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The Thunderbolt

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The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

A Marvelous Experience

It was just marvelous…
Photo of Yung Gravy (left) and bbno$ (right)
Photo of Yung Gravy (left) and bbno$ (right)

I was introduced to Yung Gravy during the summer of 2021. I had been at work (at the time I was a lawncare provider) pulling weeds out of gravel when Mr. Clean came on my Spotify Discover Weekly. I’m a fan of oldies, so hearing the intro to Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes, I didn’t immediately think anything strange was occurring. But then the beat dropped, and I was bombarded by a white boy dropping “bars”. Simply put, I was not very impressed. I thought the music was weird and soulless, and so my opinion remained until December.

My best friend gave me a song recommendation–yup! by Yung Gravy. I was unenthused. I remembered this artist as a weirdo on the fringe of Spotify’s rap genre, but nonetheless, I took the recommendation. I loved it.

In 2022 I was in the top 0.5% of Yung Gravy’s listeners. My top three songs were yup!, Betty (Get Money), and Edamame (not a Yung Gravy song, but a song by his close friend and business partner, bbno$). I believe it’s safe to say that I am a big fan, and, as a big fan, I attended Gravy’s concert at The Union Event Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

On a different note, who is Yung Gravy? Matthew Raymond Hauri is a 26-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota. Hauri, known by his rapper name “Yung Gravy”, cites he was inspired by artists like OutKast, Nate Dogg, and Curren$y. These artists influenced his first song named Karen, which was released online in 2016. The song caused a notable stir online, but he was not yet shot to fame. Gravy became an internet sensation with his song Mr. Clean, released in 2017. This silly, but the memorable song, mixed with the rapper’s internet persona as a fun-loving, high-spending, cougar-chaser has enabled him to go on international tours for his music. He is currently on tour with his friend and colleague, Alexander Leon Gumuchian, known as bbno$ (pronounced “baby no money”) in the rap world.

I first heard that Yung Gravy was performing in Salt Lake City from my friend who knew I was a huge fan. I wanted to go, but I didn’t have anyone to attend with, so I decided against it–until I got a new job. After a couple of months, one of my coworkers mentioned that he and his friends were attending the concert, and I was immediately intrigued. I discussed it with him, and he said he’d float the idea of me attending with them with his friends. His friends happily agreed, and the rest is history.

While Yung Gravy boasts a tremendous 1.5 million followers on Spotify and 2.1 million on Instagram, he is not a high-profile celebrity like Taylor Swift or Harry Styles. Despite my deciding to attend the concert only one month prior to the show, I was easily able to buy my tickets. The cost had been run up, and the cheapest tickets I was able to find were $140, as opposed to my coworker’s, which was $70, but for a last-minute ticket, I thought it was a steal.

So, now that the background has been established and the tickets have been bought, allow me to set the stage. My friends and I left at 5 pm, got some food, and made our way to the Union Event Center in Salt Lake City. We arrived around 7:30, just after the doors opened, but even by that time, there was little to no parking. We eventually found an empty lot about a half mile from the Union and decided that walking was our only option.

The Union Event Center is relatively small. It has standing room only, but those over twenty-one can go upstairs, where they have a better, although further away, view of the stage. After finding a good spot (about twenty feet from the stage), the pre-show began. DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip and Freddie Dredd, some of Yung Gravy’s fellow SoundCloud rappers, hyped up the crowd, but while they had great stage presence, their performance lasted too long. Beginning at 7:30 pm, Tiiiiiiiiiiip and Dredd took the stage and didn’t leave until 9 pm. For my friends and I, this was much too long. We had paid to see Yung Gravy and bbno$, not this. But, after a very long and slightly boring preshow, the real show began. It was marvelous.

To me, the most impressive part of the show was the lack of lip-syncing. Both performers sang the whole night, with nothing but the music (and the screaming fans) to assist them. In a world where music is heavily edited and every action is scrutinized by the press, this was a very bold move and added to the overall energy of the concert.

What made the show exceptionally fun were bbno$ and Yung Gravy’s performance “traditions”. The first tradition is the cookbook. At every show, bbno$ gives out a vegan cookbook to the fan that gets the most hype–a fun and creative way to thank the fan for their energy and to encourage the crowd to remain enthusiastic throughout the performance. Another tradition is the roses. As previously mentioned, Yung Gravy has a reputation for liking older women. Near the end of the show, he brought out a bouquet of roses and gave a rose to every “cougar” in attendance. But their interaction with the audience didn’t end there. The pair did callouts, asking the crowd to shout “money” after they said “baby no”, or “train”, after they said “gravy”, They gave out merchandise, had everyone toss their water bottles during Dancing in the Rain, and even handed out stacks of dollar bills during the song Betty (Get Money). To make the experience even more personal, the men inserted lyrics about Utah into their songs. For example, instead of saying, “That’s my New York City chick”, they sang, “that’s my Salt Lake City chick”, and even mentioned Provo and missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints present in other songs. It was clear throughout the show that bbno$ and Yung Gravy not only understood their audience but wanted to connect with them.

In addition to singing live as opposed to lip-syncing and interacting with the audience, bbno$ and Gravy were attentive to their fans. In the middle of a song, a fan fell over, and the performers promptly stopped the show. The pair called security and even began to pass out bottles of water to the crowd. They frequently reminded the audience not to push, and that this was meant to be dope, not deadly. Multiple incidents occurred throughout the show, and every time they made sure those involved got assistance, thanked security for their help, and got an “okay” from the crowd before continuing on. These actions, especially in light of recent injuries and even deaths at other rap concerts, showed their genuine appreciation for their fans and the opportunity to perform for them.

Overall, the show was excellent. Bbno$ and Yung Gravy performed some of their older numbers as well as those from their new albums, bag or die and Marvelous, and kept the energy high all night. They clearly cared about their fans, and not only wanted to keep them safe but also to connect with them. While the preshow lasted longer than my friends and I would have preferred, ultimately the experience was worth every penny. I would be very interested in attending another performance for either artist and would recommend that any other bbno$ or Yung Gravy fan do the same. After all, it was just marvelous.

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