By Josh Magness
Sitting mid-stage in an elevated throne with a microphone in one hand and weed-filled blunt in the other, Kid Ink looked like a part of hip hop royalty for the approximately 150 people who attended his Full Speed Tour’s stop at the Fillmore Silver Spring on April 22. Kid Ink appeared intent to deliver a memorable performance – and with throbbing bass, hard-hitting beats, profanity-laced lyrics and an assortment of high-energy performances, he appeared to do just that.
The night began with rapper and singer-songwriter Luke Christopher, the show’s first opener, energizing the crowd with his song Life Jackets, which exploded with club-friendly beats before scaling back to reveal just a piano and Christopher’s pitch-perfect voice as he sang, “Love ain’t gonna save you/If anything it will break you down and I’m not gonna watch you drown.” Christopher’s performance of I Am Knowone, which utilized the instrumental from the Flume remix of Disclosure’s “You & Me”, was a crowd favorite with its combination of Flume’s self-described “OrchestralCrunkwave” beats and Christopher’s steady rap flow.
Bricc Baby Shitro, the second opening act, lacked energy and lost the attention of most attendees during his set. Shitro’s set was a lull in excitement as concertgoers waited in anticipation of Kid Ink in all of his tatted-up glory.
That lull in excitement extended well beyond Shitro’s performance, as it took Ink over 30 minutes to come to the stage. After the wait, Ink’s arrival was accompanied with the loud blow of air horns and, much to the excitement of the crowd, Big Sean’s hit “I Don’t F*** With You”. Ink then delved into his own discography, starting with the progressive rock-based “Faster” before transitioning to “Iz U Down”, a synth-heavy jam featuring rapper Tyga that included the lyrics “How many drinks do it take till you start gettin’ touchy-feely?”
The most interesting part of the show was Ink’s methods of engaging with the crowd, which included jumping right into the audience, passing an already lit blunt into the crowd, after Ink said “my whole purpose is to get you high with me,” and calling an audience member up to the stage to freestyle. Per Ink’s request, concertgoers also held an assortment of cell phone lights and lighters to set a subdued mood for “Hell & Back”, a slower, more introspective song.
The show did have its downsides, however. The constant blaring of air horns, before and after every song, quickly grew old and headache-inducing. Many of Kid Ink’s songs were cut short, possibly due to his late arrival to the stage, and his decision to perform a wide range of songs from other artists felt rushed and unoriginal.
If you’re looking for a concert filled with captivating vocal performances, insightful lyrics and the mastery of musical instruments on display, Kid Ink’s Full Speed Tour probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a party-centric atmosphere, beats that get you grooving and just some good ol’ hip hop, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.