In the two weeks since Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States, a number of anti-Trump protests and rallies have taken place throughout a frustrated America. In Portland, Oregon alone, the peaceful demonstrations have turned violent, with local police declaring some to be riots due to the nature of arrests and incidents of vandalism. Many Americans are making it clear they don’t subscribe to Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again.”
One such artist is Compton rapper YG, who has been very vocal about his feelings against Trump over the summer with his protest song “FDT (F–k Donald Trump),” which featured Nipsey Hussle on the original and G-Eazy and Macklemore on the remix. In September, YG embarked on the F–k Donald Trump tour with Kamaiyah, RJ, Slim 400 and Sad Boy, a movement of West Coast artists with the same belief: F–k the president-elect and everything he represents.
On Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 23), Portland’s Roseland Theater held two sold-out shows. During the evening performance, the artists didn’t water down their message, taking the opportunity in each of their sets to start “F–k Donald Trump” chants. Sad Boy, perhaps best known for describing the discrimination Hispanics face in L.A. on YG’s song “Blacks & Browns,” exercised his freedom of speech by having his hype man wave Mexico’s flag as a signal of pride. It felt like a direct middle finger to Trump and his stance on immigration. (Trump advocated during his campaign for removing illegal immigrants from the country and constructing a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.)
Oregon, along with Washington and California, is historically known for being a blue state, and Kamaiyah had remained neutral before joining the tour. Like Sad Boy and Slim, who performed before her, she rallied the crowd into a chant of her own, perhaps garnering the loudest crowd participation of the night. During her set, the 21-year-old Oakland rapper kept the party going with songs like “Out the Bottle,” “Freaky Freaks” and “How Does It Feel.” Portland has shown a lot of love to Bay Area artists in the past who have made the trek up north, and Kamaiyah was no exception.
After RJ performed some songs off his OMMIO (On My Mama I’m On) series, he balanced getting political with getting ratchet by hosting a twerk-off competition with Slim as judge. By this time, the fully energized audience was ready for the night’s main event, as loud “YG” chants echoed throughout the venue. Once the house lights went dark, YG appeared on a gurney, laying down as he passionately rapped the words to “Who Shot Me?” like he was still searching for the answer.
YG has positioned himself as an outspoken MC who is willing to stand up against injustice. At the same time, much of the rapper’s popularity is due to the critical praise for his 2014 effort My Krazy Life and several of his gangsta rap tunes (“BPT,” “Bicken Back Being Bool” and “Twist My Fingaz,” to name a few) have gone mainstream. There was rarely a moment when the crowd neither rapped along to his lyrics nor participated in his performance. “Every time I come out here it’s a movie, goddammit,” said YG, who wore a red flannel with the words “Police Get Away With Murder” on the back.
YG shouted out Sad Boy and the Latinos in the building and then took the crowd to Compton with gems like “Really Be” and “Word Is Bond” and kept the energy high with his 2009 classic “Toot It and Boot It.” He also did his own version of the viral Mannequin Challenge craze with the same hype man waving a Viva México flag on stage, getting both levels of the Roseland to stand completely still with “My N—a” as its soundtrack. He promised to upload the footage on Instagram after the show.
YG also brought out earlier performers to make his finale worthwhile. Slim served as his right-hand man for his set. RJ returned for a performance of “Get Rich” with him while Kamaiyah emerged for “Why You Always Hatin?” In a personal moment, he performed “Blacks & Browns” after warning the crowd he might forget some of the words. This time around, he did it all the way through with Sad Boy as the audience watched and listened intently.
But the biggest anti-Trump statement was YG orchestrating several audience members to get on stage and attack a Donald Trump piñata with sticks. This caricature of Trump, with a suit and a “Make America Great Again” hat, was eye-opening in that protesters — especially in the L.A. area — have burned a giant paper mâché Trump head and beaten a Trump piñata before in a gesture of solidarity. The hatred of Trump has turned into a bonding experience, as concert goers watched the piñata get dismantled and thrown into the crowd. The scene led into the tour’s theme song, “FDT,” which closed out the night.
YG, who didn’t say much this evening to push the agenda of getting Trump out of office, simply reiterated what he’s been saying about Trump and his supporters: “Suck my d–k.”
Update: YG’s Red Friday mixtape, set to drop Nov. 26, leaked earlier this afternoon, which the rapper addressed on Twitter by laying the blame on his record label Def Jam in a series of Tweets that, charitably, can be abbreviated to “FDJ.”