Hip-hop is no stranger to Las Vegas. In fact, last September, Black Knight and R-Swift held a concert at VBF on Sahara Avenue, as part of the Guerilla Cross ONE80 Concert Series. However, while concerts are occasionally held in various locations, hip hop artists haven’t been known to hold a Las Vegas concert residency, which have traditionally featured pop, rock, and country acts. But things have changed, as Cardi B and Drake, both popular in the hip-hop genre, have attained their own respective concert residencies in Sin City. Cardi B debuted at the Palms Casino Resort’s KAOS nightclub and Drake at the XS Night Club.
What It All Means
Cardi B and Drake getting residencies in Sin City is a reflection of their superstar status, as well as the increasing popularity of hip hop as a genre. This is because holding a Las Vegas concert residency is viewed as proof that an artist has made it to a higher level of success. What’s more, artists are pushing the envelope further, according to Concerts West/AEG co-CEO John Meglen. “Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani proved the audience could skew younger,” said Meglen, “and artists like Aerosmith, Van Morrison and Queen + Adam Lambert showed they could skew more rock.” Then, last year, Drake and Cardi B showed that hip hop, too, has a place in the modern Vegas residency scene.
Thus, we should expect that Vegas residencies will feature more of hip hop’s finest moving forward. In fact, there are already rumors that Post Malone might be next. Given Drake and Cardi B’s success last year, as well as the entertainment revival of Sin City, the logical next step is to also give hip-hop artists the chance to “escalate their creative ambition” at the famed “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Look for that to continue this year, and beyond.
A Sign of Changing Times
Cardi B and Drake’s residencies are also indicative of a problem Las Vegas is facing: the declining revenue of the casino industry. Calvin Ayre reports that this decline is due to falling gaming revenue, with year-on-year revenue drops becoming more and more common. A big reason for this is the rise of online gaming, which has been encroaching on the territory once dominated by Sin City. Online poker has cornered a market of players who prefer to play on their smartphones. This has allowed the industry to be much more adaptable to the player’s needs compared to brick and motor casinos. Case in point, progressive gaming giant PPPoker have launched an app that leverages the social aspect of poker. Bago Games discusses how PPPoker is available in over 100 countries, and grew to be a major brand in the online gaming industry within just four years. The online app was able to do this by allowing players to create their own poker clubs and use virtual in–game money. This allowed users to enjoy the experience of playing in a casino without the need to visit one and spend their own funds. In order to combat how online games can target a wide range of different audiences, Vegas has had to adapt to the changing demographics of their customers. And the casino industry is doing this through the residencies of artists like Cardi B and Drake who are able to draw in a younger crowd that have grown up with online entertainment. The success of Cardi B and Drake is exactly the kind of fanfare Vegas needs to continue to thrive. The good news for hip hop is that it will also increase its audience base as more people had the opportunity to watch two of the genres’ biggest names.