Notes from the Wolf Pack Tour

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Notes from the Wolf Pack Tour

Max Taylor and Niccolo Short, two Loyola rappers, collaborate onstage.

Max Taylor and Niccolo Short, two Loyola rappers, collaborate onstage.

Max Taylor and Niccolo Short, two Loyola rappers, collaborate onstage.

Max Taylor and Niccolo Short, two Loyola rappers, collaborate onstage.

Calvin Ramsay

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It’s 30 minutes till the first set in Austin, and Convolk has been missing for the past three hours.

The Russian-American headliner left the Airbnb saying that he was getting a new tattoo, and that was it. Now, 13 other rappers, producers, photographers and videographers sit backstage at a bar/venue called “Come and Take It Live!” and prepare for the second show of the Wolf Pack Tour.

The hosts of the venue are panicking, worrying that Convolk won’t make it in time for his set. They express these worries to Max Taylor, the unofficial organizer of the entire tour and a Loyola junior. The rest of the performers show no real sense of urgency as they sit back stage and joke about “OV tour life,” an inside joke repeated anytime something occurs, good or bad.

Convolk finally enters the backstage area moments before the first set, sporting a fresh tattoo of a snake wrapped around his arm and a large slice of greasy pizza he struggles to un-grease. OV Tour Life.

The musicians sport unorthodox designer clothing ranging from metal chains and skinny jeans to large jackets and t-shirts that depict anime and other pop culture references. The front of the bar holds about 50 similarly-dressed fans. The crowd waits patiently for the first performance set as they sway to postmodern anthems such as “XO Tour Life” and “YuNg BrAtZ” being played by Lukrative, a Loyola student and designated DJ for the tour.

The Jan. 25 concert that night was in the east downtown area of Houston at an eccentric venue that featured a thrift shop and a mound of unused cardboard boxes. The show was energetic, and the venue held many devoted fans.

But the neighborhood of the Airbnb the performers stayed in wasn’t quite so friendly. While everyone was outside enjoying post-show UberEats on the terrace, the sound of gunshots echoed through the streets less than a block away. Such is the life of poor Soundcloud rappers on tour … right?

The Wolf Pack tour was mostly set up by Taylor and Convolk for the purpose of promoting Convolk’s new album “Lone Wolf,” as well as paying homage to the many Loyola artists that performed on tour. Taylor said that the use of Loyola’s mascot, “Wolf Pack,” represents the entourage of performers that joined together for the tour.

The Austin show opened with a local artist called Tripnotix. Taylor said he figured it would be good to open each show with a rapper from that city.

Taylor, Skylar Allen, HeartbreakP and OVRCZ performed together, given that many of their songs feature each other. The Loyola students performed their melodic hits such as “Pink Lemonade,” “Over Passion” and “Lately.”

Next, the Canadian native, James Colt, and young Texan, 6obby (Bobby), added an emotional twist with their sad and angst-ridden lyrics. They were followed by Keshore and Savage Ga$p, who gassed up the crowd with their demanding stage presence and the performance of their trap-metal hits such as “Pumpkins scream in the dead of night.” Then they slowed down the pace with songs like “killjoy” and “flaming hot cheetos.”

Joule$ and Hexagram The Dragoon performed afterward. Joule$’ combination of dark beats and rhymes paired with Hexagrams screamo capability only thrilled the moshing fans even more.

Finally, Convolk began. His sad melodies of love and loss attracted many people who identify as emo and grew up listening to the punk-rock genre.

Everyone on the tour, to some degree, raps about similar themes in a display of emo rap, a genre of music that is still widely considered to be underground. “Sad boy flex, ice up on my neck,” a line in 6obby (Bobby) and James Colt’s song “Doubt,” beautifully sums up the essence that encases the unique and underground genre of emo rap.

Emo rap is a relatively new genus of infamous Soundcloud rap that was brought to popularity by artists like Lil Peep, XXXTentacion and Trippie Redd. The sub-genre is characterized by its use of punk-rock-inspired beats and lyrics that touch upon emotional dilemmas such as heartbreak, depression, drug abuse and other mental illnesses. The genre also touches on materialistic themes about luxury and designer items that are more prevalent in traditional rap and hip hop music.

While the crowds for these shows never exceed 200 people, the fans that do come out all have utmost respect for the performers.

Soundcloud is a site that many artists use to build a following, and while it may be a slow start, the fans that they gain are all real and true. The underground shows provide a great opportunity for fans to interact with talented musicians before they become big.

At the shows, the line between rapper and fan are blurred as musicians join the fans on the floor or invite on the stage during their performances. It’s an all-around-authentic experience for both the fan and artist as they enjoy each other’s appreciation.

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