on stage.

As if it were a basketball game, a pre-recorded track shouted out the measurements of YG, "Standing six feet tall and weighing 160 pounds!" YG rushed to the center of the stage with a hood on his head, declaring, "I'm from B-P-T, BOMPTON!" By this time, more people were in the audience and had gathered toward the center of the floor. The young gangsta (that is what YG stands for) didn't hold back and ran through Mustard-produced album cuts from his acclaimed My Krazy Life as well mixtape joints. As the young rapper is Blood affiliated, he didn't Crip walk, but rather did his own rendition of the West Coast step. "Go, YG! Go, YG!" the crowd and his hype man shouted as he stepped and did his slowed-down footwork across stage. It was then time for the headliner.

"Lay it down, lay it down, lay it down for the king," the speakers screamed as the intro to Paperwork brought T.I. to the stage. The queen, Tiny, was in attendance working the backstage area and watching Tip perform. (The entire royal family was not there, no Major or Domani. Maybe next time.) Despite the low turnout, T.I. gave a energetic show and ran through countless hits and even did decade old deep album cuts like "Stand Up" featuring Lil Jon. The show made one realize the expanse of T.I.'s catalogue. The "Rubber Band Man" has nine studio albums and many chart-topping songs. The self proclaimed Troubleman brought out trapper rapper Lil Bibby. Bibby performed two songs in his Free Crack 2 apparel while his entourage threw out free CDs. T.I. ended his show with a trifecta of hits including "Live Your Life," "What You Know" and last but not least the most recent smash, "About the Money". As "About the Money" played, YG and Mustard came out and danced along to bring the concert to a close.

T.I. then hopped on the tour bus, went to O'Hare airport and jetted to LA for the American Music Awards. There he stood onstage alongside his former signee Iggy Alazea as she won the Favorite Hip Hop Album of the Year award. From rocking a show in Chicago to appearing at an award show in LA with his team winning. Now that's what you call a Grand Hustle.

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