NIGO has made a lot of friends throughout his historic career in music and fashion, and those connections have culminated with I Know NIGO—a collaborative album that reflects the multi-hyphenate’s elite ear and strong relationships. Those friendships were on full display at ComplexCon on Sunday night as NIGO, Teriyaki Boyz, the Clipse, Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, and Ski Mask the Slump God graced the stage together to perform some of Nigo’s album (and some of their own essentials) live for the first time.
“We’re trying to put together a concert now,” Steven Victor, who helped orchestrate the album, told us around the time the album was released. Victor and NIGO were successful in doing that—which turned out to be ComplexCon—with several collaborators on the project and others coming together to bring I Know NIGO to life.
Before the night of music got started, thousands poured into the Long Beach Convention Center after a long day of shopping and hypebeast-ing to enjoy a diverse lineup of artists. The energy in the building felt like a giant high school reunion as the crowd got increasingly more engaged as each new act came on stage.
NIGO linked up with some of his friends in rap to release I Know NIGO back in March. With standout acts like Pharrell, ASAP Rocky, Teriyaki Boyz, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Uzi Vert, and more involved, the project felt like a wholesome Friendsgiving; the whole fam was back together. Tyler and Rocky hopped on the same track for the first time since their 2018 song “Potato Salad,” the Clipse joined forces once more on “Punch Bowl.” All in all, the album is special because NIGO naturally brings people together; that chemistry carried over into the Convention Center as well.
The show opened with a tribute sizzle reel of different culture-shifters discussing how NIGO impacted their life and the space we all operate in. “For me, there was no one like NIGO,” the late Virgil Abloh says in one of the clips in the video, which also included words from ASAP Rocky, Pharrell, Pusha-T, and more. “He helped us understand how luxury can relate to a new generation.”
Once the reel concluded, “The General” rose from the smoke behind his cloud-shaped DJ booth and began spinning some of his most classic tracks. The Teriyaki Boyz then followed him and delivered some of their staples like “Tokyo Drift.”
After the seasoned group gave NIGO his flowers and left the stage, the producer continued to play tracks from his iconic discography before Ski Mask the Slump God took over. Though Ski Mask wasn’t a part of the project, he still made himself at home during the show and performed fan-favorite songs like “Catch Me Outside” and even previewed a new track.
Pusha-T and No Malice arrived shortly after and put on an absolute clinic in live performing. Push kicked off the duo’s time by running some of the most lethal cuts off his Grammy-nominated album, It’s Almost Dry, including “Brambleton,” “Open Air,” and “Hear Me Clearly” before his brother joined him.
The Clipse haven’t lost a step despite not releasing an album together in over a decade. After celebrating 20 years of Lord Willin and another project hopefully on the way, the duo performed “Punch Bowl” off I Know NIGO, as well as classic cuts for the OG fans like “What Happened To That Man,” “Mr. Me Too,” and “Grindin,” of course—all while sweating profusely, as real spitters do.
Their familial chemistry is still as palpable as it was when the group formed three decades ago, with the two showmen bouncing off of each other and feeding the crowd with their energy and emphatic delivery.
With the crowd primed, Kodak Black bopped onto the stage and was in the mood to interact with the crowd as he made sure every attendee in the audience knew how to “slide” to “Super Gremlin.” Despite the stark contrast between Kodak and Clipse’s music, the transition from one to the other felt natural. Putting a new chain on mid-performance, Yak made sure everyone felt at home, even dapping up fans and signing things that were being tossed on stage—including a $100 dollar bill that someone gave him for some reason.
I Know NIGO also featured a posthumous song from the late great Pop Smoke, and NIGO and Steven Victor made sure to pay homage to the New York drill legend by playing a tribute video between performances. The video acted as Pop Smoke’s set, with the music videos for “Got It On Me” and “Dior” playing in full on the big screen. “Long Live Pop Smoke” sprawled the massive monitor behind the DJ booth to end the moment.
Then, it was time to rock as Lil Uzi Vert electrified the ComplexCon stage. After running through his essentials like “XO Tour Lif3” and his I Know NIGO cut “Heavy,” he shook the arena with his new smash hit, “Just Wanna Rock.” Uzi has clearly been spending time in Jersey as we heard the Philly rapper bust out his best Jersey club dance moves. He then ran the song back three times in a row like he was performing “N***as in Paris” on the Watch The Throne Tour. Uzi was dialed in and delivered one of the best performances of the night—Jheri curl and all.
It’s usually difficult to juggle the egos of several massive artists on an album, let alone have them all perform on the same stage in one day, but that’s one of NIGO’s superpowers. He’s able to bring out the best in every artist he works with while still being able to balance their strengths and make sure that everyone gets their time in the sun. Throughout the entire I Know NIGO ComplexCon show, it never felt like one artist was overpowering another with their successive performances. They were all headliners tonight—and that’s, in large part, because of NIGO. And after that show, it feels like we know NIGO, too.