Random awesomeness once again reigned on Day 2 of the first-ever ComplexCon at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Hip-hop legends like Timbaland and Pete Rock and newer faces like Vince Staples and WondaGurl discussed the past and future of rap; there were several more exclusive sneaker and streetwear drops; Kid Cudi and French Montana took over the convention floor; and Deray McKesson, Mike Skolnick and Ilana Glazer talked about Lil Wayne’s Black Lives Matters gaffe. Just like Day 1, it was too much to keep track of in one article—but that isn’t stopping us from trying.
Doors have only just opened, but there are already massive lines at brand installations offering clothing and sneaker drops exclusive to ComplexCon: Anti-Social Social Club and Pac Sun, which were releasing new apparel; Nike, where several limited Air Force ones and retail-price grails were being offered; and, of course, the ComplexCon merch booth, where the most popular item seemed to be the flower pillows designed by Takahashi Murakami.
Rock the Vote VP of marketing and creative Luis Calderin leads a panel about the future of activism, in which activist Michael Skolnick, rapper Lil B, Broad City actress Ilana Glazer, and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson talked about how technology has affected activism and what we can do to help others. It didn’t take long before Lil Wayne’s recent controversial comments on Black Lives Matter came up. “When I saw the Lil Wayne video come out I was like, ‘Can I call somebody who can call Lil Wayne?'” McKesson says.
Image via Complex Original/James Bianchi
At the “Small Screens, Big Laughs” panel presented by Viber, Complex’s own Jinx discusses so-called e-comedy with prominent online comedians Timothy De La Ghetto, Jasmine Luv, Arantza Fahnbulleh, FuckJerry, and Elie Ballas. The conversation eventually drifts away from the Internet, however, and to a more traditional comedy medium: television, and one of the year’s best shows. “I look at the show Atlanta as one of the smartest satires — if not the smartest satire,” Fuck Jerry says to enthusiastic applause.
JInx has all of the panelists at the “Small Screens, Big Laughs” panel and the entire audience participate in a live Mannequin Challenge. Jinx poses frozen with his hands around De La Ghetto’s neck, seemingly about to strangle him — but it’s all for the meme.
At the “Music Generation Gap” debate, Angie Martinez moderates a discussion between legends Pete Rock, Scarface and Raekwon and newer stars French Montana and Vince Staples about the emerging rift between new rappers and old. Scarface insists that hip-hop’s best days are behind it. “The doors for great s–t is closed now,” he said. Long Beach’s Vince Staples counters that Kendrick Lamar is pushing hip-hop forward.
This security guard knows all the words to Kamaiyah’s West Coast bangers at the Pigeons & Planes stage presented by Infiniti.
Next up at the Pigeons and Planes stage, Pharrell’s I Am Other record label closes out its showcase in style, with the producer-rapper and signees Bia, Kap G, Watch the Duck, Buddy all onstage together.
Japanese pop-art god Takahashi Murakami (creative director of ComplexCon and designer of the awesome, much-hyped merch) came through to sign autographs—and blow Pharrell’s mind with his fantastic, ComplexCon-themed hat.
ComplexCon attendees heads are moving back and forth like it’s a Wimbledon match. Lil Yachty is greeting a very long line of fans at the Nautica booth; at the same, just 40 feet away, French Montana is walking the floor for a surprise episode of “Sneaker Shopping” with Complex’s Joe LaPuma.
Young Guru is leading a conversation at the “Wax On It” production panel with DJ Mustard, Timbaland, Mike Will Made-It and WondaGurl. Asked what the difference between a beatmaker and a producer, Timbaland is unequivocal: “A producer is somebody who sees the whole vision—it’s just that simple.”
Murakami crashes the Hot Ones set—but politely declines host Sean Evans’ offer to eat those infamously spicy wings.
Kid Cudi, fresh off his emotional out-of-rehab performance last night, enters the floor at ComplexCon, walking through different booths, posing for pictures, and leading a huge crowd from booth to booth. He makes special stops at the Billionaire Boys Club and Bathing Ape booths—he’s wearing his own T-shirt from the latter.
Complex’s Sean Evans is conducting a live version of “Hot Ones” with fans—one of whom douses his wing in the hottest sauce. Evans shakes his head in disbelief as the guy gags and nearly vomits. But he recovers: Just moments later, he goes back for seconds as the crowd screams.
“It’s making me hurt!” Evans says as he watches the fan wipe tears from his eyes.
The Pigeons & Plane stage is nuts. The reclusive Chief Keef and his crew are playing “Faneto,” while Lil Yachty and his Sailing Team squad turn up onstage with them. The crowd is moshing, jumping, sweating, and screaming.
At the taping of Pharrell and Scott Vener’s Othertone Beats1 broadcast with guest Snoop Dogg, an audience member asks if they would perform their classic No. 1 hit “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” After some hesitation, they oblige, acapella—although Pharrell seems to need help to remember his first verse. “I’m a nice dude, with nice dreams,” the crowd shouts in unison. He picks it up from there.
“Problems” is blaring, the crowd is going crazy and 2 Chainz is spitting his memorable chorus. ASAP Rocky? Drake? Kendrick Lamar? Nope, they aren’t there. 2Chainz cuts the song. “I only did the hook!” he explains.
Good thing Pharrell and Snoop got practice performing “Drop It Like It’s Hot” at the Beats1 OTHERtone broadcast—because now they’re playing it for real. It was a wonderful climax to ComplexCon. Snoop—the unofficial mayor of Long Beach playing his first show in his hometown—bringing out the unofficial mayor of ComplexCon. Ain’t no other way to play the game the way we play.
Image via Complex Original/Rambo