Last year when I sat down with Reddy here in Los Angeles, I never expected to see him back in the States so soon. This time round he was accompanied G2 as they co-headlined WESKE Entertainment‘s ‘K Hip Hop Fest Part II.’
G2 is the epitome of melding American and Korean hip-hop into hard-hitting beats with a savage flow and a quirky personality that’s so relatable to fans. He’s cultivated a strong following in both South Korea and internationally, currently signed under Hi-Lite Records. Born in South Korea, raised in Dallas, Texas, he’s always maintained his own style reflecting in the culture he grew up in. A culture filled with Korean roots and Dirty South beats. Years before he graced a main stage, he sported dreadlocks and cargo shorts. He talks about this, not only in his new album G2’s ‘Life,’ but on stage where he says hip-hop became his life.
Reddy has always stood out, in his own spotlight. With creative sounds and beats, teetering on the edge of hip-hop and trap, grasping at the hem of jazz with funky mixes, he spits rhymes about love and hate, the hell that is relationships and partying until you can’t feel your feet. He’s always been the favorable surprise on every collaboration he’s participated in, and dropped tracks seemingly out of thin air sounding like the soundtrack of your life. His down to earth personality spills over in his lyrics, not to mention his gorgeous melanin and big bright smile. So finally we get to experience ‘Universe‘ live, his life etched into an album eight songs thick and ready for your ears.
On Friday night, a crowd of diehard Hi-Lite Records fans converged onto Club 333 in downtown Los Angeles, and we were initially blessed with a huge roster of locals, some I’ve seen before, some were new to me. Coco Avenue (whose recent breakup saddened POC K-pop fans everywhere), Baby J, Demi, Justin Park, Bok N Cren, Apollo & Gemini, and Kero One were just a few of the massive list of openers.
G2 then took the stage, and by ‘took the stage’ I mean he ran past me, through the crowd, to the front of the stage, and pulled himself up past the buzzing speakers as he started his set. “Honestly I couldn’t figure out how to get on the stage so I came in like that,” he says to the audience. He then tells us he’s tipsy and goes on about his family emigrating to the US in 1999, how growing up in Dallas taught him one thing: that hip-hop was his life. G2 talked about the new places he’s traveled to, and how no matter what, he always stays reppin’ Koreatown.
During his set, G2 covered almost his entire ‘Life’ album. He dedicated “Hymn II” to his old-school Dallas mentors who taught him how to drink, while he drank a Corona on stage and stumbled through the song. Literally. He then performed “Comfortable“, causing every girl in the audience to scream their brains out at the sound of Gray’s voice blaring from the speakers. Next up was “Knockin At The Door“, and then he introduced Reddy with “Paradise.”
“We Are Young” is my favorite track from G2’s entire library, and what I wouldn’t pay to see Jessi perform it live with him. “Shout out to Jessi one time,” he yelled into the mic as the track began and it was so good. It’s the type of track that has this driving strength in it. An anthem for anyone who’s ever felt that struggle with growth and change. The alienation, loneliness, depression, he put every drop of emotion into his performance, pulling the audience with him.
After the transition, Reddy charged in with “The New Birth“, and let me tell you how damn good it sounds to hear G.Soul‘s sultry sexy voice coming through loud speakers. Then Reddy really got things going when he performed his ‘Show Me The Money 5‘ hit, “$insa” as the crowd sang along to his 90s hip-hop flow.
Reddy just has this ability to woo the crowd, and standing in a rush of thirst is a dangerous thing as he performed “Moscato D’Asti” (becuase he knows what the classy ladies like to drink). “Ocean View” was last year’s come up anthem and he did it justice, even with speakers poppin and mics being crazy.
For a hip-hop show, this event went down super early and we were out by 10 PM and hunting for food before hitting Club Bound for the real insanity: the after party. I walked into Bound by 11:30 PM and got a round of greetings from the K-Town Gods: Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, Danny, Tiny, and all them.
Not gonna lie, sometimes you just need to dance with your girls and a giant group of strangers to set a night off perfectly, which is what we did. By 12:30 AM, a tipsy Reddy and G2 hopped up on stage and partied hard with the crowd.
What I love about hip-hop even is their need to connect to fans and party. We’re all the same people. There are no classes. There’s only beats, rhythm and rhymes. They got a mic in their hand we got a need to turn up, so they deliver. That shouldn’t surprise, since Hi-Lite Records artists never fail to deliver.
If you love hip-hop, or hell, even if you just kinda like it, make sure you check out G2 and Reddy next time they come around. They’ll definitely be back and you definitely won’t regret it.