/  11.09.2021

Neek Bucks is at the point in his career when performances from J. Cole and Benny the Butcher are learning experiences. Touring with the latter has shown him the benefits of hitting the road.

“After the [Portland] show, people came to me and said, ‘You gained a new fan,’ as opposed to the places where I just had a social media presence,” Bucks told REVOLT.

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the Harlem-bred rapper discusses what he learned from watching J. Cole perform in North Carolina, performing at The Apollo Theater with Dipset, and his admiration for Benny the Butcher. Read below!

You recently went on “The Burden of The Plug Tour” with Benny the Butcher. Was this your first tour?

Yeah. I’ve been on the road running around with YFN Lucci before. I’ve done places with Jim [Jones]. But, this was my first time being able to rock the shows on my own.

What have you learned about being on tour that you never knew before?

I learned about comfortability. I found myself on stage. I figured out what I’m comfortable doing and how to engage with the crowd. I feel like the tour helped my performance. 

What was the most memorable show you did on your first tour?

Portland showed a lot of love for my first time being on the west coast. Portland really welcomed me with open arms. After the show, people came to me and said, ‘You gained a new fan,’ as opposed to the places where I just had a social media presence. But, in Portland and Seattle, people came to me and said, ‘You gained a new fan.’ That was dope to me. 

What was your camaraderie like backstage with Benny the Butcher?

Benny’s my guy. He’s been my guy for about a year and a half now. I always thanked him for allowing me to chase my dream, putting me on the road and all. I’m thankful for him. 

By being on the road, did you get inspired to make music to get certain crowd reactions?

Actually, my biggest learning experience was when I went to J. Cole’s concert in North Carolina. I saw how he was able to lock the crowd in. I watched the little methods and tactics he do to keep them engaged. I learned more there than anything.

What songs of yours got the best reactions?

I got a song called “Almost There” from Invisible Scars. That one always goes up. Everyone loves to show up when I perform that one. The crowd is always bopping with it. But, it’s on my social, so you can go see it for yourself. 

What was the food situation like hitting all those different cities?

I couldn’t find any good food when I was in Portland. Portland is the only place where I couldn’t find anything good. But, my DJ is good at picking the food spots, so we haven’t had a problem. The best food I had on the road was definitely Seattle. I went to this spot that had catfish with grits that reminded me of back home. 

What have you improved on as a live performer over the years?

I remember I performed over an .MP3 track with my words on it at my first-ever show. It sounded horrible (laughs). I’ll never do that again. I learned a lot from that. 

What was the biggest show you’ve ever done?

I’ve done the Apollo with Dipset before in my hometown of Harlem. That was the most memorable and important show for me. I performed with Jim. He called me up and wanted me to perform on his set, so I came out on Jim’s set. It was great. I had the pleasure to share the stage with The LOX, DMX, N.O.R.E. There were a lot of greats in that building that day. It was a special day. 

Describe your show to someone who’s never been to one.

I love to engage and talk. If you smoke, we’re going to smoke together. I want everybody to feel where I’m coming from. I like to talk about how I got to where I am now. It’s like a real conversation between me and you.

Neek Bucks (left), J. Cole (center), Benny the Butcher (right)
J. Cole

I know you learned from J. Cole’s show, but did you learn anything from Benny’s performances?

Yeah, I got a chance to see his sets. He comes from real rap. He’s an artist who really raps. To see there are fans who still love real rap was dope to me. I learned if you stay the course, there’s a fanbase for everything out there. 

What do you have coming up in the future? 

After the tour, I think I want to headline my own show in New York City. I don’t have a venue yet because of the COVID restrictions. I’ll have to figure that out, but that’s the goal. 


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