Hip-hop is in a cultural renaissance right now. From artists like 21 Savage and Lil Durk making mainstream trap bangers to underground artists like Westside Gunn and JPEGMafia, there is no better time to be a rap fan than in 2023. Even rappers who were once considered more unknown are now getting the attention they deserve, which can absolutely be said for JID and Smino, who both are seeing elevations in their careers. Their respective albums The Forever Story and Luv 4 Rent have received both critical and audience acclaim and they have become affiliated with the likes of J. Cole (he is signed to Cole's Dreamville label), Lil Wayne, and even Imagine Dragons in the case of JID.
As someone who is pretty familiar with JID’s work and has heard bits and pieces of Smino’s music before, I thought it would be a good idea to take up an opportunity and go to their co-headlining stop at Stubb’s for their “Luv Is 4ever” tour in Austin. And I must say that that decision was well worth it.
However, the concert experience did not start off in the best way. Me and a couple of other members of Austin publications were met with venue confusion in regard to the guest list, which caused me to miss more than half of Smino’s set. But, what I did catch of Smino’s set was nothing short of spectacular. He had the perfect mix of hype bops and soul-inspired jams in his setlist that it never got stale or redundant. Whether he was playing songs like “Wild Irish Roses”, “Matinee”, or “I Deserve”, the set had consistently vibe-worthy energy and he had the crowd engaged the whole time. It definitely made me want to check out the rest of his catalog.
Then there’s JID, who came out for the second half of the show, starting it off with one of his biggest bangers “NEVER” as lights went off like police sirens. JID, like Smino, really knew how to pace his show, as he would frequently go from a few hard-hitting rap songs to more R&B and singing cuts and back, which really showcased his undeniable versatility as an artist. He also played a wide variety of songs throughout his career, from most-pit worthy anthems like “151 Rum” and “Surround Sound” to more low-key cuts like “Workin Out” and “Stars”, and even songs off of Dreamville’s collaborative albums Revenge of the Dreamers III and D: Day. The crowd practically knew every song that he performed and was an overall great audience, having a great rapport with JID when he just talked with them and showed love. The show concluded in amazing fashion too with the Dreamville cut “Stick”, which acted as an aggressive high-note to the show with shouting from JID and even a drum solo as well as a keytar solo, which I can safely say I have never seen before at a rap concert.
Overall, Smino’s and JID’s Austin concert for their “Luv Is 4ever” tour was absolutely fantastic. If you are someone who loves hip-hop and is looking for a no-frills great rap show, check out Smino and JID if they have a stop in your area.