Kid Ink is playing Manchester Academy 1 tonight after being upgraded from Academy 3. There’s over 2000 people’s worth of capacity difference in these venues, which is mental. Although he is incredibly well-known in the US and less so here in the UK, he is clearly more popular than anyone thought as tonight has completely sold out. It’s genuinely surprising that Kid Ink hasn’t infiltrated the UK music scene as he’s collaborated with many worldwide hip hop stars such as Usher, Tyga and Chris Brown. There’s a PR team somewhere to blame I’m sure.
I get to the Academy just missing support act Fekky but the room is feeling seriously sweaty and damp already so I reckon it was a good set. The lights are down by 9:15, the allocated start time for Kid Ink, and the crowd is screaming and shouting with their phones out recording waiting for him to grace the stage. The minutes go by with backing music of different songs as though I was out in a club, and the crowd, whether naïve or optimistic, continue to film the continually empty stage. It’s a very odd 20 minutes but finally, the man of the hour leaps onto the stage with his hype man to blaring fake horn noises and the synthetic sound of shattering glass. It’s as cheesy and as 90s as it sounds but apart from this Kid Ink gets off to a great start playing tracks like ‘Bom Bom’ and ‘Lost In The Sauce’. Cool beats and rhythms get the show rolling.
The female portion of the crowd are loving Kid Ink tonight, screaming at every movement, in particular when he takes off his top. Kid Ink has a mighty stage presence, keeping the energy high in the room with just his own personality and style. There are no videos or featured artists to distract from the show, so we get to see Kid Ink’s pure skill as an artist and rapper and it’s impressive to say the least. He skips around the big stage like he owns it, leaping on top of speakers, singing to the crowd and his flow is simply unstoppable. The visuals are fantastic, strobe lights and lasers accompany the huge colourful backdrop promoting Ink’s ‘Tha Alumni’ music group and his ‘Batgang’. Most of the interaction with the room involves shouting “PUT YOUR FUCKING HANDS UP” and the classic “I say Bat, you say Gang – BAT GANG BAT GANG” but the crowd go crazy for it.
Kid Ink’s most famous songs clearly go down the best with the crowd. ‘Main Chick’ and ‘Show Me’ are the tracks that have made Kid Ink one of the biggest upcoming rappers right now; both tracks featuring Chris Brown have excelled their coverage bursting him straight into the mainstream. The hooks and on all Ink’s songs are totally on point and ideal for the mainstream music world right now, meaning it’s pretty certain he’ll soon blow up big time popularity wise. The set finishes with Ink’s latest single featuring Usher and Tinashe – ‘Body Language’. A track with layers of sparkling percussive beats and sounds topped by Usher and Tinashe’s vocal which blend effortlessly together. When added to Kid Ink’s unique seductive vocal, it’s the perfect end to an exhilarating, flawless performance.