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Smokers Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club

Monday 13th, June 2016 / 14:28
By Gabriel Klein

May 31, 2016

VANCOUVER — To be honest, my expectations for this event were pretty low. Between the last minute venue change, the cornball weed-focused marketing strategy, the $45 ticket price, the legendary but aging headliner, and the fact that is was a Tuesday in Vancouver, this gig had “I’ve been let down by the corporate rap machine once again” written all over it.

G Herbo during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club. Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

G Herbo during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club.
Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

Turns out I’m an aging, out-of-touch hater, because Vancouver’s stoner rap set came through in full force for this one. From the moment I stepped into Fortune I was blown away by high energy levels that didn’t let up until I left. The first thing I glimpse through the thick cloud of smoke is a shirtless G Herbo, whom I had previously dismissed as some kind of drill novelty act, getting the packed crowd absolutely hype. A mass of early-20s white boys jumping over each other while aggressively shouting every single lyric back at him. The combination of rolling bass and freely shared spliffs and vapes had me feeling the vibe quick. A brief intermission later, and the Underachievers pick up right where Herbo left off.

The Underachievers during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club. Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

The Underachievers during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club.
Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

We can have all sorts of discussions about perceived lack of lyrical prowess in modern rap, or the controversial trend of MCs spitting over complete vocal tracks, but you’ve got to acknowledge the way these guys can keep up the energy levels for a whole set. Rakim said MC means move the crowd, and by that standard these guys earned their occupational title. Quite frankly I’ve been left disappointed in that department by plenty of childhood heroes (looking at you Talib)

Cam'ron during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club. Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

Cam’ron during the Smoker Club Tour at Fortune Sound Club.
Photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

By the time Cam’ron took the stage the crowd had noticeably thinned out, which says more about the demographic makeup of the crowd than the veteran MC’s status in the game. I had mentally prepared for a bit of a lacklustre last set, given the oftentimes blasé attitude with which older rap artist tend approach live shows. Especially in, lets face it, secondary markets like Vancouver. Again I was forced to eat my words as the chief Diplomat proved he could hang with MCs almost two decades his junior. It definitely helps when your catalog includes early-2000 anthems like ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘I Really Mean It’. Every once in a while its nice to be proven wrong. You’ll definitely catch me at the next G Herbo gig.

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