97.9 The Beat’s Dub Show Went Out Of Its Way To Support Locals Alongside Migos & Cardi B This Year. Too Bad Not Every Local Took That Opportunity Seriously.
Dallas hip-hop radio station 97.9-FM The Beat’s annual Dub Car Show wasn’t completely overhauled this year, no. But the few tweaks made to this year’s festivities at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center certainly crafted a different feel than this event has had in years past.
Sure, the $25 general admission to the Sunday bash remains a steal — it gets audience members a day filled with performances from a number of today’s biggest hip-hop acts, an expansive wide-ranging car show and tons of giveaways, offering a value that’s tough to beat — but, whereas recent years saw the concert lineup stacked with six or seven national artists and rounded out with a dozen or so regional to local artists, this year was different.
The 2017 bill featured headliners Migos, Yo Gotti and Cardi B, and the timing for two of those acts — Migos and Cardi B — couldn’t be better. The Atlanta superstar trio of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff have dominated this year’s charts and pop culture in general as they transitioned from trap royalty to mainstream pop icons, and the Bronx entertainer known as Cardi B is striding toward new peaks in her career thanks to the success of “Bodak Yellow,” an infectious, self-affirming anthem that’s sweeping across the country and is currently No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, creeping closer and closer to overtaking Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” in the No. 1 spot.
But as far as national acts, those three were the only names brought in. Perhaps that was a financial decision made on the part of the radio station, but the move worked to only put a brighter spotlight on proud Texas performers like Houston’s Slim Thug, Z-Ro and Mike Jones, plus Dallas’ own Dorrough Music, Lil Ronny MF, Trapboy Freddy, DSR, Bobby Sessions and FlexinFab.
The timing of this year’s booking philosophy change felt significant, for sure.
Houston and its surrounding cities are still only a few weeks removed from the devastating Hurricane Harvey storm that caused billions of dollars worth of damage, and the efforts to deal with its aftermath are still ongoing, as they will be for some time. So it was a great moment after all the Texas performers played that they all reunited on stage and performed a song they recorded as a tribute to the victims titled “Texas 2gether.” The song features 14 artists, some of which weren’t present (like Paul Wall, Lil Flip, Lil Keke, GT Garza and others), but it was a beautiful sight to see Slim Thug, Z-Ro, Dorrough, Big Tuck, Trapboy Freddy, Lil Ronny MF and others standing side by side and performing the track, which is being sold as an online single, with all proceeds from its sales benefiting the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
That wasn’t the only heartfelt moment of the show, though. Bobby Sessions made the most of his opening performance slot and quickly won over the crowd with a theatrical, slam poetry rendition of “Black America” that had the crowd holding their fists in the air by its end.
Unfortunately, that strong performance was followed up by a flat-out awful performance by up-and-comer FlexinFab, who showed very little interest in being a part of the lineup. As the track for “Old Hoe” kicked off his set, the rapper was more concerned with asking where the last member of his entourage was instead of performing the track. Once he moved on from that, he may have rapped three or four words before deciding to bounce around the stage, showing off his outfit. Much of the same continued while “Aye Ok Alright” played, with Fab showing next to no interest in performing any parts of his music, and the crowd serving him blank stares and loud commentary like “what the fuck is this shit?”
The crowd quickly forgot about that dud of a performance once local favorites Trapboy Freddy, Lil Ronny MF and Yella Beezy took the stage, though. Lil Ronny MF was a particular crowd favorite, having a ton of fun on stage while dancing for the crowd, rapping his lyrics and eventually performing with his fans in the crowd. It was great to see a crowd willing to have fun with local artists; in years past, audiences seemed to turn their noses up at Dallas artists as they waited for the national acts.
Of course, that’s not to say the fans weren’t constantly shouting for Cardi B’s arrival throughout the day. The Bronx rapper certainly had the hot hand yesterday as the crowd was most excited for her performance of the day. And once she took the stage, it’s easy to understand how she’s rocketed into a household name: She’s charismatic, funny and completely uninhibited in being herself. Her music is only an amplification of all those qualities, and even though she only performed four songs, she shut the event down when it came time to perform “Bodak Yellow.” It felt like the entire convention center was rapping the song with her, word for word. But, for that song, Cardi B dialed in her efforts even more and emphatically delivered every bar with authority, which made it clear how important the career-defining track is to the 25-year-old.
After the daytime portion’s strong lineup, Migos and Yo Gotti really felt like the cherry on top as the headliners performed radio hits like “T-Shirt,” “Deadz,” “Kelly Price” and of course “Bad & Boujee.”
Radio stations like 97.9-FM The Beat almost deservedly get blasted all year long for the small amount of opportunities they offer local artists on the airwaves. But the opportunities The Beat offers local artists at the Dub Car Show, one of its biggest events every year, shouldn’t go unnoticed. Not only are artists like Bobby Sessions (who made his come up in Deep Ellum) and FlexinFab (who came up through Soundcloud and YouTube) given opportunities to perform on a new stage in front of a new audience, but it they were included in the station’s promos for weeks ahead of the event, right alongside the likes of Dorrough and Slim Thug.
It’s just a shame that not everyone takes advantage of the opportunities they’re given.