This past Saturday was the third installment of Prof Outdoors, the one-day, hybrid festival/mega-concert declared "the biggest show in the history of Prof."
The original Prof Outdoors in 2013 featured Run the Jewels, and last year's boasted Mystikal, so this one had high expectations. Fortunately for fans of the King Gampo, these were exceeded in what was Prof's biggest ever headlining show in front of 5,000-plus screaming fans. Here's our five takeaways.
20,000 leagues under the Gampo
The set design for Prof Outdoors this year was the best arrangement of nautical themes since the Times Square Red Lobster. With a giant swordfish suspended above the stage and seahorses and crabs lining the fishermen nets around the stage, a lot of thought and care went into the day's look and feel. Fans wanting to get extra close could even snap a pic with a merman Prof cutout.
Outdoor voices were heard
The perfect September weather helped make the day optimal for all in attendance, with not just a lot of active call-and-response (especially during J.Plaza's set) but a great reception for lyricism. The crowd noise during Sa-Roc's set as she performed tracks from her newly released MetaMorpheus EP showed the audience was down to "really hear the lyrics" while partying hard at the same time.
Grieves brought out some vintage gems
Known for his passionate live show, Grieves never disappoints on stage. While fans loved hearing his new material (our first bit of new Grieves since 2014's Winter and the Wolves) there was something really special about him breaking out tracks from 2007's Irreversible for the first time in seemingly forever.
Hopsin found the world's best amateur hype men
During Hopsin's set, he surveyed the crowd for both 1) the biggest Hopsin fan who knew all the lyrics and 2) the absolute craziest person there. Once finding them, and I think we've all seen an artist "bring a fan on stage to perform" moment before, this was different. These were two passionate fireballs of enthusiasm who knew just when to chime in and how to hype the crowd. So much so, that Hopsin kept them for the rest of his set. The crowd loved it too as the super fan vocalist was lovingly crowd surfed several times.
Prof's family affair
The bulk of Prof's hyperkinetic headlining set was just him and DJ Fundo on stage whipping the crowd into a living popcorn machine. As intense and theatrical as Prof was, including upping the ante on the crowd-rafting we saw at Soundset, there was an special emphasis on what a family affair the whole event felt like. A surprise highlight was the number of MCs he brought on-stage to perform "Royals," the posse cut from the latest Dimitry Killstorm album, which felt larger than life, as did bringing several dozen people on-stage to go crazy during the night's the closing moments.