It was really cold and windy outside Tuesday night. The line stretched well around the corner of Lexington for the Best of Both Offices re-launch/Complex show at the Gramercy Theater featuring a Def Jam-heavy lineup of 2 Chainz, Asher Roth, Ace Hood, Vado and Gunplay. People were waiting well past the door open time as everyone with a url tried to muscle their way into VIP with varying degrees of success. People made it in piece by piece, the room seemed to fill up pretty quickly as show time approached, exhausted by the amount of standing and/or arguing with the people at the front of being at the top of the "list" (guess what, everyone had to RSVP to get in tonight. None of us are really special for knowing Manny, sorry guys).
A previously unannounced Torch hit the stage first to Self Made's "Big Bank" before Gunplay, awesome dreadlocks and all, joined him afterwards for a mini Triple C's/MMG set to start things off. "Bogota," a forgotten gem in the sprawling MMG catalog, sounds just as epic live as the white linen-outfitted/chicken coop-littered video makes it out to be. He did a half/mini strut, which constituted his "bogota walk" to go with his "bogota talk" in the chorus of the song. And the chaotic "Rollin" followed right after (sans Flocka) keeping the crowd right in line with his "campaigns with champagnes." The set kind of ended abruptly, the chance of a "Cartoons & Cereal" performance disappearing with them off the stage, disappointing the handful of rabid TDE fans in the crow waiting for a surprise.
Vado showed up promptly right after Torch and Gunplay left the stage (an unusually welcome theme to the night) in the cleanest trench coat and designer sunglasses he had in his closet. He zipped through his hits for the home NY crowd, including "Large on the Streets", "Speaking in Tongues" and "Hey Mama", trying to get everyone involved as best as he could. People seemed drained last night, and it started to carry through to the Ace Hood set as well. He came through for a quick cup of coffee, playing what had to be a 10-15 minute long set before dipping out. The ubiquitous "Hustle Hard" seemed to be a crowd pleaser, but apparently not enough for him to stick around any longer than he had to.
The biggest response of the night came from Asher Roth, who decidedly stepped the crowd-work up for the night. He climbed across the stage to the bleachers as he ripped through cuts from last year's criminally underappreciated Pabst & Jazz. DJ Wrecognize played hypeman while on the ones and twos as Asher rapped (sans vocal track, the only one of the night) through a sampler of the Blended Babies/Chuck Inglish goodness including "Gold Midas," "In the Kitchen," and "Common Knowledge." Asher chopped it up with fans in between songs, genuinely appreciative to be at this stuffy Def Jam showcase after the past year of label politics. As a reward to those riding with him from the start, he ended with his "A Milli" rendition from his first mixtape, "The Greenhouse Effect, Vol. 1," showcasing why he was worth of a major label record deal in the first place.
2 Chainz capped off the night, headlining the second of two 2 Chainz shows here in the city (the other for the Source issue release party). The chants of "I'm trippy, I'm trippy, I'm trippy" rolled out of the speakers as "The Artist Formerly Known as Tity Boi" took the stage, with literally a white-corded house phone stuffed into his front pocket. The phone swung from side to side in one hand with the microphone in the other as he ran through a majority of his cuts from last year's T.R.U. Realigion tape. A surprising amount of people knew the words, including a couple of guys clearly getting their Mardi Gras celebration on. When the opening drums of "Superfreak" started, they collectively lost their minds and got their swerve on for the entire song, not caring what anyone thought about their janky dance moves or off key singing. The set just kind of ended, as people started to head for the exits when he called for his outro music. He threw on his blue velour zip-up and posed for whatever cameras were near him, contempt letting the music ride out into the night along with everyone else. The show was performed, the necessary songs were done, and people were seemingly okay with it just fizzling out towards the end. It was just that kind of night.
Follow Jerell Tongson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollapino