Since 2011, Tyler, the Creator has proven himself to be one of hip-hop's most divisive characters. From his music to his antics to his pope-inspired 2018 Grammy outfit, Tyler has always been perpetually "out there, drawing hordes of fans all over the world to treat his music like scripture."
As if he needed any assistance getting fans hyped for his biggest tour to date, he brought along Vince Staples, another young, outspoken, West coast hip-hop artist with a vigorous live show. The combination proved electric when they stopped in at the Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday (February 17).
Despite the Odd Future collective being practically disbanded, the show was opened just before 7 p.m. by Taco, one of Tyler's closest cohorts and a former OF member. Once he wrapped a very ordinary DJ set, a 05:00 minute countdown appeared on the screen with haunting atmospheric music playing in the background. It was a tense few minutes of eagerness before Vince exploded on to the stage when the clock struck 00:00.
Equipped with a fully strapped bulletproof vest, Vince came on stage war-ready, using "Bagbak" on his first weapon of choice. He disappointingly limited talking to the crowd, but doubled down on running through his 16-song set with military precision. The industrial tone of Vince's music — especially his acclaimed Big Fish Theory album — is loud, abrasive and mosh pit-concocting. Trunk rattlers like "Red Roses," "Lift Me Up" and "Norf Norf" had the floor crowd on full tilt. "Yeah Right" was used as Vince's closing cut and naturally got the strongest response.
When Tyler took the stage just after 9 p.m. the Coliseum was almost completely filled with teenagers draped out in OF hoodies and Supreme snapbacks. Their screams erupted when Tyler appeared perched atop an elaborate set dressed like a garden — perfectly matching his Flower Boy album's aesthetic. His stage presence was also very on-brand as he teased the Toronto crowd about the city being "cold as fuck" and encouraging everyone to "fucking move." What would appear to be disrespectful to the untrained ear was eagerly devoured by the 7000-person crowd, who knew Tyler's distinctive sense of humour.
He built the crowd's energy with softer cuts from his new album like "Foreword," "Boredom" and "911/ Mr. Lonely" until he induced mass hysteria when he announced "I'm playing old songs tonight." Wolf's "IFHY" bled into Cherry Bomb's "Smuckers," which turned into his career-defining breakout hit "Yonkers." The rest of his set maintained the liveliness at 110% with "Tamale," "Who Dat Boy" and "I Ain't Got Time" keeping fans jumping, shouting lyrics and chanting his name. "See You Again" wrapped Tyler's 70-minute set and left fans chanting for an encore, to unfortunately no avail.
Sure, Vince could have been a little more engaging with the crowd at times. and Taco's DJ set ran a touch too long, but the overall energy was positive and playful. After Tyler's set blew the roof off, it was clear to see that everyone in the building left fulfilled. Whether on the floor or in the very back, Tyler made sure everyone got the full Flower Boy experience.