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"It’s kind of how an album works. You have your album cuts and singles that are popular and high energy. But, most of the time, the album cuts are really in their hearts,” Bas told REVOLT TV about his Dreamville Festival performance preparation.
Bas has not put out an album since The Milky Way in August 2018. Unless, that is, you saw him perform at the first Dreamville Festival. The meticulous art of sequencing and fan consideration that the 31-year-old MC employs to craft his albums helped make his performance one of the best at the festival. Bas puts so much attention in his live shows because it's those live shows that has given him the fanbase that would chant, “Basy, Basy, Basy” before he even hits the Dreamville Festival stage.
“My live show is super important. It’s done the most to get me to where I’m at. I was touring early and touring often, and I’m still touring," Bas added. "That does the most for me, as far as building my fanbase in every market. You might show up for one tour and there might be 150 people. Then, the next tour might be 500 or 1,000 people.”
For this Dreamville Festival edition of "Tour Tales," we spoke with Bas and DJ Nitrane -- both who are artists signed to Dreamville -- about their unspoken language and the importance of the festival to the label's future.
Less than six weeks before Dreamville Festival, Bas finished his 43-city "The Milky Way Tour." Instead of rehashing his old set, Bas wanted to gift the fans who traveled from all over the world with a new one. The fan love empowers Bas’ performances, but the weight of that love places pressure on the artist to live up to everyone's expectations. He admitted to us that it was difficult to balance fan expectations for songs and the 30-minute time slot he was allotted.
“The difficulty is what songs to do. I have three albums out and we have two Revenge of the Dreamers (albums). There’s a lot of music to do,” Bas said. “There are fans that have grown with me over a long period of time. You’re never going to get it right. You’re never going to do every song that everyone wanted to hear. But, it’s just about putting the best set together.”
Luckily for all of us that caught his set, the shorter set led to an ostensibly never-ending avalanche of high-energy moments. Catching your breath was a luxury and the turn up was mandatory. For one stretch during the performance, Bas performed "Night Job," which led into "Housewives," which led into the high-energy "It’s Lit" before he ran through a blistering 40-second medley of classic hip hop songs “Slam” by Onyx, and an adrenaline-spiking blend of KRS-One’s “Sound of Da Police” and DMX’s “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”
Bas' set was as fluid as the sequencing on any of his albums; moving from emotion to emotion, and song theme to song theme with no disruption in the collective groove. But, if there were any changes, no one in Dreamville Festival's crowd would be able to tell, unless they can decipher the "unspoken language" both DJ Nitrane and Bas claim they possess with one another. "We have the audibles on deck. We have looks that would change the songs," Bas said.
That seamless adaptability helped inspire the most familial moments of his performance. He brought a random fan onstage to live out his dream and rap J. Cole's entire "It's Lit" verse to the surprise and uproarious zeal of everyone else in attendance. Later, Bas grabbed a drink given to him by Dreamville Operation Manager Matty P before going into a soliloquy and toasting fans for helping make the Dreamville artists’ dreams come true by making the festival a success. If this performance was an album, these touching moments were great interludes.
“I like to talk to the crowd. I pretty much write that into all of my sets,” Bas said. “I also got my bro Justin playing the keys with me. I like that element of musicality. During the talking moments, they can play something.”
After the speech, Bas brought out Correy C to help perform their The Milky Way collaboration, “Fragrance.” Fans may not have been able to hear Bas attempt a little harmonizing in-between Correy singing the chorus when the song first started, but Bas made sure to shoot Nitrane a smile that can only mean "I did it again" in their secret language.
“He’ll sing Correy C’s part of 'Fragrance' at the start of the song. That’s certainly very Bas-y, something he’s not supposed to do,” Nitrane said with a hearty laugh.
The congregation of 40,000 of the label's most die-hard fans at Dreamville Festival were galvanizing reminders of how far the label has progressed. For Bas, the festival isn't a culmination of anything, but rather the beginning of the historically insulated, yet inviting label entering a new era when the world will be brought into the Dreamville family.
“We’ve been rocking with everybody, it’s just we’ve always been so in-house with everything we do. This year, we’re more about stepping out. We’re more about bringing the people in. We’re more about really showing people what we’re about,” Bas said. "So, the festival gives us a physical place, the same way the [Dreamville Sessions] did to bring people and put our vibe on the situation.”
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