“This s**t real different,” Gucci Mane said as he hit the second stride of his set for Piano Nights: Gucci Mane and Zaytoven–one of the many events for the Red Bull Music Academy Festival in New York City.
That “different” the Godfather of trap music spoke of, wasn’t exactly the festival life (he’s been booked for countless gigs since his release from prison like Coachella). But instead, he was referring to the venue, a quaint piano bar called The Box in the middle of Lower Manhattan that was dressed in fancy, velvet curtains, vintage-style art pieces, and a piano sitting in the corner of the stage as the main source of instrumentals for the night.
Indeed, this wasn’t the typical vibe you would expect from Guwop or event his frequent collaborator Zaytoven, who’s known for his crisp, ATLien beats. And for day one Gucci fanatics, the idea of an acoustic set was almost comical. But if fans learned anything from the show, there’s nowhere hip hop (and trap) can’t go.
After a swift introduction, Zaytoven took a seat at the patent leather piano, while Gucci took his position in front of an old Hollywood microphone. With a brief intro from Zay, Gucci blew threw a number of hits throughout his decade-long career, including “Icy,” “St. Brick Intro,” and “Guwop Home.” The trap god also took it way back to the beginning with renditions of his 2007 track, “I Might Be” and 2009’s “I’m A Dog,” from his certified gold album, The State vs. Radric Davis.
It wasn’t difficult to see that Gucci was slightly off-balanced. Again, this wasn’t entirely his usual crowd. While rappers like Gucci and Lil Wayne are known to have a broad fan base of all different races and socio-economic statuses, at least the two layers closest to the stage were comprised of up-scale professional types, donning khakis and button-downs. The rest of the narrow concert space was sprinkled with hipsters and millennials sporting athleisure brands.
Even so, with Zaytoven adding an edge of sophistication with melodious rifts on the piano, Gucci was able to do what he does best.
Piano Nights: Gucci Mane and Zaytoven is truly a testament to how far the Atlanta trap and music scene has come. Come on, it’s not everyday that you see a dude from Atlanta who was only recently released from prison in 2016, played at an expensive bar/lounge in New York City. Back in the day, cats like Gucci, Waka Flocka, Yung Dro, and plenty of other rappers were dubbed the misfits of the culture. But as the new generation’s leaders such as Future, Migos, and Young Thug become more mainstream, the space for trap continues to broaden.
And as we’ve seen on Jimmy Fallon, when 2 Chainz and Gucci performed “Good Drank” with a church choir, trap has no boundaries. Its reach can go from the late-night stages to the Barclay’s Center, and even a piano bar.