Strick is ready. Young Thug’s multitalented protégé has spent years observing Thug’s athletic endurance onstage, soaking up game in backstage rooms full of stars like J. Cole and Lil Uzi Vert, and touring around the world with Kid Cudi. Now that Strick is embarking on his first headlining tour, he is reflecting on what he’s learned from the YSL leader.
“I had a cool 10-minute set every night to perform. This man’s performing an hour or more every night. Seeing him get out there, stay consistent, give the crowd the same energy every night, and show his work ethic was inspirational,” Strick tells REVOLT.
The YSL rapper describes watching Young Thug perform in a barn and with a swing onstage, how Nelly Furtado surprised him at a show, and what fans can expect from his upcoming “Who The F*ck Is Strick Tour.” Read the exclusive “Tour Tales” conversation below.
What was your first-ever show?
One of the first live shows I ever did was in my hometown in Chapel Hill at this spot called Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina. That was one of the first actual freshman shows I had ever done in high school. It was super crazy. A lot of my friends came. Two of my friends showed up late. They were supposed to be helping me perform. They were so drunk; they were throwing up everywhere. That was pretty crazy. I performed maybe three of the songs; then I had to stop halfway through because they finally got their s**t together. Some of my other friends came.
Young Thug’s “Justin Bieber Big Tour” in 2019 was your first major trek. What did you have to get used to in terms of life on the road?
I definitely think the living accommodations are the first thing. Living every day on the bus, traveling, figuring out eating, and showering. At first, when we were coming out there, we didn’t have our own hotel rooms. You’d get there; maybe six or seven people share one room (laughs). The main goal is to stay clean, not be dirty, and random stuff like that. That was my first tour experience getting used to the lifestyle and moving from city to city so quickly every night.
Which show from that tour sticks out to you?
There was a show in Kansas City. It was one of the craziest ones because we performed in a barn (laughs). All the other places had cool venues, but this one town had us performing in a barn. It was crazy. Then we came across some Amish people, too. They were doing a big horse exhibition, and they taught us about selling off horses and s**t.
After those experiences, did you start making music based on the reaction it would get live at shows?
The majority of The Machine, Vol. 2 was recorded while I was actually on that tour because I was performing a lot of my earlier music. I was seeing songs that turned the crowd up as melodic songs, where I could get the people to singalong.
What advice did Thug give you about touring? What did you take from his live show?
His endurance and his stage presence for sure. I had a cool 10-minute set every night to perform. This man’s performing an hour or more every night. Seeing him get out there, stay consistent, give the crowd the same energy every night, and show his work ethic was inspirational. I was doing 10 minutes and a bit exhausted from traveling and stuff. But this man’s doing an hour or more. So, I think that’s one of the biggest things I learned. He’ll find somebody in the crowd and bring them up onstage. He had a swing set that he would let people come up and swing on while performing.
You also started bringing out your own massive guest appearances. Didn’t Nelly Furtado come out during one of your sets?
Yeah, that was crazy (laughs). I did a song called “Nelly Furtado” off The Machine, Vol. 3. I don’t really write a lot of my music. I go off the top, and the line, “She dancing like Nelly Furtado” came into my mind [when recording the song]. Later on, I met her, and we built an excellent rapport. I had the Toronto show, and I told her I was going to perform. I thought she was going to come out on “Nelly Furtado,” but she actually came out on the song “Bad Girl.” She came out singing the lyrics to the hook, and I was blown away when she got onstage. I didn’t even know it was her. I thought a fan had run onstage.
Then Kid Cudi’s world tour in 2022 was next, right?
Yeah, but before that or the “Justin Bieber Big Tour,” I was rolling with Thug on J. Cole’s “KOD Tour.” That was a super cool tour. I remember there was a time we were backstage —me, Cole, Thug, [Lil Uzi Vert], Trae Tha Truth, and a few other people. I’m from North Carolina just like Cole is, so he and I were having a lot of conversations throughout the tour, and that night everybody was backstage in the room sharing stories, and talking about new music and stuff. One of the things I really commend J. Cole [on] is that after everybody was telling their stories, he turned around to me and said, “Yo, Strick, bro, don’t you have an interesting story? Tell them your story.”
How did your live show improve on Cudi’s tour compared to Thug’s?
Healthwise, I got a personal trainer. So, my wind and endurance were up. I had a longer set this time. It was about over 20 minutes. I was a lot more in shape. That allowed me to give my fans an even better performance because I’m a high-energy performer.
You’re embarking on the “Who The F*k Is Strick Tour,” which will be your first one as a headliner. What can fans expect?
It starts June 22 in Chicago. My fans can expect a lot of surprises. I got some big songs and a lot of super amazing artists, so you never know who will pop out. I’m going to a lot of major cities, and there are a lot of artists I work with from those cities. I’m also going to preview a lot of new music.
Why did you name it the “Who The F*ck Is Strick Tour”?
I was having a group chat with some marketing friends, and we were talking. A lot of the conversation was based around a lot of people not knowing who I am. I’m a prolific songwriter, and I’ve written some amazing songs, but that still is behind-the-scenes work. I’m also starting my artist career and have some really cool songs as well. So, it’s like what rock are you living underneath if you don’t know who Strick is? Then, one of the people in the group chat said, “The next tour should be named ‘Who The F*ck Is Strick.’”
Your A$AP Rocky collaboration “For Sale” would be great performed live.
Rocky and I have a really amazing relationship. He’s a super genuine guy. We always want the best for each other. I can’t deny he won’t come. I’ll say that.
What do you have prepared for the rest of 2023?
I have a lot of new music coming. I will come with my sophomore album at the end of the year. I have a mixtape coming soon called Shark Attack that’ll be out right before the tour starts. I’m just working on stuff like that, man. New tour, new music, and a lot of collabs. I feel like I haven’t given my fans enough music. I record six songs a day, so I have a lot of material. I want to start giving my fans some more of that.