In modern hip hop, it takes a lot to stand out. Friday night at Miller Lite Oasis, Cordae showed he could rap, sing and control a crowd, making him the complete package when it comes to being an entertainer. Milwaukee would amply answer all of that.
While many bleachers remained open ahead of his 10:15 p.m. Friday set, they quickly filled up, with a swarm of mostly young fans congregating just on the right side of the Miller Oasis stage before show time. There weren’t too many artists generating that kind of buzz at this year’s festival, but a rare return to Milwaukee for the artist formerly known as YBN Cordae drew a healthy crowd. .
Before the main act took the stage, fans were already invested, thanks to spirited sets from Chicago’s Ric Wilson and Milwaukee’s DJay Mando that rolled up to the main stage. Things quickly moved on to Cordae’s touring DJ, who amped things up even more during a set of around 10 minutes. At one point, it looked like there was a booth for some extra prep time backstage, but that only added to the energy of the crowd. By the time the intro to single “Super” filled Oasis’ speakers, things were at a fever pitch. The rapper ran onstage in sunglasses at night, which was quickly eliminated by the set’s second song. Cordae navigated the stage as much as possible, flanked by a DJ, live drums and a bassist who would act as bandleader for much of the night. Having the live instrumentation augment his show leads would work to his advantage later in the show.
While energy is everything in a live performance, it’s rare to be able to replicate the often meticulous work that goes on in the studio for a live hip-hop show. Cordae hit all of her marks on Friday, however, delivering intricate verses while bouncing around the stage to pump up the crowd. The Miller Lite Oasis, however, needed no coaxing. When Cordae called for a mosh pit in the VIP area before the stage, the fans agreed. When he wanted to release phones to light up the Milwaukee night sky, they were delivered in droves. The Oasis was in the palm of Cordae’s hands on Friday, with fans clamoring to step forward and bounce back enthusiastically from start to finish.
The show wasn’t all fashionable, however. Almost a necessity, Cordae managed to bring down the crowd for a few tracks, including “Coach Carter” and “Bad Idea”, assisted by Chance The Rapper, which ended in a unique way, the DJ dropping part of Gil Scott Heron. “Home Is Where the Hatred Is”, which is interpolated in the 2019 track The lost Boy. It takes a lot of effort to placate thousands of young fans who are just looking to party, but he could do it easily, at one point playing how hard or soft he could make the crowd just by lifting. hands. Cordae knew he was in control.
He didn’t mind being nice to the crowd either. At some point towards the back half of the set, he disclosed that he had an ex-girlfriend who lives in Milwaukee, which resulted in a rude chant about said woman in the crowd. The drummer seized the moment and started toying with the vocals, then the bass kicked in. Ever the opportunist, Cordae launched into an improvised freestyle on his ex to the beat, deftly rhyming “Milwaukee” with “stalk me”. to a big reaction. Elsewhere during the show, he paid tribute to the late Juice WRLD, who he toured with in his Milwaukee debut in 2018. The DJ played part of Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” with the lights low, honoring simultaneously the rapper while Cordae pleaded with the sound team to work on an ongoing issue with his in-ear monitors. While it didn’t affect the output to the crowd, onstage sound was visibly an issue throughout the night, with the band motioning for things to be turned up multiple times. They persevered, however, making the most of what they had.
Towards the end of his roughly 50-minute set, Cordae released a pair of his greatest tunes, leading with the sweet “Chronicles” featuring HER and Lil Durk. Again, telephones lit up the night as the crowd swayed with each bar. Not one to end on an easy going note, things culminated with the Anderson.Paak collaboration “RNP”, bringing the Oasis back to a full party as they exited the festival. Whether there was a timing or sound issue, Cordae finished the song and sincerely thanked the crowd for coming when they could have been anywhere else on a Friday night. The band then briefly played a few bars of a jam before leaving the stage. While it doesn’t exactly stick to the landing, it was a moment over a good chunk of time when Cordae reigned supreme as king of the Oasis Miller Lite. An enthusiastic crowd left Summerfest just as excited as they came, if not more, after a big set from the evening’s headliner.