Life lessons with Dirty Sprite

A$AP Rocky brought the Injured Generation Tour to Golden 1 Center Friday, February 1, and it was one of the most fascinating shows I have witnessed. With so many unexpected twists, there were multiple times where I turned to my friend and asked: “Did that just happen?”

The answer was always, “Yes.”

A$AP Rocky is the leader of A$AP Mob, a hip-hop conglomerate out of New York who introduced the mainstream to a new wave of gender-bending fashion, babushkas over bandannas and a nouveau hippie mindset that permeates their music. A combination of free love, mind-altering drugs and mesmerizing beats transport you down their version of the rabbit hole.

Don’t let the hippie part fool you. The music itself is trap at its core. At least on the surface. It’s grimy, dirty and it has deep roots in the art of not giving a damn. Rocky’s live show was no exception.

I counted Rocky bellowing the word “titties” at least 11 times, as cameras panned toward multiple women in the crowd answering the call. He spent a good amount of time dancing on cars suspended in mid-air, and masked men circled the stage to incite to the crowd, ready to throw themselves in and create a mosh pit at a moment’s notice.

Those were the parts of the show that felt the least genuine, and it was the quiet moments that came in between that truly awed me. The moments that were totally unscripted and had nothing to do with music.

Moments like when Rocky paused the show for 15 minutes after seeing a young black man being escorted out of the arena by security. Rocky screamed for the lights to be raised and refused to continue performing until he was brought back:

“All these white kids out here wilding, and you grab the one black kid to take him out?! Nah, fuck that. That’s not where we’re at security, y’all bugging. Bring his ass back.”

Or when Rocky pulled multiple kids that were fighting (legit fighting, not moshing) out of the pit, brought them onstage, and made them HUG IT OUT, explaining the form of release that moshing is supposed to bring if you do it right.

When I stopped to reflect on the show, I realized that there is only one word that I can come up with to perfectly summarize it.


Folks underestimate the power music has to transform our spirit. By the end of the show, after a nearly two-hour performance, thousands of people poured out of those arena doors healed by the experience of watching someone who understands them. Someone who captured their hurt or pain and transformed it into music.

Rocky knows his fans are a core part of an injured generation. A generation in America that for the first time in forever, feels like they were born into a world without hope. It’s hard to live through those moments. Rocky’s just out here trying to rub a little salve on our wounds.