Few things blend more perfectly than an afternoon spent poolside, free-flowing mezcal, and the warmth of Blxst’s nostalgic, R&B-tinged production. On April 16, the Los Angeles native proved as much when he hit the Creator House stage to deliver a string of hits from his critically acclaimed quarantine care package, No Love Lost.
Once the mellow guitar strums of “Wrong or Right” enveloped the ARRIVE hotel pool deck, the audience inched closer and closer to the stage. For those who knew Blxst before the Meta-sponsored day party, it was likely the last opportunity they’d get to watch him perform within arm’s reach before his rising profile precludes him from such intimate stages. For party goers who were new to the fan club, a collective “eureka” moment ensued as they were finally able to put a face to the lyrics they’d undoubtedly heard at day parties, barbecues, and on Instagram Feeds throughout last summer.
As Blxst worked his way through fan favorites like “Searching” and “Got it All,” the crowd’s energy rose along with their responsiveness. Blxst capitalized on the moment by coaxing his day one fans. “How many of y’all know No Love Lost word for word?” he probed. On command, those closest to the stage answered the call with a communal cheer before Blxst responded in kind by throwing on a personal NLL favorite, “Be Alone.”
Once the velvety sample, pulled from Aaliyah’s classic “I Don’t Wanna,” rang out, the audience came together in a collective two-step. The song is a perfect example of what makes Blxst’s sound so infectious. By the time he’s put his contemporary west coast spin on a ’90s classic, the resulting record guarantees to tug at your heartstrings and move your feet all in one fell swoop.
But that’s not to say that the strength of his catalog lies solely in the samples. For his next trick, Blxst jumped into “Gang Slide,” a wholly original track that pushed the crowd from steady cheers to a resounding scream once the song’s opening synths blared from the speakers. From there, the crowd’s choice became a binary one. Those who were consumed by the moment danced, while others decided to commemorate it, forming a wall of cell phones near the front of the stage to share FOMO-inducing IG Stories.
As the daytime set came to a head, Blxst would lean on some of the strongest tracks from his Billboard-charting breakout project. On “Pressure,” he delivered a rare but welcomed rap verse, kicking off the section with a bar that’s taken on a life of its own since the release of NLL’s deluxe edition. “Ayy, I ain’t heard one bad Blxst song.”
At that moment, his confidence could only be matched by his background singer, Cheyenne Wright. Positioned just behind Blxst’s right shoulder, she delivered a series of jaw-dropping runs over the song’s hook, and, for just a moment, she stole the audience’s gaze. Even Blxst took the time to bask in her vocal exploits, shouting her out by name before reclaiming the spotlight to move into the show’s final phase.
To bring it home, he opted for the airy bounce of his Ty Dolla $ign-assisted hit “Chosen.” The crowd was back in motion, and the perfect poolside vibe was reestablished. Blxst looked out over the crowd from behind his Palm Angels shades with the air of an artist that has mastered his craft, though he’s only just getting started. Throughout his 25-minute set, one thing became abundantly clear; there are many Coachella weekend performances ahead in Blxst’s future though the stages will undoubtedly be much larger.
He is taking the baton from Destiny Rogers and will star in the upcoming Behind the Creator episodes. Fans will glimpse behind-the-scenes moments leading up to the melodic rapper’s Rolling Stone Live performance as a part of our day-in-the-life Reels series launched at SXSW in partnership with Meta. Don’t miss the first Behind the Creator episode featuring Blxst on Saturday, April 30th.