Hitting the High Road
*All images are originally taken by Neelu Mohaghegh (myself).*
This past Saturday, I hit the road for musical endeavors of The High Road Tour which I had gotten tickets to earlier this past spring! The concert was held at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA (though we call it Boston), a very nice and popular venue space for the state to showcase some amazing talent. The line-up for the event was star studded with headliners Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Kevin Gates, and Jhené Aiko while accompanied by opening acts Casey Veggies and DJ Drama.
When you come to Mansfield, MA, you wonder where in the world you are. It’s almost as if there is no civilization exists there! But they do, and because they’re near the stadium, they’ve come to be very good at business, offering $20-$40 parking if you are one of those people who can not stand to wait in the traffic of parking lots. The stadium itself is a large semi-circle structure that slopes down hill, so that at the highest point of the hill is the General Admission lawn seating (usually the cheapest tickets), and then it rolls down with stairways paving the way, into waterfalls of stadium seats.
Before the show even began, people were getting caught by police for lighting up and were then either blown out or kicked out of the concert; I guess the authorities missed the memo that the show is called the HIGH Road Tour for a reason- it’s the theme.
The opening acts went first, DJ Drama and then Casey Veggies, spinning their fancy and hypnotic hip hop beats while the crowd listened and conversed with each other. DJ Drama has produced some incredible tracks with a lot of big names such as “My Moment” with collaborations by 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, and Jeremih, and “Wishing” with Chris Brown, Skeme, and Lyquin, as well as other songs with artists like T.I., Ludacris, Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz, August Alsina, and many more. Casey Veggies, a former Odd Future member, went solo and created some notable tracks including “Tied Up” featuring Dej Loaf, “Backflip,” and “Can I Live” featuring Mac Miller.
Now, the crowd was just getting into the music when mother nature decided to ruin the moment. Unfortunately, it started to rain, and everyone on the lawn (including myself) had to duck for cover under the edge of the stadium seats, still getting drenched by the rain, but better than sitting in the mud.
After 15 minutes of that chaos, we all returned back to the lawn to stand and watch the vocals of the woman who I deem my musical inspiration, my muse, and my dream mom, Jhené Aiko. I also call her the Queen of Vibes as she completely knows how to make an audience feel a certain way. In all of her petiteness, Aiko stood on stage donning a vibrant poncho dress, a baseball cap with her pastel pink hair peek out from underneath and intense platform boots. Her voice echoed through the mic with an air of sweetness as she began to sing her hit single “Bed Peace” (originally featuring Childish Gambino). Aiko has been recognized for countless collaborations with artists such as Chris Brown, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, Drake, Common, Jessie J, Rixton, just to name a few. Her studio albums Sail Out (2013) and Souled Out (2014) were amongst the best projects created by a female artist (if I do say so myself) and Aiko took the alternative/neo-chic R&B genre to new heights. She recently released a mixtape with G.O.O.D Music rapper Big Sean titled Twenty88.
After her performance followed the vehement and ferocious individual, Kevin Gates. This rapper is known for his heavy-hitting beats and his ammo-filled rap lyrics as he punctures you with every line. The MC’s career began back in 2007 where he would get his music out via mixtapes, then after a few high profiled collaborations with the likes of Pusha T and others, he signed to Atlantic Records. This year he released his album Islah.
Now came the moment the crowd had been waiting for. I, myself, was extremely amped to see the legend himself, the OG Dogg! Along with the other big headliner, Wiz Khalifa, he gave a stellar performance of his classic hits “Gin and Juice, “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name?)” and many other beloved tracks. The now 44-year old has aged, A LOT. He still danced awkwardly, but he’s hysterical on stage cracking jokes left and right and making the audience really get into the music! He’s a lot of fun.
Of course, we can’t forget Khalifa, who made a name for himself in the hip hop industry with his tracks “We Dem Boyz,” “Bake Sale” featuring Travi$ Scott, “Black and Yellow,” “See You Again” featuring Charlie Puth, and “Work Hard, Play Hard.” He recently released his song with JoJo “F*king Problems.” Usually, if someone has collaborated with Wiz, it is considered high praise! Together, Snoop and Wiz took the stage trading performance time back & forth and then reconvening towards the end for tracks which they collaborated on together.
They got crazy as their set was encompassed by lazer lights, fog machines, sexy dancers and inflatable blunts! On the stage even stood a giant weed leaf, center stage, baby. They closed the event with their hit track “Wild, Young, and Free” and then peaced out.
The whole night was damp, but fun as the crowd was certainly young and wild for these artists of hip hop. It was funny too because the whole time, the artists were harassing security to let everyone light up an telling the fans not to let the rain blow out their flames. Definitely acts worth seeing live.