Oxford Mississippi. It’s been a year since I’ve been in the town of my alma mater, Ole Miss (The greatest school known to man). Of course it would be Top Dawg Entertainment lyricist Isaiah Rashad that gave me an excuse to leave the rainy, and unexpectedly snowy, Pacific Northwest to venture back to the land of the best drunk food and best looking campus in the country. Rashad, also known as Zaywop or Zay, also gave me an excuse to see old friends, professors, and my goddaughter so my trip was slightly overdue.
I bought my tickets months in advance when I found out Zaywop would be in “Oxvegas.” I even ignored my better judgment financially and bought the meet and greet package. I received all types of goodies including a VIP lanyard, a concert shirt, and a poster. I disregarded my frugal side again once I got to the show and bought a tour hat. The hat is more of an investment in the memory though. I dropped the ball on the “meet and greet” portion of my package, but I know I’ll meet Zay one day so I’ll only kick myself in the head about for about a year.
Oxford’s Proud Larry’s is a rather intimate venue for a concert. It was a great choice for an artist like Zay- laid back, intimate, and transparent. The crowd capacity for Proud Larry’s is 300- literally the perfect venue for me to experience the artistry of Zaywop for the first time.
The opener for the show, Jay IDK, was a great precursor of what type show to expect. Jay opened his set with a mask on spitting a fire 16 and kept the energy going from there. The DMV rapper performed some songs from his most recent project, Empty Bank, and had a few acapella moments during his set.
WIth the great energy Jay IDK left on stage, Zay hit the stage with his raspy voice and started his set with “Smile.” I was personally impressed with how many people actually knew the lyrics to the majority of Zaywop’s songs. I always think I’m the only person to know of a good artist; maybe it’s a character flaw. Most of the songs Zay performed came from his latest album, The Sun’s Tirade and included “Dressed Like Rappers,” “Tity and Dolla,” and my favorite song on the album “Park.” He also played some songs from his debut TDE project Cilvia Demo, like “Soliloquy” and the project favorite “Shot You Down.” Zay even made sure the crowd was hydrated by passing out bottles of water to those of us in the crowd while singing about the importance of hydration.
In a nutshell: Zaywop brought the light with the Little Sunny Tour and Jay IDK is dope as well. It won’t be long before Jay will have someone opening up for his own tour. Oxford and I will forever be grateful for TDE coming through Rebel Nation and flipping it on its ear.