Pi'erre Bourne Shines in London Debut
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
To most hip-hop fans, Pi'erre Bourne is the dynamic producer responsible for making endless hits with Playboi Carti and Yung Nudy among others. However, many are still unaware of his ability as an artist himself, demonstrated on his The Life of Pi'erre mixtape series. To get to where he is today, Pi'erre has taken a multi-faceted approach of rapping, producing and engineering that maximized his opportunities in the music industry. Although engineering provided his initial foot in the door and his beats are what elevated him to fame, this approach has put him in a position to reach a wider audience and amass a solid fanbase of his solo work. Now, Pi'erre is embarking on a significant test of his artistry, taking his talents to Europe for his first full-length tour, The Life of Pi'erre 4 Tour.
At the TLOP4 pop-up shop at Shoreditch clothing store “S-Ply,” Pi'erre explained to me why he planned his first tour to be in Europe. He feels that touring in Europe will give him the opportunity to connect with real fans and expects Europeans to be more excited by his appearance than Americans who “see celebrities everyday.” Indeed, the TLOP4 Tour certainly hasn’t lacked any excitement thus far with moments like Pi'erre throwing a fan off stage (literally) in Manchester. A similar energy was present at The Village Underground for Pi'erre’s sold out show, the second of two he performed in London last Wednesday evening.
As a young, diverse crowd of approximately 1,000 packed into the renovated warehouse venue in Shoreditch, in house DJs attempted with mixed results to energize the room. Songs like Playboi Carti’s “Location,” Travis Scott’s “Mamacita” and Chief Keef’s “Faneto” turned up concertgoers and prompted raucous mosh pits. The audience was equally receptive to tracks by Brooklyn artists Fivio Foreign and Pop Smoke, demonstrating the strong connection between the New York and London drill scenes. However, a large portion of the set, largely absent of UK artists and plagued by technical difficulties, failed to engage the crowd effectively as they grew restless waiting for Pi'erre to “come out here.”
From its very beginning, Pi'erre’s set broke several rap concert conventions. For instance, Instead of running on stage fully psyched out after a visual or DJ introduction as most artists do, Pi'erre began by walking casually, almost unnoticed, onto stage to deal with the venue’s recurring technical issues. After sorting things out, he launched into an epic autotune laden rant, calling out the venue’s DJ for playing “n****s that’s stealing my beats,” likely referencing London rapper Lancey Foux’s track “India,” produced by “type-beat” producer Loubeats, which is built around the reversed melody of the Pi'erre produced Playboi Carti track “Foreign.” This is not the first time Pi'erre has expressed his disdain for “Pi'erre type beats.”
After amending technical issues, Pi'erre jumped right into his hit track “Poof” in an electric kickstart to his setlist: an uninterrupted run-through of The Life of Pi'erre 4 in its entirety. Excluding his wide catalogue of collaboration hits may have sacrificed more frenzied audience reactions. However, this decision allowed for an uniquely focused live experience, likely Pi'erre’s goal given the tour’s title.
Perhaps the event’s most noteworthy aspect was Pi'erre’s impressive vocals. Singing with an auto-tuned microphone, Pi'erre delivered a performance that displayed awareness of his own vocal range as well as his mastery of autotune as an instrument. This delivery allowed each song to have its own unique flavor, distinct from their studio versions without sacrificing sound quality. The highlight was his rendition of “Ballad,” one of the show's more intimate moments, where he sang gracefully while standing just feet away from fans in the front row. Even Pi'erre himself acknowledged his consistently improving singing ability after the show, tweeting “I can really sing… I be finding out when I’m on stage.” Furthermore, Pi'erre also made a strong impression with several of his more upbeat tracks, such as “Routine” and “Juice,” which elicited dynamic audience reactions.
Overall, Pi'erre Bourne’s London debut was a solid showing that made his case to be respected as an artist in his own right. Taking a minimalist performance approach, Pi'erre demanded attendees to intently engage with his vocals, bringing his latest album to life. Between The Life of Pi'erre 5, Whole Lotta Red and a possible TM88 collab, 2020 is shaping up to be a huge year for Pi'erre. Expect to see him expand his brand significantly and find new ways to connect with fans as he brings his talents back to the U.S.