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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Rap mixed with comedy chaos: Zack Fox in Amsterdam

Rap+mixed+with+comedy+chaos%3A+Zack+Fox+in+Amsterdam
Rumsha Siddiqui

Beginning with a 17-show North American leg, Zack Fox kicked off his tour in October and eventually brought his music and humor to the Netherlands, promising “songs, jokes, and special guests.”

Known for his eccentric social media personality, Atlanta-based comic and musician Fox stunned the crowd at the sold-out Tolhuistuin nightclub in Amsterdam on Nov. 24. Fans erupted in laughter and sang along during his short but sweet set.

Best described as a comic at the intersection of visual art, rap music, and internet culture, Fox has made a name for himself in the underground, rap-centric art scene with hilarious lyrics and collaborations from impressive producers like Kenny Beats, BNYX, and The Alchemist. 

Some recognize Fox from his role as Tariq on the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” Others may know him as the talent behind the viral 2019 song “Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression).” Fox’s cult following appreciates his niche humor regardless of how they know him. 

What immediately set this show apart from other concerts I’ve been to was the pre-show, which was literally just a screening of John Singleton’s 2001 film “Baby Boy.” Yes, this man had us watching an entire movie anticipating what was to come. The crowd was initially confused, but they just rolled with it. Many fans took pictures of the screen and took to Twitter, saying things like this: “Zack Fox playing Baby Boy pre-concert again. This man is unserious in its highest form.”

For the first opening act, DJ Sky Jetta set the tone right off the bat. Fans were dancing and singing along to her set which included hype rap songs like Baby Keem’s “trademark usa” and Kendrick Lamar’s “m.A.A.d city.” After playing a few songs, she introduced the clever and assertive DEELA, who performed an electrifying set with a fusion of trap and hip-hop. They did a great job of exciting the crowd before the main attraction.

Following the opening acts, Fox led a guided meditation with ambient music, setting the stage for a unique concert experience.

After calming everyone’s nerves, Fox performed songs from his 2021 debut album “shut the fuck up talking to me” and his 2022 EP “wood tip” with smooth beats, humor, and an aggressive flow. Overall, his rap projects have interesting stylistic decisions as he cracks jokes while pulling influence from southern and west-coast rap.

Between songs, Fox performed unhinged stand-up comedy bits while playing surreal synth music. Perhaps the most memorable anecdote Fox shared was about the time he was high on ketamine at a party in Los Angeles. When former First Daughter Malia Obama walked in, he saluted her and was curious why no one else at the party thought to do the same.

Some of the comedy relied on audience participation and crowd work, taking advantage of the cultural differences between him and his Dutch audience to improvise material. Fox alluded to the fact that the Netherlands is considered progressive, prompting an audience member to inform him about the recent election of the far-right Geert Wilders. After making a controversial joke, Wilders filed a complaint against Fox, though in the moment, the crowd cheered at his satire.

The show closed out with a performance of “Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression)” and fans were passionately belting the absurd lyrics. Imagine a crowd of Dutch people screaming “I’ma dip my balls into some Thousand Island dressing, ’cause I got depression.” It’s more beautiful than you think. Environments like this where the artist has amassed a cult following, make for a strong sense of community.

Fox did not fail to create an immersive experience for the audience. His one motive? To extend joy.

“If your job is to entertain people, that’s the oath we take as entertainers—whether you’re a musician, whether you’re a comedian, whether you’re a stripper—you got to find a way to do that. … What’s your excuse to not extend joy,” Fox said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Pulling off an energetic concert with a side of stand-up comedy is not an easy task, but it was something that Fox was able to seamlessly pull off during his one-hour set.

Fox certainly exceeded my expectations with his on-stage presence. For only 21 euros, I was able to see the performance of a lifetime—a combination of stand-up and rap mixed with pure chaos. Fox’s show proved he is a jack-of-all-trades. While this tour has concluded, I look forward to seeing what he has in store for his fans in the future.

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About the Contributor
Rumsha Siddiqui, Sports Editor
Rumsha Siddiqui (she/her) is a journalism major from upstate New York. She currently serves as the Sports Editor and previously served as Staff Writer and Kasteel Well Bureau Chief. Rumsha is passionate about writing about the Boston Celtics and offering commentary and criticism on film, television, and music.
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