Oklahoma City rapper Jabee Williams announced he will perform an intimate, socially distanced concert Oct. 17 at Oklahoma City’s Tower Theatre.
Throughout his career, Williams has been a vocal social activist in Oklahoma — speaking on behalf of the Black community through his music and bringing awareness to the story of death row inmate and former OU student Julius Jones. His most recent album was a continuation of this activism as he explored themes of racial injustice using his life as a canvas.
Williams said most of his supporters saw him live first, which is why he intentionally considered how songs from his new album would translate on stage as he recorded. COVID-19 canceled his plans for a release show — preventing him from showcasing the songs he has worked on for the past three years.
He said waiting to share his music was difficult, but he feels blessed to now have the opportunity to perform at the Tower Theatre in front of a live audience.
“The live show experience is always better than hearing it … (because) I’m able to connect with the crowd really well,” Williams said. “I feel like my album is good and a live version of it is going to be even better.”
The concert, Williams said, will be more of a production than a performance. He said there will be harpists and guest emcees, video and film footage to compliment his performance and an art installation similar to the one he released in June — all in the hopes of making the performance more interactive.
To accommodate concertgoers, Williams said the Tower Theatre will cap at around 20 percent capacity with a max of 204 people. He said the tables will be spread out, chairs will be six feet apart and masks will be required.
“I think it is cool that even though it has been so long since I've been able to do a show, people are still excited and … want to come,” Williams said. “People (are) more excited because they want to get out and do something different.”
Through the pandemic, Williams said he has experienced blessings, as his album reached No. 3 on the iTunes Hip-Hop Chart. He said he is thankful for the ways people have supported him while in quarantine.
“To reach number three and stay there for a couple of days, as well as a few weeks in the top ten, is mind-blowing to me,” Williams said. “It is, quite honestly, one of the highlights of my career.”
Williams said he is excited to share his music with fans in a live setting and he hopes he can convey the passion he has for both his work and supporters.
“I hope to just let (fans) see that nothing has changed — I am still who I am and I still love performing,” Williams said. “I understand where we are in the world … and, because of that, I am going to go the extra mile (with this performance). I appreciate everyone who has been there for me.”