Article and Photos by Andrés Alvarado
The long anticipated Decent Exposure Tour rolled into Atlanta to kick off its inaugural performance with plenty of flair. Steered by the charisma of rap genius and weed enthusiast, Wiz Khalifa, this musical fiesta included heavyweight hip-hop buddies like French Montana and Playboi Carti, Memphis artist Moneybagg Yo, Pittsburgh native Chevy Woods, and the emcee skills of the one and only, DJ Drama. The lineup ran stacked, the venue stayed packed, the anthems reigned supreme, and the joints were rolled and ready to blaze. Let the good times begin.
It might appear a tad unorthodox to bill these stars under one roof on the same night. After all, they can each helm the heck out of a performance and each virtuoso brings a special tang to their hip-hop style of cooking. Nonetheless, egos were checked at the door; this evening was dedicated to the loyal concert-goers willing to take on the mugginess and heat of a summer day in the South — all to see some of their favorites. Hyping the atmosphere for the early birds was the influential DJ Drama. This legendary award-winning master of mixing set the mood required to heighten the senses and take this night from hype to downright memorable.
The official ceremonies commenced under the guidance of Mr. Chevy Woods. A close associate of Khalifa for years, Woods dons a Yankees cap and a Chevrolet medallion around his neck while he spits his bars. On stage, Woods comes across as confident, mild mannered; yet firm in his delivery and handles some considerable swagger.
Following in the pecking order set by The Decent Exposure Tour we arrive at Moneybagg Yo and his 30-minute set. For his part, Moneybagg puts forth a more casual-rich sort of presence. Armed with thick chains and a colorless wife beater, Yo is more emphatic with his showmanship. Stomps around a little harder, dances for a minute or two, and is joined by a couple of backup dancers that give him a playboy sort of aura. Moneybagg pushes the boundaries a little more — and the fans seemed to love it.
Third in was hometown madman, Playboi Carti. A dynamo of bottomless energy armed with a no-fucks-given persona. Carti is the youngest of this bunch and it shows (in a good way). The Carti set was armed of bangers, personality, and a symbiotic party-heavy relationship between performer and crowd. Pound for pound, Carti was the leader of the opening acts and on the receiving end of some of the night’s loudest cheers.
Then we arrive at French Montana and a confusing, yet fun time. A set that was introduced by the high school marching band, followed by pole-spinning skimpy-dressed female dancer, and the appearance of a violin-carrying virtuoso. All this before Montana even set foot on deck. It came across as a disjointed and a no-theme-having launch. That is until French Montana does what he does best — carry a crowd into a frenzy. Once Montana laid voice to the mic all the disorientation dissipated and the music took over. Glitzy lights and badass graphics elevated the oomph, French Montana did the rest.
Of course, the evening reached its peak with the arrival of Wiz Khalifa. A showman in the true sense of the word. Decked in a teal basketball jersey and showing off his newly ripped physique, Khalifa enters through a back-of-the-main-stage elevated staircase. Microphone in one hand, lit joint in the other, and a huge smile that silently signals: We are about to have a great time. Under a barrage of cheers, Khalifa flings his partially smoked pot onto the crowd before delving into his rips and rhymes. Accompanied of sensational graphics and first-class strobes, Wiz is a nonstop force of the hip-hop performing arts. A headliner on his A-game putting on quite the spectacle. To witness a Wiz Khalifa gathering is to experience some cool shit; for lack of a better term. Top scores all around for the Khalifa slice of the pie.
In the end, the crowd went cuckoo for Wiz and company — and as performers, that is the best result you can hope for. Well done, Khalifa. Well done, indeed. For more on the ongoing Decent Exposure Tour, be sure to click here and get your tickets for a show near you.