The Washington Post

Fat Trel’s “Nighmare Before Xmas” at U Street Music Hall — bright futures, huge tunes, six pizzas

Fat Trel — shown here performing at Howard University — showed promise at U Street Music Hall on Sunday night. (Josh Sisk/TWP )

Pro: He was backed by a six-piece live band, (a little bit go-go, a little bit nu-metal), and sounded completely comfortable in the music. “Trappin Like a Fool” had the cool swing of a vintage U.G.K. track and the rapper had the delivery to match. And while so much of Trel’s appeal lies in his street-hardened charisma, the fundamental musicality of his rhymes is what will help him win hearts, minds and ears outside of the Beltway next year.

Con: Excessive band noodling between songs killed the set’s momentum, giving the rapper open road to wander off in his monologues. Some were heartfelt, others were funny, but they all could have been streamlined.

Pro: It’s hard to forget what this man looks like. He wore his hair in a fountain of dreadlocks, he was shirtless after about three minutes onstage and he referred to his own “green and gold” eyes as “Jesus eyes.”

Con: His jokes (we hope) about the cleanliness of his boxer briefs were ... off-putting.

Pro: The Twitterverse says his rider included three packs of Newports, two bottles of Ciroc and six pizzas from Dominos.

Con: No con. That’s the realest rider ever.

Pro: He’s got songs. “Respect With The Teck,” “Nightmare,” “Freeze Me” all sounded big and bold and menacing and impressive.

Con: The set list felt disorganized. But once Trel learns how to present these tunes with focus and urgency, watch out.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about Adele's sadness, Kendrick Lamar's fury, Young Thug's genius and T-Pain's vulnerability.


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