Cervantes’ Masterpiece was filled to the brim with eager hip-hop heads this week, and fans brought their A-game: brand labels shined up nicely in the front row, from Supreme, to Vans, Nike, Adidas and, of course, Bape. The crowd was there for a bumpin’ lineup: J-Krupt, Tony Neek$, Playboi Carti, and headliner Lil Uzi Vert. (Read more about these artists in our Cervantes’ pre-event coverage here.) And they knew it.
Security guards had to push the barricades against the raging crowd to keep people out of the VIP area… and this was just for the opening DJ of the night. As the warm-up acts wrapped up their sets, the crowd grew anxious, and everyone started chanting “Carti!” over and over again. When Playboi Carti finally emerged from the depths of backstage, I could literally see a wave ripple through the crowd as people from the very back pushed to the front.
Carti’s style is raw; he avoids heavy vocal editing in his work. As such, his live performance barely wavered from how it sounds on his recorded tracks, whether he was transitioning from the traditional MC style of blurting into the mic or straight vibing to his own beats. Carti’s voice oscillates between the lazy-like style coined by Future, to that almost nasal pronunciation Vince Staples has. He kept the energy high as well, which culminated at one point when he literally flew into the crowd.
Not long after Carti’s set, Lil Uzi Vert ran onstage holding his girlfriend Brittany’s hand, both of them adorned in colorful Supreme sunglasses. Uzi’s personality is so strong, not only by way of appearance (fully clad in Vlone accented by black Yeezy 750 Boosts), and his recognizable voice, but most by his energy. If you didn’t know who Lil Uzi Vert was prior to this show, you found out the second he stepped out into the spotlight. His quick lyrics were broken with heavy “Yeah!”s, while sweat trickled down his back, shining from the insane dance moves he jumped into while spitting full 16s. His energy is unlike any other hip-hop artist I’ve seen.
The show ended with Lil Uzi Vert’s bringing out Carti for a joint performance of “Left Right”, the song for which their current tour is named. A security guard brought out an entire case of water bottles and the two artists proceeded to drench the crowd, with people begging to be soaked. It was wild.
Cervantes’ brought such an infectious hip-hop lineup to Denver this week, which has me curious for their summer show lineup. Make sure to keep up with them here, and catch a show there soon!
All photos per the author; embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited.