Atlanta rap fans know the drill when it comes to attending concerts.
A major hub for hip-hop, rap concerts in this city usually turn into a reunion of sorts on stage, with the main act bringing out as many surprise guests as they can possibly fit into their set. Even the rappers who lack stage presence manage to pull off memorable shows this way.
It would be easy to assume that rapper Future's concerts would fit into this category, but you'd be wrong.
Future showed that he has the stage presence to match the fact that he is one of the most prolific rappers to come out of this city during the second stop on his "Nobody Safe" tour, the first of two hometown shows at Lakewood Amphitheatre. Where rapper Gucci Mane ran through his hits and brought out several special guests at his 2016 Fox Theatre show, his first Atlanta concert following a stint in prison, Future decided to hog the spotlight.
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And, ultimately, that was a great decision.
Fans who watched the rapper's Coachella set may have recognized the staging from his shows a few weeks ago. To open his set, Future appeared at the top of a giant staircase before descending to the center of the stage. "Future" and "Hndrxx" (an homage to the rapper's rock star idol Jimi Hendrix and the name of his latest album) signs were prominently displayed. Giant LED screens behind the staircase and zig-zagged above the stage displayed pre-recorded video throughout the night.
Donning a yellow jacket and matching skullcap with his signature shades and white pants, the rapper opened with "Draco," a song off his 2017 self-titled album. The melodic, braggadocios song encapsulates the rapper's style perfectly. Future swayed back and forth, holding onto the mic stand as the bass rumbled throughout the amphitheater.
"I see Atlanta is ready for that [expletive] turn up tonight," he said to deafening screams from the crowd.
The rapper mentioned that he could see various family member in the audience during the show and this, mixed with the crowd's enthusiasm, likely motivated him to give such a high-energy show.
Much of his set consisted of snippets of his best verses and hooks. From "Same [Expletive] Time" to "Karate Chop" to "Bugatti," the rapper revisited his old hits and fans still knew every word. When he returned from a wardrobe change, he alternated between performing songs from his "Future" and "Hndrxx" albums, both of which were released one week apart earlier this year. The two albums topped the Billboard 200 charts at no. 1 and 2 following their release.
Future shimmied across the stage to the mumble-heavy "I'm so Groovy" before launching into the pop-friendly "Coming Out Strong" sans The Weeknd. And, again, fans knew every word.
The rapper ended his set with the help of his dancers by performing his current hit "Mask Off" and dedicating the song to the city that shaped him.
While Future gave frequent shout-outs to Atlanta during his set, opening act Young Thug didn't quite show as much hometown love. It took Thug some time to warm up to the crowd, but by the time he got to hit songs such as "Pick Up the Phone," "Check" and " 2 B's (Danny Glover)," both he and the crowd's energy had increased. Still, he didn't have any special messages for hometown fans.
Future's DJ, Esco entertained the crowd as the rapper changed into a yellow hoodie that said "Legalize It," ripped black jeans with a black bag and, yes, more shades, during the middle of his set. The Atlanta artist performed his single "Too Much Sauce," along with Migos' "Bad and Boujee" and "T-Shirt" as a dancer wore a bobblehead in his likeness. He closed the short intermission by dancing to Atlanta rapper 21 Savage's "X" and encouraging the audience to rap along to the Future collaboration loud enough so that Future would return to the stage. Ultimately, Esco's portion served its purpose of keeping fans entertained until Future returned.
Miami rapper Zoey Dollaz also performed earlier in the show. Kodak Black was billed as an opening act, but his current incarceration hindered him from appearing during the show.