Concert Review: JID X Smino at MTELUS

JID performing at MTELUS. Photo by Dorothy Mombrun @pure.domo

JID and Smino both showcased why they’re on the map

It was in the packed MTELUS venue that hip hop enthusiasts gathered to witness two of the most promising figures of the “alternative rap” scene: JID and Smino. Both had released acclaimed albums in 2022 and it was only right for them to collaborate on a North American tour.

Before hitting the stage, they sent another hot name coming from that scene to warm up the crowd: St. Louis rapper Jordan Ward. He only played for 20 minutes, but he didn’t waste a single second and made the most out of it while hyping the crowd, singing and dancing. He definitely left a mark on Montrealers and brought an energy that matched JID’s and Smino’s.

Smino was next up, and surprisingly played with a band instead of a DJ, which isn’t something you see often at rap concerts. Smino gave a great performance, but unfortunately for him, had some things going against him. 

First, the sound was pretty bad, not only for Smino, but throughout the entire concert. The bass and drums were so loud that it was difficult to distinguish the different instrumentals and melodies. All you could hear was Smino rapping over loud bass and the drummer.

Second, even though it was a joint tour between Smino and JID, people were clearly there for the latter. Because of that, a lot of them weren’t familiar with the lyrics to Smino’s songs and weren’t as invested in his performance compared to JID’s set. Even though Smino brought the energy and was singing and rapping well, the crowd wasn’t reciprocating what he was showing them. I’ve been following Smino closely since 2018 and I even had problems recognizing the songs. 

He still delivered an hour-long set where he alternated between some of his most popular songs, with tracks from his latest record Luv 4 Rent.

Now time for JID. He was undoubtedly the star of the show. The singing was great, but the rapping was even better. He started off with the song that put him on the map: “NEVER,” and people were immediately hooked.. He then followed with a long run of songs from his 2022 album The Forever Story

JID was incredibly impressive to watch. During shows, most rappers need backtracks to perform and rap over them, but not JID. He was rapping almost every single word and rarely taking breaks. He is well known for having some of the most intricate and unique flows in the rap game, and to see him execute them to perfection during his performance was phenomenal. Songs like “Off Deez,” “151 Rum,” and “Raydar” really showcased JID’s rapping talent. 

He finished his set with fan favourites from his other records, and ended with the high-energy “Stick,” resulting in the crowd forming a massive mosh pit. While his set lasted an hour, I could have easily stayed for an hour more. He was that good.

Overall, despite some issues, JID and Smino still came together and more than satisfied the rap fans who were present. It was a fun night overall.

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