Rap superstar and mogul Wiz Khalifa brought his thunderous 29-city "Decent Exposure Tour" to Darien Lake Amphitheater on a hazy summer Sunday night, drawing a reported 18,000 revelers. The night was indeed hazy with humidity, a fog machine heavily put to use most of the show, and an oft-puffing crowd: each rapper encouraged indulging and several 7-foot inflatable joints tossed from the stage twice during Khalifa's set brought the point home.
Everyone in the sea of diverse, happy faces was there to party, dance and show the artists some love. The three basic tenets of rap – girls, cars, weed – were in full effect, in styles ranging from gangsta to Khalifa's more tempered, pop-friendly artistry. And, as it's the world of rap, most songs did include some unprintable lyrics.
The night's lineup had a few changes: flyers around the venue announced that Playboi Carti would not be performing. The roster did feature emcee DJ Drama, spinning classics and new releases between sets by the tour's headliner, French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods and Kris Hollis. DJ Bonics opened up the night: "I'm just warmin' up for DJ Drama, the heavy-hitter."
DJ Drama worked to fire up the crowd, asking immediately, "Who's got the lighter?" Several held one up, met with a tossed gift from the stage. His playlist included one by Khalifa, and one by Buffalo's Rick James, theme-appropriate "Mary Jane."
Khalifa opened his 90-minute, high-energy set with "King of Everything," emerging atop a stairway, joint in hand. Of course. Dressed all in black, a shirt reading "DADDY 19," he flowed into "Alright," one of his newest.
"You all sound so great. You all look so great," he said, before "Bout Me" that drifted into megahits "Black and Yellow" and "On My Level." The inflatable joints came out, and Khalifa's shirt was off. Later, for "23," French Montana joined him onstage to double-rap the bouncy song with oft-repeated line "J's on my feet."
About a dozen fans, appearing starstruck, joined Khalifa onstage for "Taylor Gang." He then slowed things down with country-tinged "Promises," rolling into a cover of Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road." Khalifa addressed his adoring fans again saying "This is the loudest-screaming city on this tour."
Prior to Khalifa's set DJ Drama introduced a fan, Nate, who "had something to say." The cameras showed a tight shot of Nate's face, as another person, Paige, joined him onstage. Nate looked terrified and determined: it was indeed a marriage proposal and the crowd roared when Paige uttered "yes," to the question at hand, and DJ Drama reported, lest anyone missed it, "She said yes!"
French Montana hit the stage with a sonically and visually arresting set featuring the night's only women onstage: dancers, a woman violinist who held down the beats as much as his drummer (both soloed at set end), and DJ Duffey. At 6 feet tall and in a form-fitting neon ensemble, she doubled as occasional dancer.
Moneybagg Yo, Kris Hollis and Chevy Woods put on short but raucous sets, following the naughtiest of rap party narratives. Besides stating that "New York has the most beautiful women in the world," DJ Drama suggested (before Khalifa's set) that everyone, "Tell the person next to you 'I love you.' Put your arm around your best friend." By the looks of it, the happy, partying crowd complied.
July 21 in the Darien Lake Amphitheater