Gucci Mane Brings Atlanta Trap to the West Coast, M.I.A. Gets Political at ComplexCon Night Two
ComplexCon’s expo may have come to a close Sunday night (Nov. 5), but there was one party barely brewing at the Long Beach Convention Center. Gucci Mane, M.I.A. and Young Thug graced the main stage to close out the weekend’s festivities, bringing their exuberant energy and catchy tunes to the last night of ComplexCon’s second annual musical event.
Gucci Mane, who headlined, had no regard for what he could presume was going to be a West Coast crowd -- typically favoring gangsta rap and hip-hop. Rather than assuming the worst, Gucci owned the arena and confidently yelled into the microphone, “Where my real trap fans at?” And just like that, the crowd proved trap music resonates with varying demographics.
Here’s a full recap of the night’s performances, including Young Thug's gentleman-like conduct, M.I.A.'s activism and Gucci Mane's surprise guests.
Dressed in a bright yellow North Face jacket, Young Thug was awfully polite on stage, frequently speaking to the crowd with gratitude and respect. He performed “Check, “Relationship” and “Lifestyle,” and between songs uttered words of affection like “I appreciate you in the back.” There was even a moment when he asked the crowd to switch the lights on their phones, which they did, creating a unifying ambience in the arena.
It wasn’t until the Atlanta-born rapper played his hit “Pick Up the Phone” that the crowd went into a frenzy. Fans sang along so passionately that it felt as though they were singing the anthem to him. Finally, Thugger closed out his approximately 35-minute set with his 2015 single “Best Friend,” off the mixtape Slime Season.
British rapper M.I.A. appeared onstage in a light brown jumpsuit while rocking a glittery gold shoulder-length wig and sunglasses. She split her 50-minute set in two parts, with the first half being aggressive and loud and the latter half having a lighter “let’s dance” tone. In the first section of the performance, she made many political statements rocking out to “Sunshowers” and “The World,” while simultaneously displaying "United People Sing" on a massive projector behind her.
Before jumping into her song “Born Free,” she shared a message of solidarity with the audience. “I️ want you to know we are all on the motherfucking same side,” she said with conviction. The visuals for this single, in particular, were intense, displaying police brutality and violence in red tones as she passionately performed.
There’s a moment when the badass artist disappeared and vanished for minutes, confusing the crowd as to whether the set had come to an end. Shortly after, she finally returned from the dark for the second half of the show. The activist came back in a white, loose T-shirt dress with a visor-like hat, reassuring the audience the second part is “one worth dancing” for.
She continued on with a track from her fifth studio album, AIM, called "Talk" and eventually ended the show with her most notable hit to date, “Paper Planes.” Before departing the stage, she gave a shout-out to Pharrell, who she credited for having her at ComplexCon.
Closing out ComplexCon, Gucci Mane’s official DJ set foot on stage to hype up the crowd before the rapper made his grand entrance with the hit “Both,” featuring Drake. Starting off on a high note, he screamed out to the crowd, “It’s Gucci, bitch!” Gucci followed up the opener with yet another collaboration he worked on with the 6 God, performing “Back on Road" solo. No signs of the Toronto rapper, but, as they say, the show must go on. Gucci performed a range of songs from his extensive catalogue, including “Diamonds,” “I Don’t Love Her” and “Freaky Gurl.”
Migos joined the Atlanta rapper for their recent collaboration, “I Get the Bag,” and stayed for their other catchy tune, “Slippery,” off of Migos’ album, Culture.
As if the 37-year-old didn’t have enough jams to choose from for his set, the remaining roster included “Lemonade,” “St. Brick Intro” and, of course, a literal crowd pleaser, “Black Beatles,” which he laid a verse on.
Gucci Mane let the music speak for itself and went about performing as many songs that would fit into his 50-minute set. He concluded the show with the 2015 single “Icy" and bid his farewell, saying, “Thanks y’all. Be safe. It’s Gucci!”