The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transferred. I’m no Einstein, but I’m confident that principle was proven during EarthGang’s recent performance at The Fillmore Silver Spring.
The Atlanta hip-hop duo, consisting of Olu (aka Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (born Eian Parker), engaged fans in call-and-response — “when I say earth, you say, gang” — doused them with water guns and enthusiastically rhymed verses from their catalog. The charged-up audience returned their energy at every opportunity.
At The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 20, the rapid-fire lyrics over scatter-gun drums on “Billi” set the show on a course that would accelerate as the night progressed. The song is from EarthGang’s recently released album, Ghetto Gods. The eclectic pair are on tour promoting the record and would perform a handful of songs from the 17-track opus, including “Waterboyz,” “All Eyes on Me,” and “American Horror Story.”
Watch EarthGang’s official music video for “All Eyes on Me” on YouTube:
EarthGang is a budding branch of ATL’s hip-hop tree. Their music has a familiar southern aesthetic, but they are unquestionably blazing new paths. The duo orbits between trap, funk, soul, and even gospel, but go-go? Toward the end of their performance of “Stuck,” the Southside Atlantans showed some local love by playing a rendition of the song using percussions characteristic of the uniquely DMV sound.
The distortion of time is among the results of the black hole that is the pandemic. EarthGang was touring when COVID knocked the planet off its axis three years ago. They were promoting their critically acclaimed debut album Mirrorland. We all know how that story ends. They pulled the plug on the tour and returned home to join the world in collective isolation. During the show, the duo made up for lost time with performances of a few fan favorites from Mirrorland — “Proud of U,” “Top Down,” and “This Side.”
The math behind EarthGang is simple: Olu + WowGr8 = uncommon dopeness. Yet, a little multiplication creates a formula for something equally fantastic. The versatile partners-in-rhyme shine when they join their labelmates on posse cuts. Fans lost their sh*t when EarthGang performed “Down Bad” from the Dreamville collaborative album, Revenge of the Dreamers III. The adrenaline-filled track features JID, Bas, J. Cole, and Young Nudy.
Other highlights from the show included performances of:
- “Amen,” Ghetto Gods
- “Power,” Ghetto Gods
- “Smoke Sum,” Ghetto Gods
- “Strong Friends,” Ghetto Gods
- “Run Too,” Ghetto Gods
- “Lie to Me” Ghetto Gods
- “Bank,” Mirrorland
- “Sacrifices,” Revenge of the Dreamers III
Missed the show? Don’t worry. You can catch EarthGang and a slew of other artists during the 3-day Something in the Water Festival in Washington, DC, from June 17 – 19.
Here are some photos from the EarthGang show at The Fillmore Silver Spring on May 20, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of Will Colbert.