The National’s summer schedule is chock-full of Hip Hop stars, ranging from Method Man to Playboi Carti. This past Sunday kicked off that summer high energy with a headlining tour-stop from PnB Rock, a new voice in the music industry that is doing well on the airwaves.
The Freshpack Tour, brought to Richmond via G & G Entertainment, was supported by many acts, some local and some traveling.
“Audiences of this tour can expect to see the best and brightest talent,” said Tito Chambers, the founder and co-owner of G & G Entertainment. “Just the dopest shows with high energy.”The Richmond stop was no exception. While the audience seemed modest in comparison to other shows that have been hosted at the venue, the energy and anticipation from the crowd was tremendous. “You all know every word! Y’all have been rocking with me I see!” said PnB Rock to his fans in the audience. Every track the “Selfish” artist performed was augmented by his fan’s voices and kudos.
The Freshpack Tour showcased some up and coming faces like an R&B group called Bluff City, a Maryland-emcee Lyquin and the North Carolina-based artist Swift.
“Vibe Magazine [acts as part] of The Freshpack,” said Chambers. “They helped scout, judge and figure out the stops. [Vibe magazine] was just purchased by Billboard and when that happened, we pitched the whole Freshpack idea to Billboard and they were all down for it.”
The tour’s Richmond stop was also highlighted by some familiar hometown faces like Logan Woo, LGunnz, Campaign and of course Chris Scholar.
“Chris Scholar is an amazing talent from Richmond,” said Chambers. “His voice is beautiful- the funny thing is, his real name is Chris Brown. So he changed his name to Chris Scholar [for his brand].”
Every artists’ warm-up backstage was different: from Bluff City’s shared moments in huddles surrounded by their matriarchs, to Scholar’s dance session to his DJ’s music there was no shortage of the high energy Chambers spoke about.
Scholar was grateful for the energy, noting that of all the stops on The Freshpack Tour, he knew Richmond would be the most entertaining.
“Well I think it’s always a blessing [to share the stage with other Richmond-based artists],” said Chris Scholar, the 804-borne artist behind Mississippi River Blues. “It’s always good for me to come back home and be amongst the other artists in the city that are doing what they do. I feel like all these markets that pop from Chicago to Atlanta, to New York- they have a strong push. They have a lot of people that feed off of that energy.”
While Virginia is known musically for its prodigies such as Pharrell and Missy Elliot, Scholar admits that the new generation still has work to be done. “So it’s good to be on stage with these [artists] and even meet some for the first time, see if we can connect and do some stuff in the future.”
All in all, the Richmond stop of The Freshpack Tour was a unique experience. Chambers acknowledged the desire to bring the show back for even more musicians.
“In regards to The Freshpack Tour, it was an idea that me and my partner Kevin Gripper had brought to Vibe a while back,” he said. “We basically wanted to have artists [who were] on the cusp of having a big break-out record [tour]. We wanted to touch different markets and just travel.”
The Freshpack was not immediately green-lit even though the idea, promoter and talent were solid. G & G Entertainment had to wait on the other projects being brought to fruition by Vibe. In lieu of the tour, the two entities were able to collaborate on a singular event at the AC3 Festival in Atlanta that did very well.
Top image via Jefferson Harris
“The show sold out and it was dope,” said Chambers. “So they said, ‘let’s take this on the road,’ and here we are. Several months later, we’re in five cities now.” Richmond being one of the cities is a valid move, considering this city’s overflow of talent and loyalty to true artistry.