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No regrets booking Pusha T at Brick

By E.J. Blair
On March 11, 2014

Rapper Pusha T put on a very rare performance at Uptown's Brick Street Bar & Grill Saturday. The concert, which was an official stop along the rapper's "My Name Is My Name" tour, was the first hip-hop booking in Oxford this year. When the time came for Pusha T to hit the stage, he entered to a captive hip-hop audience eager for the night to begin.

While there was no opener scheduled before Pusha T's performance, the bar still filled up early. Advance ticket holders showed up early; not only to socialize and have a drink, but also to claim a clear viewpoint of Pusha T's semi-elaborate stage setup.

Because it was not a sold out show, procrastinators were able to score tickets at the door. Around 10 p.m., the dimly lit pit area filled up, while the 21-and-up crowd lined up along the entire range of railing upstairs, ultimately taking up every area of valuable viewing space Brick Street's intimate venue had to offer.

Pusha T's DJ came on before him and started mixing rap music from the custom DJ booth set up on stage. The booth also provided unique light enhancements for the night, which caught the audience's attention as soon as they entered the venue. However, this added production would also bring about technical difficulties later on. The DJ excited the crowd of mainly Miami students early by playing a set of commercial hip-hop tracks.

Dressed in all black and conspicuously donning a fur vest, the night's headliner hustled out around 10:15 p.m. He opened with "King Push," which was the first song off his most recent album, "My Name Is My Name." Though it certainly was not one of the hit records Pusha T abundantly possesses, his god-like stage presence commanded everyone's focus and attention.

Frequently grinning throughout his first few songs, it was evident the rapper signed to Kanye West's "G.O.O.D. Music" record label was surprised by the positive vibes of the small-market crowd. The audience gobbled up Pusha T's music early, voicing their pleasure through a chorus of "King Push" chants and loud applause. With the crowd on its toes, the experienced performer reciprocated the students' energy through a series of verses from the melodic and radio-friendly tune, "Runaway" and the anthem trap-based recording "Mercy."

The night was not entirely flawless, however. Pusha T's stage setup caused some minor difficulties in the performance later in the night, which irritated the then-inebriated fans. Unfazed, Pusha T's cool built the room's energy back up. He proceeded to drop classic songs such as his sinister sounding record, "New God Flow," and the decade-old hit by The Clipse, "Grinding," before making the crowd erupt with a menacing verse off his "Don't Like Remix" by Chief Keef.

Pusha T's highly-animated stage deliveries complemented his rhymes and catapulted him through the performance. And even after tricking fans into thinking his show was finished, he returned to the playing of his glorious-sounding single "40 Acres," assisted by a guest who covered The Dream's distinct chorus.

Pusha T was a huge grab for a venue of Brick Street's size and location, and for an avid hip-hop fan, I would say it was definitely worth the price of admission.

Rapper G-Eazy is set to headline March 15 along with guests Rockie Fresh and Kurt Rockmore.

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