The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center

The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center

Philly’s Stephen Piner and Jamir Shaw commemorate five years of dopeness with a sold out Dope Shows Birthday Bash concert and the announcement of their new recording label, Dope Records.

Celebrating a milestone such as a fifth anniversary would be an easy jam to fill if you were, say, having a house party birthday and blowing out candles. For Stephen Piner and Jamir Shaw – the West Philly co-creators, curators and promoters behind the Dope Show live hip hop brand – having that same fifth Dope Shows Birthday Bash party at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night (Grammys Sunday, no less) with the responsibility of selling out the arena, too, was a piece of cake.

Stephen Piner and Jamir Shaw

Having rap’s top charting names such as Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Gunna and G-Herbo along for the ride helped. Plus, they had a special announcement to make that was bigger than all of its acts: that a Dope Show record label, Dope Records, was soon to make its debut in May with its first signing, West Philly rapper, Toure, part of the night’s proceedings.

The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center
Toure

Having witnessed several Dope Shows of the past, the one thing I can attest to is the co-creating pair’s professionalism and attention to time and detail and making sure that every artist does a full set, rather than an abbreviated blip, like many multi-act rap programs. For a still-young outfit, the gentlemen of Dope Shows put on mega-concerts like veterans of the game.

G-Herbo

Getting there right before Chicago-based G-Herbo went on stage, I got to watch this still-too-underappreciated rapper do his thing. A deep voice and deeper, thicker beats with melodies sinsemilla-scented: if you weren’t high and vibing when you got to Wells Fargo, you were then.

The young North Philly-based TikTok team of Yxng K. A + Zahsossa + D Sturdy: I reported on dosage MAGAZINE not so long ago about the local club-based production/rap teams, and these guys are at the top of that list. What I didn’t say then was how melodic this crew is in a live setting. This outfit is one to watch going forward. Plus, they seemed to have a thing for its female audience… Very old school Philly.

Yxng K. A + Zahsossa + D Sturdy

Not only is Gunna and his production team (yay, Wheezy) my current hip hop obsession. On the live tip, Gunna has his own haunting presence, Perhaps, it was the slow, spare atmospheric arrangements prepped by Wheezy and company, or the calculated and crepuscular manner of rap that Gunna uses in order to push the P, Gunna’s set was cool, cold, distant and dynamic. Especially when he hit the dry icy “Drip Too Hard.”

The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center
Gunna

The same can be said of Lil Durk. The king of drill has always managed to keep up that marauding menace quotient in his spacy productions. That too was true of his gig at WFC. It’s Durk’s signature. But to go with his current appropriation of the top of the Billboard charts with tracks such as “What Happened to Virgil”, featuring Gunna, and the fact that Durk has played for Dope Shows in the past, there was also something lighter about his act on the stage of the Wells Fargo. He’s friendlier but still had that sinister vibe. Mean pop hop. It’s a thing. Speaking of pop, Lil Baby, the night’s closer took a minute to come out, but made the lateness worthwhile by punching up through his best, taut tracks such as “Humble,” “Woah” and “Yes Indeed.”

The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center
Lil Baby

Overall, this Dope Show was a stone soul jam the likes of which will be hard to match…Are you listening Roots Picnic and Made in America?

Here’s to their next birthday party.

The Dope Shows Birthday Bash Sells Out the Wells Fargo Center

Images: Wavy Basquiat


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