Artist: CunninLynguists x Sadistik
Venue: Taverna Costera (Las Vegas, NV)
Occasion: Crossover Tour 2022

The wind and its accompanying chill were the two most obvious features once I entered the venue area of Taverna Costera, a coffee shop restaurant located in the art district of Las Vegas, Nevada. However, said venue area where the combined wind chill factor was in full effect was Taverna’s rooftop, which includes a bar, cushioned seating, views of the Las Vegas, and a stage for live entertainment. On the night of April the 12th, the roof was rife with quite the varied crowd: Over three dozen young men and women of mixed races, some of them musical artists, all with variable levels of hip-hop knowledge. Plenty of liquor and the scent of barely concealed lit joints permeated the air. Many showed up with custom gear (i.e. jackets with musical patches) to show their love for hip-hop, particularly for the artists at the top of the concert bill: Sadistik and CunninLynguists.

The biggest complaint of the night was how unusually windy and cold it was for Las Vegas, as it had been 80 degrees of dry heat just the week prior. But, regardless, the artists carried on in it as testament to their professionalism. Starting off to keep the crowd entertained was a vinyl set by DJ Kev P consisting of a mix of underground tracks ranging from Sean Price to MF DOOM. This led to the opening performances from local Vegas hip-hop acts The 86ers and Vessel, and a special appearance from west coast emcee Sam Roberts. The crowd became frantic AF once Kno took the stage. The CunninLynguists producer/emcee remarked on social media about having performance jitters after not being on stage, let alone the road, for the past two years. It certainly didn’t seem to show after knocking out a few songs from his 2010 debut “Death Is Silent”, which was a good segue to Sadistik joining him on stage.

This is my second time seeing the Seattle lyricist on stage and his image remains atypical of a hip-hop artist: A mix a gothic and death metal, a novelty t-shirt, but one who can nonetheless rock a mic. Part of the Crossover Tour 2022 is the celebration of the recent release of “Bring Me Back When The World Is Cured”, the second collaborative album by Sadistik and Kno. In their performance, Kno tends to play the straight man while Sadistik is more energetic and theatrical: Donning a ski mask, joining the crowd, doing flailing poses with his arms in the air while showing off his breath control in rapping. He performed several of his own solo tracks, including “Salem Witches”, the Japanese-esque “Yokai” and many singles off of “BMBWTWIC” with Kno. The single “Mothlight” featured an appearance by Natti from CunninLynguists, leading the headliners to take stage shortly after.

Celebrating the 11-year anniversary of their 2011 album “Oneirology”, the down south trio of Natti, Deacon the Villain, and Kno performed many tracks from the high-concept album, including “Stars Shine Brightest (In the Darkest of Night)” and “Get Ignorant”. With the crowd in the palm of their hands, Deacon and Natti did the meat of the rapping when it came down to performing crowd favorites, especially ones from the group’s 2006 opus “A Piece of Strange”. Songs from that album had the crowd jumping up and down, starting with the chant of “Is the South in the house tonight?!” to begin the hype of “Since When”. The promo poster for this tour is a drawing of all three CL members dressed in marijuana-themed parodies of NBA jerseys. This coincides with two fan favorite songs appropriately performed that night in Sin City: The bud anthems “Beautiful Girl” and “The Brownie Song (Never Come Down)”.

In closing, the performances were as well as expected, the only drawback being the weather and the lack of an intimate setting, more could’ve been done indoors. Additionally, the tour dates are currently only for the west coast and Europe. In talking with both acts after the show, they mentioned that an east coast leg of this tour would be done later in the year. The commitment and excitement to being back on the road is admirable, considering they tend to work on a scale, but all the while having a loyal fanbase.