A Night of Symphonic Hip Hop Featuring Common at Heinz Hall

What do you do when you get the chance to shoot a concert for one of Raps most prolific artists in a venue that houses almost 3,000 people and is home to one of the most respected symphonies in the country? You do that shit… And you kill it.

When I walked into Heinz Hall, I was blown away by its size. With 24 carat gold details throughout the building, two 15 ft. chandeliers 2,000lbs a piece hung from the ceilings & a very "grand" auditorium in every sense of the word. So when I say it was LIT, I mean it with all puns intended.

The Pittsburgh Symphony along with Activist, Actor and all around artist Common would almost seem like a dream.  It’s such a humbling experience to be able to go to these amazing venues, to shoot artist I respect and grew up listening to is something I’ll never get over. When Kiki from Wamo and Nice2Media hit me up about this opportunity I knew I had to take it, and it was worth every minute.

Common killed the stage, the first thing I noticed was my man’s shoes, I don’t know what he was wearing or who makes them but they were clean. Being a rap artist in a venue that normally caters to a “different” audience, I didn’t know how it would work, but it did and they meshed perfectly. You could hear every instrument perfectly and they didn’t miss a beat. It was an experience like nothing else. 

Common's ability to be an unapologetically black man in a setting that is outside of what one might consider a “comfort zone” spoke for itself, his interaction with the crowd made it so much more personal than a lot of shows I’ve seen. Common, is someone we can all admire, seeing him do his thing reminded me of a lyric he spit. “I was born by a lake, chicken shack, and a church/ That mean the flow got wings and it come from the dirt.”   

This mans charm, poetry, and pure lyrical genius, took him to a position that allows him to perform for thousands of people at a time, each one of them rapping his lyrics word for word, with a full symphony behind him. Shit was crazy, you don’t know where life is going to take you. But there I was, shooting all of it with a 6d & a 24-70, hoping what I shot would be able to capture a fraction of what the experience was like. 

Check out the shots and let me know what you think, I think it was pretty cool.

Written by


Tye Thomas



Diploma in Nursing

"Wanna smoke before?"