Key Glock’s Juxtaposition of Unhinged Antics and Wholesome Sentiments

Associate Arts Editor Lainey Gregory covers Key Glock’s show at Radius Chicago as a part of his 2023 Glockoma Tour.


Lainey Gregory

On March 23, American rapper Markeyvius LaShun Cathey, better known as Key Glock, stopped at Radius Chicago on his 2023 Glockoma Tour.

By Lainey Gregory, Associate Arts Editor

On March 23, American rapper Markeyvius LaShun Cathey, better known as Key Glock, stopped at Radius Chicago on his 2023 Glockoma Tour. The 25-year-old performer, hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, distinguishes himself through his raw lyrics and hard-working attitude, qualities that have contributed to his meteoric rise to popularity. In his music, Cathey tells an honest and authentic account of his rise to fame and isn’t afraid to talk about the trials of his past. In 2021, Young Dolph, Cathey’s mentor and friend, suddenly passed away. Cathey has since recounted his grieving process in his single “Proud” as a part of record label Paper Route Empire’s compilation album Long Live Young Dolph, released in 2022. Cathey has managed to relate to his large and diverse fan base because of his ability to stay true to his identity and pursue his passions in the face of a harsh reality.

The high ceilings of Radius Chicago’s hall were filled with smoke of questionable origin, which foretold the antics of the audience. The night began with openers Jay Fizzle, Kenny Muney, and TiaCorine. Rappers Jay Fizzle and Kenny Muney are both signed to Paper Route Empire, and their lyrics echo Cathey’s sentiment of hard work and honesty. The admiration and respect that the artists had for each other was obvious, and it made the show feel somewhat like a Paper Route Empire family reunion. It was a wholesome gathering of artists banding together to create music simply for the love of it.

TiaCorine, also known as FreakyT…radiated a confident and fun energy. (Lainey Gregory)

The third and final opener, TiaCorine, also known as FreakyT, was seemingly the odd one out, being the only artist of the night not signed by Paper Route Empire. Throughout her performance, she radiated a confident and fun energy; in an effort to engage with the crowd, Corine stepped to the front of the stage during her final song and was pulled over the rails by the audience. She seemed a bit shaken but was thankfully unhurt. The absurdity of this incident set the tone for the rest of the show and guided my attention toward the most entertaining and unhinged aspect of the concert: the audience.

When Cathey finally emerged on stage, everyone went ballistic. The screens behind him flashed images of fire, wads of cash, and yellow police tape. The stage lights illuminated a giant white Astroworld-like statue of Cathey’s face at the center of the stage, smiling down at the crowd. He opened with “Chromosomes,” “Bottom of the Pot,” and “Hot,” and it was difficult to tell when one song ended and the other began as the songs bled into each other. Within five minutes, the first three songs were already over. It often felt as if Cathey was rushing to get through his set as quickly as possible.

Throughout the show, Cathey periodically paused his performance for a few minutes to allow E.M.S. workers to tend to passed out audience members. The heat of the pit was starting to get to me, so I made my way toward the back of the venue to get some air. Suddenly, I felt a strange pain on my shoulder, and turned, only to see that some of my hair was on fire. I quickly patted it out and assessed the damage—thankfully I only lost a little bit of hair. Thinking back, someone was probably too careless with a lighter. With the previous events of the night and now this, I laughed at the bizarre nature of the show and continued making my way toward the back of the venue. Security truly had their work cut out for them that night; I watched them continually escort unruly audience members toward the exits so that the show could continue without further disruption. I was surprised to find out that the event was open to all ages—some concertgoers had their toddlers in tow—although I personally wouldn’t recommend bringing your kids to see Key Glock.

I turned my attention back to the show, where Cathey continued with some of his biggest hits such as “Word on the Streets,” “100 Shots,” and “Mr. Glock.” Despite a few disruptions, I had a great time watching the audience engage with the music. The crowd very clearly connected with the music, screaming every word to even the lesser-known songs. In between songs, Cathey would scream “long live Dolph” into the microphone, which was echoed by the crowd, before continuing on with his set. It was obvious that Cathey cared deeply about his mentor as he mourned the loss of Young Dolph openly with the audience. The crowd knew all of his lyrics by heart, screaming Cathey’s words back to him the whole night. The raw emotional connection that Cathey shares with his audience is what sets him apart from other artists. Surpassing my expectations, the wild rap concert was much more than just a show. It was a celebration of life, art, and hard-earned success.