Senior Copy Editor
Dreamville’s Bas made a stop at Velvet Jones on his Milky Way tour last Friday night. With his latest album release sharing the same name as his tour, Bas has pivoted from his dark New York rap style on “Too High to Riot” to a more tropical and bouncy persona in Milky Way.
Bas gained recognition and worldwide exposure when he toured with Cole on his 2014 Forest Hills and 4 Your Eyez Only tours where he opened. Regarded as the right hand man to J. Cole and the second most popular artist in Dreamville, Bas has a total of four albums on his resume and his hits include “Methylone,” “Housewives,” and “Tribe.”
The concert opened with Correy C, another representative of Dreamville. His autotuned vocals got the trickling crowd to bump to his hits, like “Foreign Girl” featuring label-mate Cozz. Afterwards, Innanet James took to the stage; the Baltimore rapper impressed the crowd with his delivery, wordplay, and unique voice. The last of the openers was Rexx Life Raj, who represented the Bay Area with a mixture of bouncy beats and introspective, intimate lyrics.
Once Bas took the stage, he proceeded to rock the small crowd with back-to-back hits, even including those from his first album, “Last Winter.” This wide selection of tunes pleased fans from both generations who respect both his bars and vibes. A unique aspect of his live performances is that the verses don’t include the track in the background, so he is rapping every single line without any support from a record, showcasing his confidence in his rapping ability and prowess on the mic.
Bas performed every song off Milky Way, even including the short interludes like “Infinity,” which is a snippet of a conversation between Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez in the film “White Men Can’t Jump” where Perez chastised Perez’s basketball-playing boyfriend about not loving her “infinity times infinity.”
This track seamlessly transitioned into “Infinity+2” when Correy C reemerged on the stage. He serenaded the crowd with his unique melodic voice which complemented Bas’ soothing lullaby rapping style on the track. After this slow song, they transitioned to a more energetic tune: “Fragrance.” It got the Fiends in the crowd to pick up their energy and sing along to the different tones that Bas used on the track.
Another standout song was the last track on the album, “Spaceships + Rockets.” This tune features a danceable beat, was remixed by Dreamville’s own DJ Nitrane, includes a fast paced, freestyle-like verse that shouts out James Harden, and brings it all together with an easily recognizable chorus that repeats the phrase, “We Lit.”
This record made a natural transition to Bas’s classic hit with J. Cole: “Lit.” During the performance, he brought a fan on the stage to rap Cole’s verse but instead of reciting the lyrics, he proceeded to freestyle, which got the initially confused crowd to cheer hysterically after he finished his creative cypher.
Throughout the performance, Bas stopped to tell some stories while his keyboard player riffed some jazzy notes, making the show more intimate and personal. He delved into the story of his new friendly neighbor Cindy who helps pick up his mail while he’s on tour. This anecdote prefaced the “Barack Obama Special,” which has a hook that goes: “I had to move cause my neighbor so racist. My new crib fly though. Looking like the Fourth of July though.”
The Sudanese rapper finished up with his two most popular tracks on the album, “Boca Raton” and “Tribe.” The former, which is a unique blend of tropical and trap, features a verse from A$AP Ferg in which Ferg shouts out various members of the label, like J. Cole, Bas, and Cozz. Bas then ended with “Tribe,” a song that reiterates the phrase: “I think I made it” while thanking the openers for their performances and the fans for their attendance.
After spirited chants of “encore” and “Bassy,” the artist returned to the stage to perform “Too High to Riot”’s last song, “Black Owned Business.” The beat fades into applause as Bas sings: “You never thought I’d make it this far, did you? You always had to make it hard for me. But I’m a mother fucking star, aint you know? Can’t you hear that applause for me? … I’m here with you.” The New York-based rapper made it very clear he was indeed here with the fans as he interacted, serenaded, and rapped for the Fiends in Velvet Jones.