A sold-out crowd’s worth of University students queued in the cold outside The Blind Pig Sunday night in hopes of buying the remaining tickets to Virginia rap duo Clipse. Even those who purchased tickets in advance gathered around to secure a spot close to the stage.
Once they all got inside, they waited. And they waited. And they waited. But the pair didn’t take the stage until after midnight.
To be fair, opening acts are always in a difficult position. Fans pay to see the headliner and often don’t want to stand through the sets of artists of whom they’ve never heard. This is especially true at a smaller venue like The Blind Pig, where, in the case of a sold-out show like this, fans are packed tightly with little room to move.
Yet there was an expansive array of opening acts that attempted to satiate the crowd, including a set from One.Be.Lo, but by the time the Global Gangstas hit the stage, fans were restless. They began to boo the Gangstas and demanded to see Malice and Pusha T, chanting, “We Want Clipse!” One of the Chicago-based group’s members shouted, “We still got love for Michigan” as he left the stage, though some of his partners were visibly angered by the crowd’s reaction.
The tedious lengths of the opening sets caused the crowd to grow restless, but once Clipse took the stage and started rapping “Mama I’m So Sorry” from Hell Hath No Fury, memories of standing in the cold softened.
Clipse have a respectable catalogue, and they performed several of their hits Sunday night, including “Hot Damn,” “Grindin’ ” and “What Happened to that Boy.” These Neptunes-produced bangers shined in the live setting.
The crowd sang along to these well-known tracks, their fitted baseball caps bobbing as they nodded to the beat. Fans got a chance to see Malice and Pusha T, brothers who sound a lot alike, perform the verses they’ve heard dozens of times. It’s often difficult to distinguish between the two on record, so seeing them live gave listeners a chance to match the lyrics with the rapper.
And Clipse was certainly on point with lyrical delivery. The duo sounded just as smooth live as they do on their albums, never skipping a word even as they raised their voices to match the intensity of the beats.
Clipse kept the crowd energized with tracks from Hell Hath like “Ride Around Shining” and “Chinese New Year,” and as they seemed ready to leave the stage, the crowd chanted “Mr. Me Too,” in hopes of hearing the lead single from the album. Clipse complied, performing the song right before exiting the stage.
The entire set was under an hour, and while they left out some hits (“When’s the Last Time”), the performance was filled with energy. Clipse is not a huge seller, but they have delivered some of the best albums of the last five years. Drug dealing is their topic of choice, but they present their rhymes in an upfront, unique way, which has helped them maintain a devout fan base.
Clipse have a strong live show that does justice to their recorded output. If only they had been on stage as long as their opening acts.
At the Blind Pig