The scene before last Saturday night's show at the Joy was calmer than you might expect.
On October 26, Ski Mask the Slump God’s Stokeley Tour came to New Orleans for a performance at the Joy Theatre. Danny Towers, a Puerto Rican rapper and MC hailing out of Florida, opened alongside DJ Scheme with fan favorites “How You Feel?” and “Motel Hell.” Towers’ act ended with “Trauma” and a proper mosh pit as the Joy reached about half of its maximum capacity.
After my photographer took pictures in the photo pit, a tour manager introduced himself as Kody and led us backstage. Kody explained that we could take headshots of Danny Towers after his performance and might get the chance to take headshots of the other rappers as well.
After my photographer took headshots of Danny Towers, we were told we could come back after Pouya (real name Kevin Pouya, also a Florida rapper) did his set and got offstage.
Pouya did his thing and the mostly Gen. Z crowd seemed to enjoy it. Saturday night’s show had a pretty even mix of men and women; I thought there would be fewer women in attendance due to charges of gang rape and sexual assault that were filed last year against Pouya by a twentysomething tattoo artist. However, the Stokeley Tour is for Ski Mask, not Pouya, and fans weren't skipping him in protest.
Pouya’s only public response to last year’s report has come through a spokesperson and a deleted tweet, screenshots of which are below.
Backstage with Kevin Pouya, my photographer took headshots while I interviewed the 25-year-old from Miami, Florida.
In the interview, I tried to get him to address the charges, but Pouya didn’t take a swing at me or the question, choosing instead to let his previous comments on the matter as they stand, though he does say that the charges against him have been dropped.
After Pouya shut down the interview, Kody brought my photographer and I to the Joy’s Green Room to take pictures of Ski Mask the Slump God before he went on stage. The room wasn’t the picture of debauchery that I was expecting. There wasn't a girl in sight and I thought there'd be more drugs than Hennessy and a quarter ounce of weed. If Ski Mask used to live the trap lifestyle, he certainly doesn’t have to anymore. When I entered, he sat on a couch in the corner and smoked a Newport. Sitting to his right was the Philharmonik, a R&B/Future Soul musician. The two were friendly, with Ski Mask giving him a hug and complimenting his sound.
Since the room wasn’t open to an interview, I found myself bored after the initial 30 seconds of being starstruck wore off. My interest was piqued when Ski Mask’s security team chatted cordially about DaBaby’s security knocking a girl unconscious at the Freewater Block Party about a month previously, mostly because I covered that here. After Ski Mask finished his 'Port and a member of his entourage finished rolling a Backwood, my photographer and I accompanied Ski Mask onto the stage and took pictures from behind his performance.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t aware at first that we were also in the presence of Denzel Curry in the Green Room and on stage. While he certainly had the shiniest teeth in the room, he didn’t appear on the lineup for the Stokeley Tour and did not perform a set on Saturday night. However, fans called Curry’s name from the crowd when he took the stage behind Ski Mask as the headliner did his thing.
Ski Mask’s set concluded with customary tributes to XXXTentacion and a stint surfing the crowd.
Fans mobbed the rappers as the Stokeley Tour filed into the tour bus, not a single groupie in tow.