On the Pinclout Stage of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the lights went dark and the outro speech to YG’s “Handgun” played over the speaker. “Now you’re ready for the world, yadidamean?” the anonymous man says, as if to initiate the entire audience. “Stay dangerous.”
Much of YG’s initial critical acclaim was directed at his ability to portray vivid narrative-stories and pictures of his life through his lyrics. His 2016 album Still Brazy provided a honest look into life in his hometown of Compton by expanding on the sounds of old-school West Coast g-funk and providing explicit, detailed lyrics.
On Sunday, for better or worse, YG tried to bring those images to life and take Oakland on a detour to an uncensored party in L.A.
A fairly direct threat was made at the end of “Suu Whoop” toward Brooklyn-based rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, when he abruptly ended the song with “I ain’t with the pink hair Blood shit.” For a few seconds, YG and the audience got political and repeated the chorus to “FDT.” The lyrics, “Fuck Donald Trump,” appeared on the screen in bold white letters. It was one of the few politically conscious moments of the hip-hop festival.
YG also brought out friends — longtime collaborator and producer DJ Mustard, Golden State Warrior Jordan Bell and fellow rapper Tyga — to dance and perform with him onstage. Essentially, YG decided to throw a rager at the Coliseum.
But there was a disconcerting moment of YG’s performance that echoed the slew of men that have — and continue to — abuse their positions of power to coerce women into doing something they don’t want to do. The rapper, and eventually the audience, verbally harassed women by repeatedly asking them to take their shirts and bras off and keep them off for the remainder of the show. YG used his position onstage to influence a whole audience to commit sexual harassment against these women –– women who came to YG’s set as fans.
At the end of his performance, the DJ played a popular sound effect from the Capcom video game “Street Fighter.” “Perfect,” the clip would proclaim. Not exactly.