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The Workhorse Tour - Reviewed

- Mitch West

Lincoln, NE got a taste of some of the best hip hop around when legendary 10,000 Lakes lyrical mastermind and showman Prof brought his Workhorse Tour to town Wednesday night at The Bourbon Theatre with DJ Willie Wonka, DJ Rich Lee, Bayo, and Juice Lord. This was the third to last date on the tour and for them probably one of the best. The Workhorse Tour was in support of Prof's last record 'Horse' which was released earlier this year and features collaborations with Method Man, Redman, Kevin Gates, Cozz, and Mac Irv. It was a sold-out crowd that night and boy were they ready to party. This show was a reminder of just how amazing hip hop from Minnesota is and we couldn't wait to watch it.

Every show needs a hype man and if you've ever been to a Prof show then there is no doubt you've been entertained by his counterpart Dj Willie Wonka. DJ Willie Wonka is a Minneapolis-based DJ and producer who has been making waves in the underground hip-hop scene around the 10,000 lakes for years. He began his career as a DJ in the early 2000s, and quickly developed a reputation for his unique style. He has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, including Talib Kweli, Common, and Lupe Fiasco. Willie Wonka started the show by playing a mashup of legendary songs to get the crowd warmed up, hyped and ready for the show to start. He always makes the crowd feel welcomed to the show and gets the vibe set for the night. He's an entertaining and charismatic DJ that doesn't just sit behind the table with his head down ignoring the crowd but when Willie's on stage, he's using every bit of it often reaching out to the crowd and getting them involved. Later on in the night, he would join Prof on stage during a few songs even spraying cash into the audience.

Bayo Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

Bayo is an up-and-coming Nigerian-rooted MC with a Los Angeles, CA address. His music is a concoction that blends hip-hop, R&B, and soul with elements of his Nigerian background. In 2017 he released his first mixtape 'The Road Less Traveled' followed by his second mixtape released in 2019 called 'The Journey' which helped put him on the list of MCs to look out for. If you're a fan of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Anderson Paak you'll vibe out to Bayo's music. Accompanied by Dj Rich Lee Bayos set that night was a very positive and uplifting one. He has a very smooth flow, catchy melodies, and introspective lyrics. It was a good start to the night and help set the tone. Following his set I snuck down to the merch booth before the next artist hit the stage. Being that this was his first tour and it was almost over I asked Bayo what has been the most impactful moment during his first tour. His answer? "For me, it's being a part of it all. Seeing everyone perform and why they're as good as they are. What makes them good? What makes them great? We're all different types of rappers so I learn a lot and am very grateful for this experience". Excited to see him again and crossing our fingers that he comes back to the good life soon.

From the heart of the urban jungle, a new rap luminary has emerged. Juice Lord is an MC straight out of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and has been making noise within the Twin Cities hip-hop scene, opening up for artists like Saba, Freddi Gibbs, GZA, and Jay Electronica. Juice Lord has a very East Coast hip-hop sound that incorporates elements of Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole. He uses his platform to uplift people and speak for those who can't speak for themselves. To date Juice Lord has released several records, including '5/5' in 2020, '6/6: The Forever EP' also released in 2020, and 'Spread Luv Tape: A Point of Light' in 2021 with his latest project 'The 8th Inning' EP released this past April of 2023.

Juice Lord hit the stage also accompanied by Dj Rich Lee. Juice Lords' delivered a solid set of music with an unrelenting stage presence that effortlessly weaved the grit and glamour of the streets to paint a vivid picture of his journey from obscurity to stardom for the crowd in attendance that night.

Prof Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

When you see Prof perform you're witnessing a mastermind at work. He truly is one of the greats. Prof is an independent rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer from Minneapolis, MN that has been making music since about 2005, and to date has released eight studio albums: 'Absolutely' in 2006, 'Project Gampo' in 2007, 'King Gampo' in 2011, 'Liability' in 2015, 'Pookie Baby' in 2018, 'Powderhorn Suites' in 2020, 'Live from Powderhorn Suits' in 2020 and his latest album, 'Horse', released earlier this year in 2023. Prof has one of the best flows in the game as well as one of the best stage presences always delivering an unmatched show. It's on a high level of its own. That night he came out to an incredibly energetic screaming sold-out crowd. He couldn't believe the turnout, especially on a Wednesday night of all times in Lincoln, NE. "Are you guys ready to be a part of the best show of my career?!" he asked the crowd in sheer amazement. Every two or three songs Prof would take an extra pause still in disbelief about the energy at the Bourbon that night and just look around in awe. "Fuck where I've been and what I've done. Tonight is the start of my career right here in Lincoln, NE!" That night's set featured a long list of bangers from past albums along with tracks from his new album Horse which the tour was supporting. The set was seamless and included hits: 'Tarzan', 'Pal', 'Devils Gate', 'Andre The Giant', 'Fire Lessons', 'Time Bomb', 'HPS', 'Light Work', 'Creek Boy', 'Judy', 'No', 'Are You Rollin', 'Boogie Woogie', 'Motel', 'Flower Boy', 'Eulogy', 'Heaven', 'Gasoline', and 'Squad Goals'. There are only two shows left for this tour so if you can't catch Prof and friends this time around make damn sure you catch a show on the next tour!

Updated: 6/16


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