There was an air of mystery surrounding the appearance of 2 Chainz at the Rialto Theatre on Aug.9. Tucson was the first stop for the rapper’s Pretty Girls Like Trap Music Too Tour. Part of the buzz emanated from an expected arrival of four tour semi trucks and an entourage of approximately 48 people. Skooly and Young Dolph were scheduled to be the opening acts. No one could guess why 2 Chainz would need so many people and so much equipment.
Tucson fans love hip-hop music. It was apparent upon arrival at the venue that this was a sold out show. The fans were lined up around the block at the venue and the body searches were on as everyone was allowed entrance. Inside the theatre, a DJ was entertaining the crowd as they packed in the room. The University of Arizona basketball team entered the venue for the show as well. It was clear that 2 Chainz' Atlanta trap sound had clearly struck a chord in the desert, just as it has everywhere in the U.S. and beyond.
Atlanta native, Skooly was the first opener for 2 Chainz. He is signed to 2 Chainz’ independent record label, T.R.U. and a member of the group, Rich Kidz. His energetic set was a short 15 minutes.
Young Dolph’s set followed after an intermission. His stage entrance was different from his predecessor in that he had a large ornate chair located center stage that rotated around toward the crowd occupied by Young Dolph. Young Dolph was actually raised in the south side of Memphis. The southern rapper has been a regular collaborator with 2 Chainz and his 40-minute set was a perfect fit for the tour.
It was finally was time for the main event. As the curtain came up, there was the most elaborate stage setup more suited for a traveling Broadway play than a rap concert. The background was an all pink replica of 2 Chainz’s TRAP house in Atlanta used for his latest album cover. It included a sidewalk with a chain link fence, street lamps, and strategically placed lights. Everything seemed real. The set started with a small gospel choir singing on one side of the stage. Then the dancers appeared in the yard and outside on the street. Emerging from stage left was 2 Chainz riding in a pink wheelchair with his left leg elevated.
Initially, it seemed that the wheelchair portion was a prop in the show, especially since the wheelchair was color coordinated with the rest of the set. However, after the first song, 2 Chainz addressed the fans and told them that he broke his leg at his daughter’s birthday party two weeks ago. “When I woke up from sedation the doctor told me, ‘well looks like your gonna have to cancel your tour.' So I told him maybe it means God wants me to use my mind and be creative. So after all the morphine and pains meds wore off, I called management and said somebody find me a ‘pink wheelchair.’ The tour and the show must go on."
2 Chainz performed the one-hour set from his wheelchair being pushed around by one of his dancers. His doctor will be happy that he is staying off that leg. There was no electric wheelchair for him. Upon closer inspection of his leg, the dressings and soft cast appeared to be legitimate. 2 Chainz is a genius at marketing with his elaborate set, matching wheelchair, merchandise, and his raised awareness of trap music and what it means. This is a must-see show.
2 Chainz' tour continues through the end of September. Click here to get tickets to select dates on AXS.com.