On a breezy Wednesday night, EARTHGANG & GATSON performed at Foellinger Auditorium. GATSON, a Champaign native, opened the show with solid rapping and lyricism. He was extremely grateful to be performing and he put his heart and soul into the songs he performed. Some of his most popular songs were played, like “Xxl” and “Movement.” All his songs were reminiscent of old school rap with minimal but effective beats and a non-stop flow. His performance was a great precursor to EARTHGANG’s performance and helped set the stage for them.
From the start, everyone in the room could tell that EARTHGANG was bringing the energy and going all out. On their records, they usually go all out with their vocals and their overall performances, but here, they were somehow going even harder and crazier with their performances. Throughout the show, they were dancing across the stage and getting the crowd hyped up, constantly starting EARTHGANG chants. Even with the small student crowd at Foellinger, they kept the energy up and made it feel like there were hundreds or thousands there watching.
For their songs, they had three different sections of the show: music off their latest album, older music, and music from Revenge of the Dreamers III. First, they led off with the songs “Lala Challenge,” “Top Down,”,] “Proud of U,” and “This Side,” all from their successful debut studio album Mirrorland. These songs exhibited their ability to rap, sing, and perform as they got the crowd involved early in the show. As a break between the performances from their album and their old songs, they performed “FDT” (an abbreviation of F**k Donald Trump). Soon after they led into “Artificial” and “So Many Feelings” from their 2017 EP Robots. “Artificial” was great because the chorus was easily repeatable and great to sing along to with the duo. They also played “Monday” featuring the late Mac Miller, a more somber song compared to the rest from that night. A lot slower and calm than other songs, it was a quick break from the hectic and energetic atmosphere.
To start off their performances of songs from Revenge of the Dreamers III, they performed their part in “Sacrifices.” Here, their singing and rapping is very heartfelt and soulful while also not being super loud and aggressive, much different then songs before. Both Olu & WowGr8 exhibit their vocal range and rapping abilities for one of the more memorable songs of the night. After “Swivel” & “1993,” both good songs, they launched into the rowdiest song of the night, “Wells Fargo.” This is where the crowd and EARTHGANG both went crazy and held nothing back. “Down Bad” came after and continued the energetic atmosphere that had just been created.
To end off their set, they played “Bank” from Mirrorland, a very bouncy and danceable song. Olu & WowGr8 trade off bars for a great ending before their encore. They ran off the stage after before EARTHGANG chants brought them back on for an encore song, “UP,” their lead single from Mirrorland. The last of their energy, and the crowd’s energy, was put into the song as they once again showed off their vocal range and singing ability, not something many other rappers can do. The show was over, but they stayed on stage for a while to sign hats, shoes, tickets, and even dollar bills, which showed how much they cared about making people happy and leaving a great impression.
Throughout the night, EARTHGANG and GATSON both showed why they stood out from the rest of the rap game. GATSON has the lyricism and flow that many rappers don’t have today. EARTHGANG has the vocal range, singing ability, and stage presence that rappers often ignore; they also care about their fans. I’ll remember all of the performer’s energy, dedication, and craft that they displayed, and both of their performances will be stuck on repeat in my head for weeks to come.