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Rap Concerts Aren't Selling Out

With the pandemic being over for a couple of years now, artists touring all over the world have been more prevalent than ever in 2023. We have major stars like Taylor Swift and Drake touring all over North America right now with, Drake in arenas and Taylor Swift in stadiums. They are doing their tours with sold-out crowds, but a scary trend has been happening with the rappers canceling their shows or just not being able to sell tickets.

First, we take a look at Lil Baby, who is about to embark on his It's Only Us Tour, which is set to start on July 26th. Lil Baby and his special guests Glorilla, Rylo Rodriguez, Gloss Up, and Hunxho are going on an arena tour. It came out that Lil Baby and his team canceled seven shows and it was also seen that The Kid LAROI would not be joining them on tour anymore. Whether these two instances were related is unknown. The first problem with this is that these rappers aren't as popular as social media says. Lil Baby shouldn't be doing arena shows, while he could get to that level later on in his career, he's not there right now. The prices for the It's Only Us Tour were also considered by some to be too expensive for their taste. Rappers either have to go to smaller venues or lower their prices to have sold-out shows.

Shows Lil Baby canceled:

  • Phoenix (August 1)

  • Sacramento (August 9)

  • Salt Lake City (August 14)

  • Denver (August 15)

  • Pittsburgh (September 5)

  • Indianapolis (September 6)

  • Louisville (September 8)

Lil Baby performing at Fanatics event
via Mike Coppola / Getty Images for Fanatics

Next, we got the news that Lil Durk had canceled most of his Sorry for the Drought Tour. While it has been reported that he was sick and very dehydrated, that was cited as the reason why he had to cancel most of this tour. The only two shows that stayed on for his tour were two shows at the United Center in his hometown of Chicago. Why not just cancel every show? It makes me speculate that Lil Durk couldn't sell out the shows outside of his hometown, also falling victim to performing at venues that are too high-capacity for him to sell out. Cut half of these venues' capacity in half and they would be able to sell out these shows. The story that he is dehydrated and exhausted could be true, but it all seems like this will be a trend for a lot of rappers who think they are more popular than they are.

Lil Durk's Sorry for the Drought Tour poster
via Sorry for the Drought Tour

The next rapper that may fall victim to this could be Playboi Carti, though we will have to give tickets more time to sell because they went live last week. It's not looking good right now for this tour though, where he can't sell out any of the actual seats in these 18,000+ capacity arenas. You can go to Ticketmaster and look at any Carti show that is supposed to happen on his Antagonist tour. Carti should've booked venues that were more optimized for moshing, so having more floor and fewer seats. The openers are people on his label, like Ken Carson, Destroy Lonely, and Homixide Gang. Those 3 rappers are pretty much unknown at this moment to the general public, so why did they believe that they could sell arenas? It seems like 75% of seats are still available in all of the arenas where he's expected to perform at.

Playboi Carti's seating chart for his Denver show
via Ticketmaster

Travis Scott is expected to release Utopia and just released "K-POP," which features Bad Bunny and The Weeknd. In the music video for "K-POP," you can see the words "Utopia Stadium Tour Rehearsal." I believe this is a big mistake if he is going to go on a full-on stadium tour, as Travis Scott, while being a very popular artist, is not popular enough to sell out stadiums, as many are not capable of that. Drake, who is the genre's most-known artist, isn't doing stadiums, as he opted for multiple dates in arenas instead. Travis either has to block some of the stadium off or just go the Drake route.

This just furthers the point I made in my article, where I talk about how mainstream rap has fallen off and has been declining in popularity in the last few years. If you are not an A-list rapper, you are not going to sell out an arena. Hopefully, when these rappers' next tour comes around, they will evaluate and accept that smaller venues will be the way to go. You'd rather have a sold-out show than see half the seats empty. Not many rappers can sell out arenas, it's easily less than 10.

Rappers that can sell out an arena:

  • Drake

  • Eminem

  • Kanye West

  • J. Cole

  • Kendrick Lamar

  • Travis Scott


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