Spreading ‘luv’ in San Antonio

Cesar Soto, Staff Writer

Rating: 4 stars

Rappers JID and Smino brought their sold-out co-headlining show to San Antonio on Feb. 15. With both artists coming out of 2022 highly successful, the “Luv is 4ever Tour” gave them the opportunity to shine in front of a “luving” crowd at the Aztec Theatre.

“I came all the way from Atlanta to f—k with y’all tonight. Is that cool?” asked the tour’s opening act, SwaVay. For his entire 20-minute set, he brought loads of exciting energy. Promoting his debut album, “ALMETHA’S SON,” his flows on songs like “GO SHORTY” and “KICK DOOR” had the fans jumping with their hands up high. The crowd likely had never heard any of his songs beforehand, but by the end of his performance, the rapper surely had 1,500 new fans as he remarked, “I think this [is] my favorite motherfkin’ city on this tour.”

Alternating who opens and closes the show at each city, the San Antonio stop had Atlanta rapper JID come out first. Making his return to the Alamo City after three years, he is now touring “The Forever Story,” considered to be the album of the year for not just many rap fans but many music fans in general. Given that it was the “Luv is 4ever Tour,” JID’s motto was to “spread love and have a good f—kin’ time.”

He kicked off his performance with great energy with older songs like “NEVER” and “Off da Zoinkys” before jumping into songs from his latest record that got the crowd pumped, like “Raydar” and “Dance Now.” Every song had terrifically unique elements added to them, thanks to two inverted heart-shaped screens that showed various videos, graphics and unique lighting elements throughout. There was also a fantastic addition of a live band, with both a drummer and a keytar player, which is about the most unexpected instrument you could ever see played at a hip-hop show.

This led to the slower stretch of the show, which also felt like the most meaningful part of the show for JID. He sang songs like “Bruddanem” and “Sistanem” with such powerful emotion that everyone in the crowd could experience every rapid-fire lyric he spit on stage. The most powerful of them all was “Kody Blu 31,” where the crowd waved along with JID, joining him in chanting the lyric “swang on, swang on.”

One of the best rappers you could ever see live, JID is able to flawlessly switch up his flows at any given moment, especially on the high-energy tracks he ended his set with. With each song building more excitement for the next, it was a nonstop ride in the crowd hearing “Off Deez,” “Surround Sound” and “151 Rum.”

It all built up to “Stick,” the Dreamville rage anthem that sent the Aztec Theatre into a complete mosh pit frenzy, and culminated with a crazed keytar and drum solo that proved JID’s status as one of the elite performers in the rap game right now.

Cesar Soto

Ending the night was the other tour headliner, St. Louis rapper, Smino. His backup singer and DJ assisted in introducing the artist as he ran out on stage to the song “KLINK,” immediately getting the crowd jumping. Then, after playing another banger in “Rice & Gravy,” Smino made sure that San Antonio was ready to party.

Touring his latest record, “Luv 4 Rent,” his music is known for fusing hip-hop with funk and soul influences, as well as going from punchy rap verses to smooth melodic flows. He brought those abilities to tracks like “Z4L,” “Matinee” and “Wild Irish Roses,” with the latter eliciting the loudest singalong of the night that brought a smile to Smino’s face. He also had everyone put their lights up for “90 Proof,” showing his emotional side in his performance of the track.

He shared the heart-shaped screens that JID used by incorporating inventive uses of them throughout, synchronizing the lighting of the hearts with the beats of his music. The rapper also constantly kept the crowd engaged, doing lots of call-and-response with his lyrics and getting everyone to wave their hands in the sky. He had a fun moment where he split the crowd into the “Ratchet Right” side and the “Legendary Left” side and had them both cheering loudly before everyone began repeating the chant “SMINO.” 

With the night coming to a close, Smino performed “Louphoria,” tapping into an alternative-indie side with moody lighting and displays that showed a psychedelic outline of the rapper as he performed. The rapper wrapped up with “No Ls,” a song that perfectly captures his style. It starts as a hard-hitting banger and shifts into smooth rap flows that the crowd loved, with Smino remarking, “San Antonio, y’all look so beautiful.”

Both of these remarkably talented artists brought incredible love to their sets, and it was truly felt in the crowd the entire night. Lots of heart signs were thrown up by both the artists and all the fans, and it was fitting for the concert to take place just after Valentine’s Day. It was a great feeling to take away from a show.