“SOB X RBE, that’s the gang, bitch!” The group’s iconic catchphrase, yelled in nearly all of its tracks, was repeated time and time again by both the performers and the crowd at its Fox Theater show Saturday.
From none other than Vallejo, California, SOB X RBE went so hard during the sold-out show that it’s possible that the crowd set off the building’s fire alarm mid-performance. And yet, the mass was so wildin’ that no one seemed to notice the flashing lights along the venue walls.
The four-man hip-hop group — whose name stands for Strictly Only Brothers, Real Boi Entertainment — is composed of members Yhung T.O., Daboii, Lul G and Slimmy B. Considering that the group’s youngest members are still only teenagers — their ages ranging from 19 to 21 years old — how far they’ve come in the last year is beyond impressive, selling out show after show and securing a spot on the soundtrack of Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
The setting of the performance was pretty basic, with a simple DJ stand in the middle of the wide stage and a fun, well-executed lighting design. Elaborate staging was not needed, however, considering the sheer number of supporters constantly surrounding whomever was in the spotlight.
There’s almost nothing more wholesome and enjoyable to witness at a concert than artists hyping each other up from the sidelines, as each group member did when one of the four-man group took center stage. This on-stage energy undoubtedly reverberated into the crowd, furthering the show’s aura of excitement.
Being at a show where the artists often sing behind the blaring of recorded tracks can detract from the experience of going to see live music. Yet the raw spiritedness of the group’s stage presence —especially that of Daboii, who oozed charisma — made all the difference to Oakland viewers.
The use of prerecorded tracks is understandable, given how often vocal effects and samples are featured in the group’s music. Regardless of how obviously backing tracks were used throughout the night, Lul G’s smooth vocals stood out as some of the best of the live performances, especially on songs such as “Anti” and “Lifestyle.”
All it really took was the intro to SOB X RBE’s hit track “Paramedic!” off Black Panther: The Album, curated by Kendrick Lamar, to make the crowd go wild. Considering how the “Black Panther” movie has impacted Bay Area culture with its political nuances since its release, specifically in the city of Oakland, local pride felt embodied by fans’ singing along.
The group toured in support of its new album Gangin, which it released last month after individual members spent the past year focusing on their own solo albums. One of the most iconic songs performed off of this compilation was “Anti Social” — the crowd responded wildly to the track, its simple lyrics easy for listeners to yell back to the young rappers.
Of course, SOB X RBE still sang crowd favorites from its self-titled first album, such as “Calvin Cambridge” — a song that embodies a classic hip-hop vibe while still possessing a distinctly modern sound.
While a majority of audience members were 20-somethings, more than a few young children attended the show with their parents, standing in the tamer areas of the crowd and appearing to genuinely enjoy the music. This only went to show the widespread support for the locally grown group.
SOB X RBE knows how to put on a bangin’ show for the area from which it pulls its inspiration. As a collective, the group is young and inexperienced in comparison with other artists in the rap and hip-hop world. But its energy cements the up-and-coming group as yet another successful alumnus of the iconic Bay Area rap and R&B scene.
Contact Skylar De Paul at [email protected].