Waka Flocka Flame With AV the Great, #Baconomics, Elijah Heap and Ace Young'n Rockin' Rodeo, Denton Thursday, March 5, 2015
Rockin Rodeo is just about the last place you would expect to see Waka Flocka Flame. Known for being Denton's shit-kickin', honky-tonk swag bar, it doesn't exactly conjure thoughts of a hip hop show. But come Thursday night, that's exactly what happened. And as it turned out, the venue was completely sold out, filled to the brim with local fans, and by the end of the night it was home to several broken barricades and a gratuitously saturated performance space.
Rockin Rodeo is located in what amounts to a strip mall, just a stone's throw away from the UNT campus and situated between a local barbecue joint and an industrial supply company. There, in the sea of free parking, the large, red block letters that spell out "Rockin Rodeo" have, until recently, been the lighthouse to many wayward cowboys. On the inside, patrons are greeted with a sprawling dance floor, countless neon beer signs, two bars and a decent-sized stage area. Basically, the only thing missing from this scene is a mechanical bull.
It is no secret that in this town, if you are not a DJ, a country singer or a member of a heavily bearded, banjo strumming hipster band, there are very few places for you to call home. That is something that Lloyd Banks, owner of Rockin Rodeo, is trying to change. "Denton deserves something bigger. Something to cater to different genres," Banks claims.
Kicking the night off was Ace Young'n, followed by local favorite Elijah Heaps. After Heaps' exit from the stage, Gitmo Records' #Baconomics squad, featuring Wild Bill and Blaze Won, took on the ever-expanding crowd. These guys, whether they realize it or not, are incredibly body-positive, which was evidenced by their continuous, bacon-themed chants followed by their unwillingness to resort to or encourage fat shaming. #Baconomics even had some lyrics about giving "two middle fingers" none other than the Dallas Observer. (It's always nice to get a shout-out, right?)
Up next was Denton's one and only, AV the Great, whose fan base could have rivaled that of Waka's. For those in the metroplex who consider themselves hip-hop aficionados, AV is no stranger. As a political activist, TV show creator and current 104.5FM on-air DJ, AV has not only achieved notoriety, but continues to push the boundaries of the genre. His flawless delivery of perfectly intertwined lyrics and beats, combined with an undeniably provocative stage presence, makes AV the Great someone to keep your eye on in 2015.
When it was time for Waka Flocka to make his grand entrance, the rapper chose to enter through the front door, just like everyone else, and slowly make his way to the stage, serenading fans the entire way. When he made it to the stage, it was as if his body from the waist up had become nothing more than a rag doll, being shaken by an unruly three year old. The head banging continued until Waka caught a glimpse of one of those obnoxious selfie-sticks with a video camera attached to it, commandeered it and proceeded to give that concertgoer his own personal, live-action music video.
Waka kicked off his set by throwing it back to some of his classics, such as "No Hands" and "Hard in Da Paint", and inviting somewhere around 20-plus ladies onto the stage with him. Shortly after the arrival of his female sidekicks, Waka halted the music to announce that he was concerned that some of the women were "fake twerking" and as such, there needed to be a "twerk contest."
Now, I am no judge, but I am fairly certain that last night witnessed the most synchronized ass-shaking that Denton has ever seen. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the twerk-off was, of course, followed by Waka's performance of "Twerk."
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As the twerking died down, Waka decided to dish out his three-day-old mixtape, Turn Up Godz, which is a 13-track, EDM and trap-infused hip-hop compilation that features just about everyone from French Montana to Flosstradamus and is free for download. When the newest tracks, like "Mosh Pit", "Turn Up", "War" and "50k" dropped, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Waka was stage diving, people were crowd surfing, starting mosh pits, chucking water bottles to and from the stage and even began rushing the barricades. It took almost the entire security staff to hold the dividers back from the weight of the crowd.
All-in-all, Waka Flocka's venture into the sleepy college town of Denton, Texas was an epic success. Not only for the die-hard Waka fans, but also for Denton's local hip hop artists. And if last night's show was any indication, there will be plenty more where this came from.
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