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Hundred-dollar parking.  Long lines. Overpriced drinks. A lack of cell phone reception. Uber surcharges. These are a few of the many things Rolling Loud attendees had to endure this past weekend to experience LA’s hottest hip-hop festival. 3.7 miles away from Exposition Park, independent minded hip-hop fans opted for another experience. They showed up to the gritty dark 1720 warehouse to catch Rittz & Dizzy Wright’s Los Angeles segment of the Winners Circle tour. Admittedly, I did attend Rolling Loud’s Saturday event. But doing a second festival day the night before a workday wasn’t high on my priority list, so I too opted to head down to the intimate 1720 venue instead. I was pleasantly surprised.

Up first for a quick 10-minute set was the Florida native, Kap Kallous. Kallous wasn’t on the flyer so he was an unexpected bonus to see live. I used to watch him introduce rappers in Grind Time Battles back in the late 2000s, so it was super cool to see him do the live music thing. Up second was Whitney Peyton. Armed with theatrics and props such as streamers and confetti, she performed the majority of the set on the venue floor with the fans, even using the back bar as a stage at one point.  Up third was Vegas’s own Ekoh. Ekoh dialed back the theatrics and instead focused on articulating reflective thoughts and delivering raw lyricism in his music.

Fresh off dropping his newest album, Put A Crown On It,  on his own newly founded CNT Records, Rittz took the stage in a commanding manner. Being a Sunday night, this show felt more like a family affair than a big concert. But this is when the tide turned. Rittz woke the venue up with banger after banger. Amongst the music, Rittz spoke to the crowd. One notable moment was when he gave a respectful and appreciative nod to both Yelawolf and Tech N9ne for what they’ve done for him. Without Yelawolf putting him on “Box Chevy” and without Tech N9ne signing him to Strange Music, Rittz made it clear that none of us would have been in that room on that night. Also, I knew Rittz was a good rapper but when he performed the song, “Twin Lakes”, he blew me away. The whole jam sounded like a hook. From front to back, Rittz poured his heart and soul into singing (not rapping) the tales of his time at Twin Lakes Recovery Center overcoming addiction. At this point, I thought to myself, damn, Rittz can do it all.

Headlining the tour was Dizzy Wright. The Flint, Michigan rapper rocked the stage with a microphone in one hand and a blunt in the other. Performing songs such as “Flatline” and “Champagne Service”, Dizzy brought a nonchalant relaxed vibe along with his set. The flavor of his set was one that contrasted with that of Rittz’s, but that’s the reason I think it worked so well. Dizzy graced the stage in an effortless manner mashing up the worlds of conscious rap and stoner rap. Rapping every word crystal clear, the Funk Volume rapper gave us a combination of thoughtful acapellas and bouncy wordplay right up to about midnight.

Rittz and Dizzy Wright might reside on different sides of the hip-hop spectrum, but they both perform like winners. It’s no surprise that they’ve both amassed a loyal cult following who were willing to show up at a downtown warehouse on a Sunday night to see these guys rock. Don’t sell yourself short. Pick yourself up a our Winner’s Circle tour ticket’s if these guys are coming by your town, you won't be disappointed! 

Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

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