As the semester begins to wind down in the closing weeks ahead, Greensboro’s ambitious music scene is just heating up. Greensboro, also known as Gate City, may not be the biggest city, but we have a knack for attracting big-name artists. In just the past two years we’ve seen the likes of Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper, Drake, Gucci Mane, Migos, Snoop Dogg, Flatbush Zombies and even with her newfound fame, R&B artist SZA. Greensboro is a diverse city, like our university, and carries diverse taste in music and art.
If you are looking for an intense and mindlessly captivating live performance in Greensboro, you should look no further than Smokepurpp. In the era where new rappers are emerging – seemingly overnight – from the depths of SoundCloud, Smokepurpp is one of many riding this wave into music stardom. Arriving right at the end of the spring semester, Smokepurpp is set to perform in the Gate City on April 21 at 8 p.m. at the Cone Denim Entertainment Center.
At only 20 years old, Smokepurpp is one of the older faces at the forefront of the SoundCloud rap movement. Along with his other peers who came up from the realm of SoundCloud rap, such as XXXtentacion at age 20, Lil Pump at 17 and Trippie Redd at a crisp 18, Smokpurpp is known for the rebellious energy he molds into his sound. Shaped by melodic hooks and distorted production, Smokepurpp’s music epitomizes the culture of SoundCloud rap. Often raunchy and angsty, the live shows of these rappers are just one maddening “ragefest,” and Smokepurpp is no exception. The rapper’s music is gloomy and hedonistic, guided by lyrical topics of money, sex and drugs. Smokepurpp’s live show won’t disappoint when he comes to Greensboro’s Cone Denim Entertainment Center.
One of North Carolina’s most beloved artists, James Taylor, is scheduled to hit the Greensboro Coliseum on May 18 at 7:30 p.m. Taylor, a 70-year-old and long-time resident of Chapel Hill, began his musical career in the mid-1960s, rising to fame in the early ‘70s in a time where rock and roll reigned supreme. Taylor is known for his sunny songwriting, often featuring lyrics pertaining to nature and landscapes. A 2000 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Taylor is a widely renowned folk-rock singer-songwriter who speaks from the heart. Having been in the music business for over half a century, James Taylor is sure to please with his performance at the Coliseum.
Among all the other notable names set to perform in the Gate City this spring, one stands out a tad more than the others, for good and bad reasons alike. The one and only R. Kelly has a tour date with the Coliseum on May 11, at 7:30 p.m. In July of 2017, a Buzzfeed article reported Kelly had a total of six women involved in a “sex cult” like atmosphere. The ages of the the women range from 18 to 31, and the report further stated that Kelly showed abusive tendencies towards the women.
Kelly gained prominence as a vocalist from his 1990s and early 2000s hits such as “Bump N’ Grind,” “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Ignition (Remix)” and his modern-day, 33-chapter R&B-inspired opera “Trapped in the Closet.” Kelly has amassed a loyal fan base, winning several awards along the way, including three Grammys. The artist has had a critically acclaimed and commercially successful career, spanning over the last 25 years, thus solidifying his name worthy of legendary status. For anyone who is a fan of good old-fashioned R&B, it might be well worth it to make their way to the show.
As springtime nears and the weather warms up, Greensboro’s performing arts scene is set to warm up right with it. With headliners such as Smokepurpp, James Taylor, R. Kelly and even Paul Simon, who is set to perform at the Coliseum June 19, at 8 p.m., along with several other talented performing artists, we can only expect good things to come for the Gate City music scene.