When Levels Agency has an event, you start to hear about it from everyone. It starts popping up in conversations at work, your whole timeline is obsessed with it, and you hear people talking about it in passing when you’re walking down the street, or strolling the aisles in the grocery store. The rumors fly & the buzz gets heavy, it becomes an event you don’t want to miss, and you know niggas will talk about it for years afterwards… Word on the street was Gucci Mane was coming to Pittsburgh. Fresh out, and from the looks of social media, a very changed “Mane”, he was blessing us with the first show he was allowed to travel for. Nobody was checking for new Gucci Mane 2.0 though, we wanted Shawty Got an Ass on her (ON HERRR) make you grab the closest person to you and get it poppin at your friends Fire Hall birthday party Gucci Mane, and that’s the Guwop we got.
I was invited to shoot by Levels Agency, which was super dope in itself. Levels is an event, management, & marketing agency founded by 3 young black men, who have brought some serious talent to the area since their launch and were responsible for turning our city into PittsBURRgh for the first night of Woptober.
The show was at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and for those of you unfamiliar, the convention center is a massive 1.5 million square foot facility that sits on 8 acres, overlooking the southern shoreline of the Allegheny river. I watched in complete amazement as LUXE creative turned this huge venue, used for things from cheerleading competition to anthrocon conventions, into a space specifically created for Gucci himself. If you could imagine a space that was made for Gucci to perform in your head, it would be exactly what LUXE created. If I could describe the all-around vibe, the word of the night would’ve been HUSTLE, it was thick in the air. Everyone had a job to do and everyone was doing it, and doing it well (LL pun intended.)
Some of the city’s biggest artist opened the stage, Latia, Hardo, & Jimmy Wopo got the crowd hype for Gucci’s entrance, and when he finally came out…. HE SHUT IT DOWN. It was almost surreal to see him on stage, I grew up on Gucci and it was an entirely different experience to hear that same music live, to be able to vibe to the music with hella people who feel the exact same way about it that you do. The photographers pit became a claustrophobic's worst nightmare, as the crowd began to push the rail forward, it felt less like we were in our own space and more like we were shooting right from the middle of the front row. But what’s work with no challenge? It made the energy that much crazier. Needless to say, it was all worth it. Gucci killed his set and gave us the show we all expected, I got my shots. (Lost a lens cap though lol)
A lot of artist create a lot of buzz, or spend some time away and come home to disappointed crowds who expect an artist they didn’t get. This was in no way the case, Gucci came back like he never left. In the midst of all this, making an already unforgettable night even better, Gucci brought Cameron Kirkland a.k.a @TheCamKirk on IG. He's one of my favorite photographers and an artist I have a lot of respect for so it only added to the night.
The show exceeded my best expectations, from the crowd, to the production, the opening artist, the venue itself and of course the main event. Gucci truly put on a show for the Burrgh.