ATL Rap Duo Earthgang Returns to ATX, This Time As Sold-Out Headliners
Spillage Village mayors bounce Come & Take It Live like a trampoline
By Derek Udensi,
2:15PM, Thu. Jan. 30, 2020
A long line stretched into the parking lot of Come & Take It Live last night. Doors opening later than expected failed to deter Earthgang fans from witnessing the Atlanta duo’s return to Austin. Wednesday’s sold-out stop on the Welcome to Mirrorland Tour comes nine months after their splendid undercard performance on Smino’s Hoopti Tour here last April.
It’s uncommon to see a venue as lively and packed for an opening act as Emo’s – which shares the block with Come & Take It Live – was last spring. Olu (Olu Fann) and WowGr8 (Eian Parker) turned concrete floors into a massive trampoline as attendees leapt with excitement. Given that precursor, it’s no surprise decent sight lines at C&TIL’s roomy, two-floor footprint evaporated before Chicago wordsmith Mick Jenkins finished his opening set.
Earthgang thrives on radiating energy onto anyone within its radius, so the two Georgia natives brought an abundance of free spiritedness to their headlining turn. The two shouted out earlier days of coming to South by Southwest “15 deep in a van.” Signed to J Cole imprint Dreamville Records, they began with “LaLa Challenge” and upbeat banger “Top Down,” both found on the duo’s major label debut studio, Welcome to Mirrorland, which dropped in September and showcases a grand charisma of sound.
Great performers bring their art to life, and the Dreamville tandem certainly fill that bill. Whether it’s rapping at the rate of an unhinged automatic rifle or yelping at extreme octaves, the duo performs every syllable, every sound without wasting a breath. Olu and WowGr8 went on for 63 minutes, ebbing and flowing between the conscious and ridiculous.
For their part, the crowd ate up every vocal inflection. They jumped like pogo-sticking youngsters by show's end. A good portion claimed to have seen Earthgang at that Smino show last year when polled informally from the stage.
It's with such attentiveness that a simple call and response challenging the crowd to make noise segued flawlessly into “This Side.” The two-part track touches on the paradoxical nature of modern fame and tragic deaths of rappers Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) and XXXTentacion (Jahseh Onfroy) over minimal bass before a frantic beat switch.
The imagination of the Spillage Village – an Atlanta rap collective featuring Earthgang’s fellow Dreamville signee JID, 6lack, and more – turned Olu and WowGr8’s “So Many Feelings" into a raunchy, adrenaline-boosting dance contest featuring five randomly chosen audience members performing frenetically to the elation of their peers. Dreamville’s DJ Dark Knight supplied lovely scratches that added a refreshing retro flavor to already lively tunes. The duo’s name blazed onscreen behind them after each song scorched the venue.
Earthgang continues to garner momentum after once declaring themselves a non-priority for Dreamville. Several aces served up as standout tracks from the label’s July 2019 compilation, Revenge of the Dreamers III, and solid output on Mirrorland should only increase the duo’s passionate fanbase into bigger domains.
Earthgang set-list, Come & Take It Live, 1.29.20“LaLa Challenge” “Top Down” “Proud of You” “This Side” “Swivel” “Tequila “Trippin" “Stuck" “FDT” (YG cover) “Missed Calls” “Artificial” “So Many Feelings” “Meditate” “Monday” “Sacrifices” “1993” “Down Bad” “Wells Fargo” “Bank” “Up”