Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For 'Tour Tales,' we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it's still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on 'Tour Tales.'
Tekashi 6ix9ine existed under a cloud of clout as unpredictable as the weather. His DJ, Pvnch, saw 6ix9ine leverage internet virality to tour across Europe during a time when American music festivals and venues wouldn't book him due to the negative attention surrounding him. Pvnch has also seen how that cloud of clout shrouded 6ix9ine's safety.
"We're in a day and age where clout and the appearance of clout is more valuable than reality. There's people that say they rob people that have never robbed, just to get a headline," Pvnch told REVOLT TV in this installment of 'Tour Tales.' "When you're dealing with the most viral kid in the world, that was always a thought. There were brands that I know that were not worried about Tekashi, but had to worry about rapper A, B and C trying to do something to Tekashi just to get lit.
Two days before reports surfaced that 6ix9ine pleaded guilty to nine counts of racketeering, firearms offenses and drug trafficking; Pvnch spoke with Revolt TV about how much money 6ix9ine is missing by being in prison, how 6ix9ine's live shows are as good as Drake's and if he ever feared for his life while on tour with the rapper.
How did you and 6ix9ine link up to work together on tour?
I had met 6ix in September 2017, around the time 'Gummo' was really developing. I was around since the start of his newer run. Tekashi does have records from months before that. But, his new sound with the yelling and aggression, he had a different sound before.
What were those early shows like?
Tekashi has hit records. There are a lot of artists that have cult-following records. So, when you have that cult crowd, you have this amazing show. But, the thing with Tekashi was that every single record he rolled out was virally successful. First 12 records he put out, officially, reached Billboard. So, the show felt drastically different in crowd engagement and just reactions. It's one of the greatest feelings when you press play and it's your hit record playing, and know we can do that 12 different times without any argument.
There are those cult records. He has a record called '93' that the masses have no idea what the fuck it is. But, he does it and it does great. So, he has those, as well. But, there's a difference when you hear 'Kooda,' 'KeKe,' 'Gummo.'
What was the first show y'all did together?
The first show he did in New York at Amadeus in Queens. He was still figuring out how he wanted his show to flow. Prior to 6ix9ine, I used to be Young M.A.'s tour DJ. So, I did the entire Young M.A. run until March 2017. Her show increasingly got more exciting. 6ix9ine wants to literally come out to the most energetic music he can come out to. 6ix9ine comes out to 'Kooda.' The lights turn off and it's, 'Niggas running out their mouth, but they never pop out.' It's a total mind-fuck if you've never been to a show with his.
When we were designing it, he was like 'I want to come out with this.' I remember I was used to doing these shows a certain way. So, I was like, 'You sure you want to come out to something so energetic?' He's like, 'Why don't we just come out to the biggest shit we got now?' I'm just like, 'Wow. OK. Well then, you got to maintain that.' He's like, 'We will. Don't worry.' After the first show and the second show, you really start to understand [that] Tekashi 6ix9ine connects to the energy inside of the normal fan that people don't understand. I believe in my heart that we literally had the best show in rap or the most exciting show in rap, energy-wise, without any argument. We had to be addressed with the big homies of the Drakes, Kendrick [Lamar], Travis [Scott]. None of our peers would be able to compete, record in and record out.
What is the craziest fan reaction you've seen at a 6ix9ine show?
The way and length of time that people would wait and stand in the cold. We toured in Europe, we're in Russia. It's fuckin two degrees or negative degrees, and they're waiting outside.
Is there a song you've seen 6ix9ine record that was either recorded after a show or directly influenced by the reaction he got at a show?
He definitely records in constant thought of how it's going to be performed. He's like, 'We should switch up here because we're going to be tired when we do this part. He's always keeping in mind the performance factor because no matter how many streams he gets, that didn't really matter to him as much as performing. That's why I know that him being inside now hurts more than anything. Not just the fact that everybody's talking about him. It's really the fact of him not being able to do his own shit, hit the stage and rip it down.
6ix9ine being arrested November 2018 -- a week before his 'Dummy' album came out -- definitely seemed to affect his unprecedented momentum. How much money could 6ix9ine have made on the road after his album was released, if he wasn't currently in prison?
With his eyes closed, he was between $100,000 - $120,000. The second that the album came out 6ix would've definitely hit $150,000 - $200,000, easily. We were huge in different continents. That's another thing people don't get that I don't think they really wrap their minds around. We weren't New York hot, we weren't even America hot. We were worldwide hot. I remember we were in Finland, and people were shaking and touching my hand like, 'Yo Pvnch, ThisIs50.' They knew me because they embodied 6ix9ine so much, they wanted to know all the moving pieces.
6ix9ine was in a bit of trouble in the states before y'all hit the overseas market. There were rumors he wasn't able to perform in the United States. How were y'all able to book shows overseas with all of this negative attention?
Because of the internet. The internet is the most unique invention that has ever been created. More specifically than the internet, I want to say social media. Social media is something that we all would go, 'Don't believe what you see.' But, 99 out of 100 people react off of what they see, knowing that's probably not true. It's the weirdest shit.
So, there wasn't a situation where 6ix9ine couldn't perform in the states?
No, there was. We had offers in different states, but what would happen is that the internet would almost become its own self-replicating disease. Someone would go, '6ix9ine can't go to this event.' So, let's say 6ix9ine can't go to Club House, hypothetically. Club House says 6ix9ine can't come, and then people go, '6ix9ine can't do no shows nowhere in New York.' Then, they post it because his name is so viral. Every time he goes to the club, he fights. You know how they say all news is good news? That's not always true. There's always a good and a bad thing.
