A familiar, herbal fragrance filled The Observatory air Wednesday. Santa Ana was not prepared for what singer, songwriter and producer Ty Dolla $ign had in store for the sold out crowd.
Kicking off the Don’t Judge Me Tour, disappointment was nowhere to be seen after the Los Angeles native treated his fans to a taste of his melodic sound, all while bringing along a couple of friends to join in on the fun.
Renowned hip-hop artists like The-Dream, Joe Moses, MadeinTYO and YG surprised the crowd with guest appearances throughout the night.
Manessah Evans, a fan celebrating her birthday, was caught off guard by the wild night Ty Dolla $ign orchestrated.
“I came out and saw (YG) and I had to sit all the way in the back,” Evans said. “I was surprised. I was like ‘Damn, (Ty Dolla $ign) really did it.’”
Given his easily recognizable hooks, choruses and the numerous groups Ty Dolla $ign is associated with, Southern California fans locked in their plans early to attend the local show.
“We planned on doing it. I’ve been a big fan of Dolla $ign for a minute now,” said Gary Arquines, a 25-year-old fan. “Once ‘Beach House 3’ came out, we were on it.”
Freddie Williams of Torrance joined Arquines for the show and said he was most excited to hear his favorite song, “Drop Top.”
“It’s that cruising music, you know what I’m saying. I always slap Dolla $ign when I’m cruising,” Williams said.
Many fans like Arquines and Williams packed into the Santa Ana venue once doors opened at 7 p.m., leaving the limelight for artists like DJ’s Dre Sinatra and Carisma, as well as rappers 24hrs and TC Da Loc.
The show got off on the wrong foot without a performance until 8:45 p.m. when DJ Dre Sinatra finally began to play top hip-hop hits. The packed house waited as they began to feel the vibes from Sinatra’s set.
As the night rolled along, the acts began to tease the crowd, playing hits ironically and simultaneously from rap icon Drake and one of his former rivals, Meek Mill.
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That’s when the first surprise act of the night, Joe Moses, took the stage to liven up the vibe. The rapper performed his well-known anthem “Burn Rubber” to get the party jumping.
If that wasn’t enough for those in attendance, shortly after during 24hrs’ set, 2017 XXL Freshman MadeinTYO stormed the stage with a joint to the face, performing well-known tracks like “Uber Everywhere” and “Skateboard P.”
With the crowd still abuzz, openers TC Da Loc and DJ Carisma continued the night with short sets to get the audience ready for the main event.
Ty Dolla $ign finally made a smoky entrance, emerging from the darkness with “I Know How It Feel” playing in the background.
His set continued with the fog machines while singing the familiar hit “Saved.”
Just when the crowd began to come alive for the guest appearances, Ty Dolla $ign summoned The-Dream to perform their hit “Love U Better,” a collaboration the two artists had with rapper Lil’ Wayne.
Ty Dolla $ign also gave the fans a glimpse of his recent work, playing “Zaddy” from his October mixtape, “Beach House 3.”
For the rest of the set, Ty Dolla $ign brought the bangers, providing heat with familiar tracks like “You and Your Friends” and “Or Nah.” He even gave his fans something to sip on, handing out a bottle of Bombay gin to the crowd, before hilariously asking for it back.
Hitting the final stretch of the show, the venue erupted as Ty Dolla $ign had one last treat for the audience: bringing out rapper YG.
Many in the crowd speculated a YG sighting due to the performance the rapper had at “Boogie” music festival, which took place at the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star Weekend.
The Compton-born rapper electrified the crowd with “Ex,” a sample of a 1996 track by 112 that Ty Dolla $ign and YG updated in 2017.
But what’s a YG appearance without his patented “Bompton” sound?
He couldn’t leave the stage without giving the crowd a dose of his 2016 album “Still Brazy,” performing “Twist My Fingaz” and a dip into his 2012 album “4Hunnid Degreez,” rapping “BPT” as Ty Dolla $ign jammed out on an electric guitar to cap off a star-studded display.
The Wednesday concert was only the first installment of a 37-show tour, which is set to hit cities including Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas and will be finishing on April 12 in Los Angeles, just in time for the beginning of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.