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.’
Jameson “100K” Francois managed YNW Melly and King Von, and helped them reach superstardom. He’s even seen how that translated to fan love on the road.
“The fan touched [King Von]’s chest while he was sweating and she licked her finger as if she had just eaten chicken,” 100K told REVOLT. “She grabbed the man’s sweat off his body and licked the sweat off her finger.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” King Von and YNW Melly’s manager speaks on building their live shows, their on-stage brotherhood, and the show before Von’s death. Read here!
How did you link up with YNW Melly?
I linked up with Melly because I’m from South Florida, and he’s an hour and a half drive from where I’m from. I was already doing management for Kodak Black’s Sniper Gang Apparel. When I went to Orlando, I was starting my own brand, 100K. I didn’t know Melly at that time, but this kid I was working with took Melly’s song “Legendary” and remixed it. I was promoting the song. At the time, Melly had a good little fanbase in his area, which is a very small place. People were saying it was Melly’s song. He was just Melly at the time. I put “YNW” in front of his name. I credited him on the post and his mom DM’ed me saying, “Thank you. My son is incarcerated right now.” He was in a juvenile program. He had just turned 18. She said he really needed help on the music side. From there, I built a relationship with him for eight or nine months before he came home. We were locked in real tight. This was around mid-2017.
What was Melly’s first show like after he came home?
I actually booked his first five shows before he came home. I was already in the mix in Florida doing events because I had been doing it for so long. His first show was in Orlando at this venue called The Soundbar. He came home in February 2018 and that show was March. It was about 200-300 people, which was big for him at the time when he was just coming home. It was an all-age event. It was a great experience. I saw for the first time that he had a strong fanbase.
What did he have to get better at for his live show?
He didn’t really know how to talk to the crowd. I was his hype man. He would just come on, play the song, and just do song after song. He had to learn to talk to the crowd when the music stops. Crowd interaction is what he got better with.
What’s the most notable fan reaction at a show of his?
A fan threw her panties on stage in New York at S.O.Bs. By this time, he had done a few shows and was in his bag. So, he stopped, picked it up, and said, “Hold up, if this stink, the show is over.” He smelled it, looked up, and said, “It smells gooooood!” (laughs). He kept the show going.
S.O.B.’s is a historic venue. How was the preparation for it?
It was his first official tour with an agency. S.O.B’s was the first stop. He was excited. The energy was there. His label, 300, came out to support. He actually brought out Rod Wave, Asian Doll, J. Green. It was an amazing night. It was very electrifying.
What are Melly’s “Tour Hits”?
“For Real” is a song that goes crazy. Another one that goes crazy is “Whodie.”
What was on his rider?
Rice Krispies, Henny, chicken, fruits, Sprite, lemonade, and basic things.
What’s the most memorable Melly show you’ve been to?
It was a late night in Texas and our security guard was driving. This man was sleepy, but he didn’t want to tell us. He wanted to be Superman. The man almost hit a cow. We almost thought we were going to die because the tires burst and the car was messing up. It was a late night, you don’t see anything, so you don’t know what’s out there. By God’s grace, we were able to stop. We had to find an Uber where we were at and he missed the whole show, so he performed outside the venue for his fans as they were leaving.
How would you describe a YNW Melly show for someone who’s never been to one?
He would come out with “Risk Taker” and then he’d do “For Real.” After that, he’d go to a song like “Virtual (Blue Balenciagas)” to really get them hype. Then, he’d go into “Freaky Girl.” After that, “He’d go to “Florida Water” or “Legendary.” Those are all the songs that are known by his close fanbase. “Mixed Personalities” was new at the time, so he’d do that into “Mama Cry.” To end it, he’d do “Murder on my Mind.”
How’d you link up with King Von?
In 2019, we met Von through [Lil’] Durk. He’d be everywhere with Melly and me. He’d come to Miami or wherever we were at. Then, Von got incarcerated too, and I helped him with some lawyer bills and stuff. He was like, “Bruh, I need you in my corner because you genuinely care for me. We’re not even locked into business, but I can call you to help me. I’ve seen what you’ve done with Melly, let’s do it.” Durk, Von, and I had a couple of conversations and Durk were like, “Go ahead, I want you to. You’re family.”
What was the first show you did with him?
We brought him out to Lyrical Lemonade [in 2019]. He was shocked. He was like, “Damn, it’s a lot of people.” Remember, Von was with Durk for six to seven months prior to me managing him, so he was used to moving around and seeing those shows. Melly was the headliner of the Lyrical Lemonade event.
How did that first show with Von and Melly go?
They had that brotherhood. The atmosphere was great. Melly kept teasing the crowd that we had a special guest coming. We made them wait. Then, when we played “Crazy Story,” the crowd went crazy when he came out.
I know y’all were playing NBA 2K on the tour bus. How were Von’s skills?
He was raw. Von is very competitive, so whatever he does he learns how to be good at it. But, I’m raw too. He beat me one time, I beat him one time. We had a little rivalry.
How did Von’s live show develop over time?
That man went from walking on stage with the music, rocking the crowd, and then walking off to walking on stage with the music, talking, engaging the crowd. He was literally taking towels, wiping his face, and asking, “Who want it?” Then he’d throw it to the fans. He really learned how to be a superstar.
What was the most notable fan interaction Von had?
This was in either Jersey or Philly. The fan touched his chest while he was sweating and she licked her finger as if she had just eaten chicken (laughs). She grabbed the man’s sweat off his body and licked the sweat off her finger (laughs). That was ridiculous.
What’s the most memorable King Von show?
That would be in North Carolina or South Carolina. That show was wall-to-wall. We were throwing water trying to be rockstars. One of his homeboys was supposed to throw the water towards the crowd and this man threw the water and wet the entire stage. Everyone was slipping and shit. We had to stop the show to wipe the show. Von was mad (laughs).
What was the last show before Von passed?
In Atlanta, the night he passed away. He had an album release party. It was a great night. His album dropped. He was streaming really high. Everybody came out. It was in Atlanta, so he flew half of his Chicago homeboys and family out. It was a great environment. It was so good, he didn’t want to go back to the hotel. That’s when we ended up going to the after-hours spot. Unfortunately, we learned that night that it’s best to have a great time and call it a night.