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Celebrity Overload: My Experience Backstage at Big Seans Album Release

We arrive at the beginning of DJ Mustard‘s set. I’ve got a bag full of tiny paintings I made for the show. They are all Big Sean or DJ Mustard related (see picture below). I plan to hand them out to people in the audience. Why you ask? Just because. When we walk in, Mustard is bumping Dr. Dre‘s Next Episode. The bass is so loud, yet so perfect. I always need a drink the minute I get to a concert, this concert was no different. Mustard plays a couple of his jammers like Paranoid and Rack City. Next thing you know, Ty Dolla $ign runs on stage and they jump right into their songs together, which is practically every Ty Dolla $ign song because he only uses DJ Mustard beats. They perform Down On Me from DJ Mustard‘s album. They perform a few more songs including Or Nah?, one of the biggest rap songs in 2014.

DJ Mustard brought out YG of course. No surprise there. He also brought out Casey Veggies, who is pretty new to the rap scene. You’ll be hearing more about him in 2015. Just when I thought Mustard was done bringing out guests, he brings out the prince of rap (circa 2003) Fabolous. They perform 4 Digits. The song is about your iPhone lock codes and how “she wont ever get them 4 digits” to unlock his phone. I’m sure that song hits home with a lot of you.

As I am handing out paintings, a stranger taps me on the shoulder and points “Look! There’s JLo!” He points to the upper VIP section. There she was dancing with Demi Lovato, wearing a Hawaiian style bucket hat and some kind sports bra top. Then the stranger pointed to the other side of the VIP section “And there is Kendall and Kylie Jenner.” After seeing all those people up there, It was time for me to get up there too.

The minute I hit the top VIP area, I see the rapper Casey Veggies to my left. We look at each other and I say in a stern voice “Casey Veggies. Huge fan and (dramatic pause) …I respect what you do.” I put my hand out to shake his and he shakes my hand firmly. I’m not sure why I talked to him like a war veteran or a fire fighter. Maybe it was because of the $11 tall cans of PBR I drank during DJ Mustard‘s set.

I continued to walk around the VIP section, I hear a guy speak into his walkie talkie “Kanye is in the green room.” My mouth drops. Kanye West is here. I rush to the nearest crowd of regular people and blurt out “Kanye is here. I just heard the security guard say it!” It quickly spreads around the crowd surrounding me.

As I was waiting for Kanye to get on stage, J.Cole walks through the crowd. I say “J.Cole! Born Sinner was my album. I loved that shit. Let me get a pic!” He told me that he didn’t have time because he was going to the stage to perform. No problem. People gotta do their jobs, I understand.

J.Cole gets up there and does his thing. Big Sean performs a few more songs and then they throw on Mercy and the place goes nuts. A cloud of fog fills the stage and boom. IT’S KANYE WEST. Obviously the pair are killing it on stage. My view of Kanye was blocked by some big guy. I look to my left and Afrojack is standing next to me. I clear my throat loudly and say “Excuse me, Mr. Jack. your view of Kanye is better than mine. Can you please use my phone and take a picture?” He agrees and takes my phone and snaps a couple of pictures for me and hands me back my phone (see picture below)

A while later, I try to hand JLo one of my business cards “From one Lopez to another.” but security wasn’t having that. Pretty sure she had the secret service as security.

Still watching Kanye and Big Sean, I see J.Cole again. He is surrounded by people. I tell him “I’m still gonna need that pic.” He says he can’t. I’m denied by J.Cole twice in one night. Feeling sorry for myself, I decide its time to go backstage.

While walking through the hallway of the backstage area, I see Chris Brown walking down the hall towards me. I say as he gets closer “What?! Chris Brown is here too!” and I pat his back as he walks past me. I’m sure he was baffled by who I was and why I was touching him. In the words of Chris Brown‘s mortal enemy, Drake “YOLO.”

Tyga comes down the hall, quickly trying to catch up with Chris Brown. Now I put my hand on Tyga‘s shoulder as he passes by and say “And now Tyga is here!! Ooooweeee this is a party now!” They both looked creeped out/awkwardly at each other and walked away. Nailed it. Pretty sure they wanna party with me now.

Big Sean performs Unreleased Track HERE

I go up the stairs towards the stage and it is filled with people watching Big Sean. I’m left at the bottom of the stairs because it was so packed. I was turned around and checking my phone. I hear a loud “Get out of the way!” I turn around and it’s Kanye West. I sputter out but saying it sincerely “Oh shit. I’m in Kanye‘s way. My bad.” I step out of the way but not before we lock eyes. It was only for a second as he continued to walk through the hall. He puts his head down and pops his sweatshirt hood up.

After Kanye leaves, the stairwell clears and I move closer to the stage. Now I’m standing next to Ty Dolla $ign. I get pushed to the side a little bit and it’s DJ Mustard. He steps in front of me and Ty, totally blocking our view of the stage (see picture below). Eventually Mustard and Ty move closer to the stage. It is time for Big Sean‘s biggest hit, IDFWU (check performance here), the stage is rushed by every rapper in attendance minus Kanye. The song kills and the audience is with them the whole time. The energy is so real. All of these rappers jumping around singing my favorite song of 2014. It was glorious.

After the song, everyone from the stage starts to file out. I’m standing there against the wall of the hallway staring at everyone as they walk by. Probably looking creepy when I was trying to look sexy. Down the stairs and walking towards me is Justin Bieber. Not sure what I was thinking ($11 PBR tall cans) but as Bieber walks by me, I say loudly “I got that Bieber fever bay-bayyyyyyy! I should’ve asked you for a pic!” He continues to walk away and then suddenly stops and walks swiftly up to me, grabs my phone from my hand, slides the camera on and takes the pic of us. I say “Thank you.” He said “No problem.”


Still standing there in a Bieber induced coma, Big Sean walks from the stage area. He is shirtless and sweaty. I said “Big Sean!! I made a bunch of tiny paintings having to do with you and Dj Mustard. I was handing them out to fans in the crowd.” He asked if I had any of the paintings left. I wasn’t sure so I checked my bag and I had one left. It was one of his name. Thank you to the rap gods for hooking me up with the perfect painting out of the collection to give to him. He stared at it for a second, laughed and put it in his pocket. As he was walking away, I said “I can see your titties.” I mean, because he was shirtless and all.

I thought my night was over. I followed the rest of the VIP crowd out. We walked through the dressing room area and I got to see in a few. Big Sean‘s door was closed. I wonder if Ariana Grande was in there. I decide to have a cigarette outside the of the dressing rooms. I’m standing there enjoying my cigarette when J.Cole walks out from the door. We looked at each other and laughed. Clearly fate wanted us to take that damn picture whether he liked it or not. He reached out to shake my hand and asked my name. All I could do was say “I love Born Sinner (his 2013 album.) That is a great album. That was a huge year for rap albums too because Kanye, Jay-Z and Drake all had albums that year. Yours was right up there with them.” He said thank you and asked his friend to take the picture. We took the photo and continued to chat. I kept talking about how much I love Born Sinner. I even sang a few lines in an awkward robot voice trying to mimic the robot-ish voice on Born Sinner. (Reminder: $11 tall cans of PBR.) Shortly after, his possible girlfriend came through the door and said it was time to go. He kissed her head, shook my hand again and I thanked him. I don’t think I ever actually gave him my name.

Now it was time to call a Lyft and get McDonald’s on the way home. Celebrity overload was starting to set in. All I could think about was a chicken mcnugget meal with an orange Hi-C and bbq sauce. It was one for the books, folks.

– Written by Vanessa Lopez


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