Gunna Drips His Way Into NYC's Gramercy Theater With a Young Thug Cameo for Tidal X Performance

Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Gunna performs at the TIDAL X GUNNA album release show on Feb. 26, 2019 in New York City. 

On Tuesday night, Atlanta rapper Gunna hit the stage at NYC’s Gramercy Theater in Midtown Manhattan for a collaborative show with Tidal, just four days after the release of his debut album, Drip or Drown II.

Outside of Gramercy, there was a gaggle of people bunched up at the door and several men desperately pushing women aside to rush through and catch up with their friends who’d already made it past security. Inside, Brooklyn rapper Casanova and Afrobeats superstar Davido were spotted in the crowd. Bartenders handed out free bottles of water with "Drip or Drown" replacing the original labels. Production hurried to test overhead shots on a camera dolly for the live stream. Some concertgoers were gifted with tickets via Tidal and there was a short promo video that ran before the start of the show, with clips of the fans accepting. One man name-dropped his own project, and it sort of felt like that all night: as if half the crowd were artists. Of course, there were actual Gunna fans there ,but there was a vibe.

This would be Gunna’s first full performance of Drip or Drown II since it dropped, and the energy throughout the venue was hard to place. At times, it felt jumbled -- a mix of anxiety and anticipation that spilled over into some concertgoers shoving past Live Nation employees who were attempting to scan tickets and others pushing their way up the stairs in the rear seating area. There was obviously a flood of testosterone in the room. As weed smoke wafted into the air, the crowd on the floor had finally settled and the show was set to begin.

Gunna appeared in a floor-length platinum bubble goose over a pair of sateen joggers and a white button-down and immediately jumped into his set with “Pedestrian” and “Outstanding.” The Young Stoner Life signee didn’t do too much small talk onstage, outside of the occasional open-ended statement. “I’m in New York, man...,” he said between songs. “I’m up here looking for a mistress.” Two kids in skater gear stood up in the seating area, as if on cue, and peered at the stage expectantly. No dancing or anything, not even a head bob. But the rest of the crowd was on their feet as well; two men were rhythmically throwing their arms around while the third held up a front-facing camera and a few people below jumped around in pockets on the floor.

Gunna rapped about his wardrobe and his climb to the top of the hip-hop industry. The instrumental for “Speed It Up” started and one woman shouted, “Ooh, this is my song.” The rapper strolled back and forth onstage: “Cheddar, cottage/ Good brain, college/ Her frame/ Body/ Mulsanne/ Bought it.” He moved into “One Call” and revealed a sliver more personality in his performance, even hitting a couple of dance moves on the hook. “Designer head to toe/ I sip to the head and float/ I already bagged the pole/ You n---as too scared to go.” Gunna continued moving quickly through Drip or Drown II while revisiting older tracks, with “Richard Millie Plain,” “Paid” and Travis Scott’s “Yosemite” also included in the set.

“Chanel (Go Get It)” began and the crowd erupted when Young Thug, donning skinny jeans and a pinstriped Yankee cap, appeared onstage to show support to his signee. He stayed awhile, performing his verse on “Oh Okay” alongside Gunna. “Aye!” Thug shouted. “Y’all want me to do a song in this motherfucker? Whassup?” Just then, this writer watched a man stand up in his seat and climb over four rows to land just behind the Tidal production hub. He pulled out his phone as Thugger glided into his performance of “Digits.”

By the time Gunna had returned to the stage, the crowd was ready for more. He jumped into “Drip Too Hard,” a favorite on NYC radio, and “Top Off.” There was no extra frill: Gunna did his job and signed off, “I appreciate y’all showing me love tonight. I feel the positive vibes.” The crowd hung around another few minutes as if they weren’t sure whether or not the show was actually over. Alas, it was.