By: Gavin Clark –
Wiz Khalifa brought his third annual “Under the Influence of Music” tour back to Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on July 29. Some of hip-hop’s biggest names including Ty Dolla Sign, Iamsu!, DJ Drama, Rich Homie Quan, and Young Jeezy accompanied him. The best way to describe the show would be to compare it to the craziest house party of the summer.
Security to enter the venue was tight. Perhaps they expected the young crowd was under the influence of more than just music, a few kids falling over and getting kicked out before the show even started proved that point.
DJ Drama, famous for his mixtape series “Gangsta Grillz” never let the party atmosphere die. Between sets while the stage was being setup he spun mixes featuring the biggest bangers in hip-hop today. Drama also passed a blunt to the crowd, and whenever he needed an easy way to get a huge ovation, he played a Drake track and the Toronto audience went wild. Perhaps a little foreshadowing?
Singer/Rapper Ty Dolla $ign, most recent signee to Khalifa’s Taylor Gang Records, began with a strong set that consisted mainly of tracks from his new EP Beach House such as “Familiar”, “Or Nah” and “Paranoid”.
For someone who has never released an album, Ty connected with the still-arriving crowd utilizing the entire stage, moving from side to side and even hopping on a speaker at one point. In a surprise closing of his set, he picked up the guitar and played a few riffs.
During the tour, Iamsu! performed with fellow HBK Gang member Sage the Gemini, who was unfortunately denied entry into Canada and left Su to perform solo. Su was not slowed down by Sage’s absence as he hit the stage with a crazy amount of energy. Opening with his featured verses from the popular track “Beat The Pussy UP” and “Tryna Function”, Su got the crowd turned up before moving into some of his own material such as “I Love My Squad” “Hipster Girls” and “100 Grand”.
Su’s set concluded with a shout out to his partner Sage, dropping his smash single “Gas Pedal”, as the audience roared with approval while dancing in the aisles.
Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan took the stage, and after a brief intro Quan jumped right into his biggest hit “Type of Way” and received a great ovation. Unfortunately many audience members weren’t as interested in Quan’s lesser-known work like “I Know” and “Get TF Out My Face” once they had already experienced “Type of Way”.
Giant block letters spelling “J-E-E-Z-Y” were revealed and the crowd showed respect with a thunderous ovation. DJ Drama introduced the veteran trap-rapper as Jeezy burst onto the stage dressed in all black. Jeezy’s presence commands respect as soon as he stepped on the stage.
Jeezy’s classics like set opener “Put On” were given a completely new and fresh sound because of the full live band accompanying him on stage. The band added an extra layer of sound that even long-time Jeezy fans had not heard before.
Jeezy produced one of the show’s highlights as he instructed everyone to take their lighters out and hold them up while he performed 2005’s “Soul Survivor”. Jeezy also dropped knowledge on the young crowd, telling them “if your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough” before closing out his set with the club banger “R.I.P.”
The crowd grew restless for Khalifa and began a full on sing-a-long when DJ Drama played Lil’ Wayne and Drake’s “The Motto”. When organizers announced that Khalifa would be taking the stage in five minutes, the anticipation was thicker then the cloud of smoke that had formed above the crowd.
As Khalifa took to the stage, the noise in the arena was deafening. Khalifa launched into his set with his smash single “Work Hard Play Hard” before slowing things down with the smooth “Roll up”. Looking to appeal to hardcore hip-hop heads, Khalifa told the crowd that “to be a legend you have to drop classics” before the beat to “Mezmorized” dropped. The throwback tune, from 2011’s Kush and Orange Juice, was pure classic Khalifa, and from that point on Khalifa owned the crowd.
Iamsu rejoined Khalifa onstage for a high energy performance of “Bout Me” and an amazing rendition of “Taylor Gang” with his band during which Khalifa flailed around the stage like Jello Biafra in the mid ‘80s.
As he jumped into his signature track “Black and Yellow”, Khalifa moved around the stage with an infectious energy that spread all the way to the lawn seats. The song ended with so much appropriately coloured black and yellow confetti being shot into crowd it looked like a Pittsburgh Steeler’s Super Bowl parade.
Khalifa’s house party vibe took a very exciting turn when he invited Toronto’s own Drake to perform a pair of tracks including “Trophies” and “Started From The Bottom”. As great as Khalifa’s performance was, it was obvious that the city belonged to Drake.
The finale came when Khalifa performed the lead single from his new album Blacc Hollywood “We Dem Boyz”, as the crowd sang along as a shirtless Khalifa, now drenched in sweat, left everything on the stage. He sang, he screamed, he smoked. He could do no wrong in front of the Toronto crowd who he granted their requests for an encore of “Medicated”. As fans left the building one thing was for certain, all those who attended were definitely under the influence of music, and they weren’t coming down any time soon.
Check out our photos from the show here.