Complex’s second annual hip-hop music and culture convention, ComplexCon 2017 was an experience like never before.
If you’re a shoe fanatic, you were probably there for exclusive drops from Nike, including the Off-White collection and collaborations with Travis $cott and Rocafella, as well as the LA Union and Air Jordan 1 Top 3 collab. A few other heavy hitters were the Adidas collaborations with N.E.R.D and Pusha T, and the Undefeated’s Nike Air Max 97s.
If you’re not so into shoes and are more of a brand chaser, there were hundreds of clothing brands and other vendors. Some notable companies included Billionaire Boys Club, Big Ballers Brand, Girl’s Don’t Cry, and The Hundreds selling their merch.
Foodies were able to thrive by visiting the various food trucks selling all the food porn eye candy you see on IG. If the arts and conversation panels are more your style, there were discussions with creatives and celebrities sharing their knowledge and insight with all things related to hip-hop and culture.
In just two days, it’s nearly impossible to see it all. Did I mention the crazy amount of celebrities shopping with the “common folk”, and all of the surprise guest performances? Get ready for a wild ride because ComplexCon was LIT.
It was well before dawn when I arrived at the Long Beach Convention Center where ComplexCon is held. The first thing we saw was a line of hundreds of anxious attendants sitting in camping chairs dressed in sweaters and sweatpants and bundled up in blankets. They had been waiting over four hours for the entrance doors to open.
VIP attendants were in luck though! They had early access to all of the exclusive drops and were first to enter the convention an hour before general admission attendants. With VIP access, you were more likely able to receive at least one of your top choices of merchandise.
According to attendees, VIP’s waited over 2 hours because the line was delayed due to fighting, arguing, pushing and shoving. This wasn’t the only line that went crazy on day one though. The Undefeated and Nike lines were both closed by 11:30 am for fighting as well. These hype beasts DON’T PLAY! The melee started outside of the main entrance where restless attendees trampled and knocked over metal detectors at the check-in stations. The VIP and General Admission lines merged, creating chaos and disarray.
This led to the havoc that took place inside, but was thankfully (somewhat) adjusted the following day. The organization, manpower, and security were all beefed up, relieving patrons from injury and frustration. Thankfully, entry was made with ease. The lines were still insanely long, but it was to be expected since the resell value of the shoes were nearly tripling overnight!
The ComplexCon(versations) were definitely one of the best parts of the event. Celebrities gathered within small panels to give a deeper understanding and discussion of subjects strongly pertaining to the culture of hip-hop. Topics ranged from kicks, music, art, the marijuana industry and more.
The discussion that stuck out to me the most was the My Dark Beautiful Twisted Panel. It was here that Complex interviewer, Noah Callahan-Bever, led a discussion on Kanye West’s album My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy. Contributors like Rick Ross, Selita Ebanks, Hype Williams, Mike Dean and Consequence discussed the mindset of Kanye while curating the album. They also touched on the efforts and ideas that took place to help create one of his best albums.
A random, yet interesting fact that was mentioned was that President Trump’s daughter and advisor, Ivanka Trump, contributed to the idea for Kanye West to cast Selita Ebanks as the leading lady, or Sphinx, in his short film Runaway. This film also acted as the music video for the album.
Stars like Nipsey Hussle, Lil Xan, King Trell, Eric Bellinger, Mack Wilds, Zaytoven and a ton more were seen shopping around. Performances from DJ Khaled, Dreezy, and Superduperkyle were on the Pigeons and Planes stage. Surprise guests included the likes of Lil Uzi, G- Eazy, King Combs, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa and Migos. Every single one of these artists shocked the crowd.
ly perform and instead premiered their new album.
Overall, ComplexCon 2017 was an experience like never before. Some of the advice I would give to anyone interested in going next year would be to get VIP and arrive EARLY. General admission got the short end of the stick when it came to the exclusives and received only the scraps from what VIP left for them. VIP got ALL the love.
Now that Complex has built the hype and people are starting to hear more about ComplexCon, the thought is that it can only get bigger and better.