By LiLi Sheree
Strawberry pajama pants were Tyler The Creator’s wardrobe selection for the evening. Not only did his pants pique my curiosity but the thousands of fans who knew every last one of his lyrics was our Caucasian “cousins.” I’m not one bit mad about that, but I felt out of the loop.
I never paid Tyler any attention aside from a few feature songs. I had heard of him but never heard any of his music. As of yesterday, he gained a new fan. Most of the songs performed were off of his latest album released this year entitled Flower Boy. The cover of this album shows Tyler standing in a valley of sunflowers with giant bees swarming around, and there’s even one covering his face. It coincides with his persona or at least the one that came out on stage in strawberry pajama pants.
Shockingly, Tyler is a lot more laid back on stage than I expected. Not a bore, by a long shot but there aren’t thousands of guys on stage with him with microphones, bumping into each other. The lighting was minimal but engaging to match his energy levels depending on how hype he became. No band- you could tell he is very comfortable holding down a festival crowd on his own. He is a veteran to the bigger ones like Coachella, etc.
“911/ Mr. Lonely”, his latest single, was a crowd hit and had everyone rocking and screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. When the beat dropped to ”IFHY” the entire crowd immediately went in with Tyler on the hook: “I f—ing hate you, but I love you. I’m bad at keeping my emotions bubbled. You’re good at being perfect. We’re good at being troubled.” The woes of catching feelings over a laid-back hip hop beat featuring Pharrell? You can’t go wrong with that musical formula, but I’m still mad at myself for being on the late bus.
The way Tyler engaged the audience at times left me in shambles of laughter. At one point he made mention of how “whack” the audience was for being “off beat.” Later he had us singing along with him to Bruno Mars “That’s What I Like,” messing up words so humorously and serving us an exaggerated impersonation of Bruno, which I loved. Then there was a complete a Capella version of “She” from Tyler’s Goblin album that he barely performed since the audience held him down on every note and lyric. I look forward to jamming along with everyone else when I see him again.
Solange was not on the “Grande Stage” as Tyler The Creator, but she was one the main acts along with him that a majority of folks attended MoPOP. Everything about her show was pristine and crisp, with an exception to the raw vocals of herself and background vocalists that I appreciated. Starting off with “Rise” from her highly-anticipated album last year, A Seat at the Table, her entire band was more like an ensemble moving gracefully on a stage full of red lights.
Black Girl Magic billowed over West Riverfront Park as Solange danced to the intro of “Don’t You Wait,” which happens to be one of my favorite songs. Now I love it even more because I have the memory of Ms. Solo turning her back to the crowd and twerking for the entire 313 area code while shouting “Detroit we gon’ dance, tonight!” Then Solange took us back to the Sol-Angel & The Hadley Street Dreams album with “T.O.N.Y.” accompanied by True album cuts like “Some Things Never Seem To F*****g Work,” “Bad Girls,” and the most popular single “Losing You.”
My favorite part of the performance is when she disappeared into the crowd to sing “F.U.B.U.” which led me to believe she wanted to sing the song directly to “us.” When she made it back onstage, she danced all by her lonesome like she was in a sweaty basement party in the middle of a dance competition, which made everyone lose their minds.
As the show was ending, the band started playing “Don’t Touch My Hair, ” and it dawned on me that there were a lot of “hair-grabbers” enjoying her show. They might not have understood the message of the song or just simply didn’t care. My friend and I didn’t care either because Solange was in front of us singing an anthem that we’ve needed for a long time, with a lot of open space to dance along. Just as the show began with “Rise,” that was also how Solange ended the show- a reinforcement of the message to “fall in your ways” and know, love and accept who you are.