Yo Gotti bashed in his birthday at the FedExForum Thursday night and after six years of attending this event, I say this was his best show yet.
Things were very different this year, all the way down to the production. Last year, the Roc Nation affiliate gave us a replica visual of his old North Memphis stomping grounds, the Ridgecrest Apartments. This year, there were huge jumbotrons and a fancier stage step-up surrounded with heavy camera equipment.
“Tonight is sponsored by Tidal,” said concertgoer Rodney Smith. Tidal, the online music streaming service created by Roc Nation mogul Jay-Z, provided fans who could not attend a glimpse of the sold-out event.
The four-hour concert cranked up with Gotti performing his chart-topping hits and throughout the night we were greeted with special music guests. Grand Hustle’s T.I., Juvenile and Plies sent the crowd into a frenzy, but Gotti – showered with hometown love – was the fans’ favorite.
Rapper Derez De’Shon performed his platinum hit “Hardaway,” an ode to new University of Memphis Head Coach Penny Hardaway, who was brought onstage.
“Thank you for being a great mentor,” Gotti said.
A what’s-next sensation accented the evening. Case in point was the surprise appearance of R&B sensation Tank.
“…I tell you I, wasn’t ready for that,” said a thrilled Tamala Mitchell. “Gotti really did his thing this year. I’m almost hoarse from screaming; this is so dope!”
Gotti’s love for Memphis was in full effect.
“I love my city ‘mane,’ but we got to do better,” he said.
Driving that point home, Gotti presented a slide showing pictures reflecting lives lost to gun violence. Reminded of the recent death of lMemphis rapper Derrick Harris, better known as RichLord, some fans were moved to tears.
Gotti closed the show with a high-energy performance from CMG affiliate Moneybagg Yo and Memphian BlocBoy JB, who performed his triple platinum single “Look Alive.”
MMG artist Meek Mill dazzled the crowd and gave jewels of inspiration. “Work hard, follow your dreams and you can do anything,” said Mill.
Gotti’s ongoing growth as an artist was evident and clearly satisfying to his fans.
“I just want to show everybody that came out to my show some love today,” he said. “They did this all out of love for me, and I wanted to share my love with y’all. I love you Memphis. Forever.”