Usually rappers are late, it’s just the nature of artists in general, so it wasn’t a shocker that 30 minutes had passed and Migos were still not on stage. Much to our surprise, however, their tardiness was caused by their own fans. With that said, being incredibly late still seems to be their thing. Set to take the stage at Ottawa Bluesfest by 7pm, Migos were one of the most anticipated acts among young festival goers for this year. Festival goers who caused such a stir on the grounds that security locked down the main gates and caused the trio to be late for their own show. Finally by 7:30 the typical “warm up the crowd for an hour” DJ set ensued. While security hosed down thousands of angsty kids chanting for Migos, DJ Durel did his 15-minute best with a Drake, Rae Sremmurd, and Future hyped set.
It was DJ Khaled’s face plastered across the screens and his booming voice in the air, screaming “THEY DON’T WANT US TO WIN”, that let you know that Migos were about to come out. One-by-one Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff took to the stage to “C U L T U R E”, the first track off their debut album featuring Khaled himself, followed by “Get Right Witcha”. You would think after your fans waited 45 minutes for you there would be some making up to do but Quavo was the only member with any kind of stage presence to speak of. While smiling, dabbing, and making conversation with the audience, it’s clear that Quavo is the star performer of the group. But let’s not forget that everybody has their role and place. Regardless of their catatonic movements, all three Migos made it through a hit list of songs including “Hannah Montana”, “Pipe it Up”, and “Fight Night” that seemed to please a crowd who knew every single lyric. Not to mention Takeoff who didn’t miss a beat or a breath on his “Tshirt” verse.
After a quick and steady rise to fame, the Hotlanta-trap based group are known for three things: their 90s R&B inspired wardrobes, their molly-swagger lyrics, and mostly stirring the crockpot. Having been around for a little while, gaining recognition from their “Versace” and even more after remixed by Drake, the young group have culled a massive following and an impressive resume; They’ve shared stages with the biggest names in hiphop and have performed just about everywhere you can imagine.
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The biggest news of the night was not about Migos’ performance though. In fact, that came secondary to everything else that happened throughout night which opened one of the most heated Bluesfest debates we’ve ever seen. It’s no secret that particular handfuls of kids got out of control, some even breaking down an entire fence to get inside, ruining the vibe for thousands of other kids just there to enjoy their time. But the most pressing question is: should we blame hip hop music? We may be a little biased but our short answer is NO. Every generation has its scapegoat– the person or aspect of entertainment that we blame for our kids “bad behaviour”. In the 60’s, it was Elvis Presley’s hips; In the 70’s it was disco music; In the 80’s, it was sex, drugs, and rock & roll; In the 90’s it was punk shows and mosh pits. But with its prejudice undertones at every turn, it’s hard to ignore how often hip hop music has come under fire in the last 30-or-so years. “Ghetto”, “thugs”, and “a certain type of crowd” are just some of the descriptives used in recent debates about hip hop at Ottawa Bluesfest from people who wish nothing more than to just ban the whole genre. Will that really solve the issue? Again, our short answer is NO. Mob mentality can strike anytime, anywhere, with any type of crowd. Don’t believe me? Throw Harry Styles in a field and see if kids don’t mob everything in sight. But you better believe behind-the-keyboard-Brenda wouldn’t have the same issue with One Direction at Bluesfest as she does with Wu-Tang. Moral of the story here: it’s time to reign in your kids again and teach them how to act in public instead of blaming some rapper who doesn’t even know your kid exists. Or keep your kids home, whatever works.