In the case of Tekashi, there were a lot of rumors saying that we were banned from places that we'd never been in. I've been in places where they're like, 'Oh I heard ya'll were banned in [New] Jersey.' I be like, 'We literally have never been there. How have we been banned?' They said we were banned from Madison Square Garden. That's not true. They said we were banned from tons of clubs. That's not true. The reality at hand was the police [was] wary in the beginning of 6ix9ine's career. They were getting used to it. The whole gang and aggressive image would make people nervous when the internet is portraying it, and selling stories, and just creating things for headlines because the boy's name is so fucking viral. It ended up hurting him. What he did was say, 'Why would we go and have to go through talking with every police department in every city, talk to every club owner ten times to show them that we're cool? This shit is useless. I'll go to Europe. They could care less what the internet says. They know, at the end of the day, I'm Tekashi 6ix9ine, this is Pvnch, and we're selling a show. Why are we being controlled by rumors when we can alter reality?
Were there ever moments where you feared for your life, while being around him?
(Laughs) We've been in multiple intense scenarios. Fear is a strong word. I grew up outside. So, being on point is just something that's a part of my nature. It started to get to the point where Tekashi and I were the only people traveling with security. Towards the end, Tekashi started cutting down a lot of expenses and who was coming out, and who was not. So, there's been shows where it's literally just me, him and security. Maybe me, him and Shotti. You're not as squadded up as normal.
Did he record 'Stoopid' on tour in Dubai?
Yeah. I was there. We were in Dubai for almost a month. I know a lot of people are always curious about why we were in Dubai for a long time. 6ix9ine wasn't ready to come back to America. Let's just say that. For clarity, the thought was always to get Bobby [Shmurda] and Rowdy [Rebel] on 'Stoopid.' That was always the thought.
Why wasn't Rowdy on the song?
People have to remember, we were in different time zones. Not some L.A./New York three hour shit. We were in Dubai. I'm talking about a 10-hour difference. So, when we're awake, the world is sleep, generally speaking. Then, when you're in jail, you talk when you can talk. It's not about, 'I have to wake up to call my mans. Y'all keep it down while we record.' It's jail! Also, you have to remember, if you're patching in a three-way call or you're patching in that call, direct signal is not the greatest coming out of their end. So, there's a lot of different things that caused Rowdy to not be on 'Stoopid.' That's something I always wish I could've did. I wish I could've got Bobby and Rowdy's full verses, and put it out to the people. But, the gears switched to finishing the album, so it was an overload.
What are some things y'all did in between shows overseas?
I think everybody sees this. But, Tekashi is really on some jokey, jokey, clown shit. You'll be sleep and he'll slap the shit out of you. He'll run and throw water. He wants to do pranks. He wants to yell, pick fights, and wrestle. He's young. He's a kid still. We were overseas when he did the video when he first got his teeth and he did the video saying, 'My big bright smile and my big bright teeth.' I remember him just running around, playing in the bathroom and shooting that shit fucking 10 times over and over because he kept laughing and couldn't be serious.
You worked at ThisIs50 before you were 6ix9ine's DJ. How did that influence his relationship with 50 Cent?
The beginning of that relationship really was with me. So, I'm in the ThisIs50 offices for months prior to 50 ever meeting 6ix9ine or knowing who he is. There's days when 50's attention is at zero and he's doing a million other things like closing trillion dollar deals or whatever he's doing with 'Power.' Then, there's other days when he's chilling and he's like, 'What's up?' I'm like, 'Yo, look at my young boy. He's popping.' I remember vividly showing 50 a bunch of shit and he was interested. But, when I showed 50 'Billy' that changed everything for 6ix9ine. 50 was like, 'I want to meet him.'
6ix9ine has such a wild personality I can only imagine what happens backstage. What was usually on 6ix9ine's rider?
I'm so happy you asked this because people think that this guy is on drugs and they think 6ix9ine is a big drinker. 6ix9ine don't take no drugs. People thought this kid was on drugs. He really wasn't. He was just bugged out. Sober (laughs). A lot of people think that just because he looked a certain way and he was around certain artists that he was a part of that culture. He really wasn't. 6ix9ine was sober as shit. So, in reference to his rider, he wants fruits and healthy shit. 6ix9ine was super, super, super health-conscious. I'm not exaggerating. There were times, we had to literally fight that kid to eat. He'd be like, 'Yo, we shouldn't eat. It's too late. It's not good for your diet.' We're like, 'What?!' He would not want to eat food, like a fucking girl who was on a diet. If you eat mad unhealthy around him he'd be like, 'Yo, bro. What you want to do? Want to be fat? You want to be out of shape?' You know where that came from?
Fans being pieces of shit in his comments. He would use that as drive. He would post with his shirt off and a comment would say, 'Yo, you're mad fat.' He'd be like, 'See, they still think I'm fat. Watch next week.' That kid would run up and down the stairs for 40 - 50 minutes. One of the last vivid memories I have with him is when we were in L.A. in the crib. It was hot and he had a hoodie on, sweats on, sneakers on, running up and down because he couldn't go to the gym. We were in Barcelona and he was like, 'Yo, we got to go to the gym.' If he drank liquor, he had to be in the greatest mood that day (laughs).
If 6ix9ine was able to get out soon, do you think he'd be performing?
There are people who are tortured in the jail system by missing out on women, money, and all of that. I know Tekashi really well. He's the most fucked up about the fact he can't be in tune and feel what the masses feel about him. If he was able to get out of jail today, he would literally do a show right after. He'd be like, 'Let's go do a show.'
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