When I was younger during the golden years of hip hop all that inspired me in rap was only available in one place: a cassette tape. Last week I caught myself trying to very passionately explain this fact to my 14 year old cousin. A sentence came out of my mouth that started with “When I was young…” and I gasped.. I realized in that moment that two important things had taken place. I have become officially old, and hip hop has become officially BAD. To my left someone overheard me and asked my age to gauge how serious I was about my hip hop, and to better know which artists raised me. We were instantly sharing daps and hugs reminiscing about how you would never hear Wu-Tang clan on the pop radio, how tribe called quest made you get up and bounce, and how only the lost boys could have told you that story about Renee. Memories. How sad it was that gone are the days of jolting your body into motion from simply hearing two simple starting beats (Try me.. Let me know if anything today makes you feel like these songs did. I’m talking to kids who grew up in the 90s right now.) When hip hop had a message, a story of a struggle to tell, and the artists weren’t just puppets of who the suits at the labels want them to be, they were rappers with heartache, not entertainers with a meal ticket.
I was raised with Biggie and Pac. Men who were ahead of their time and left us with timeless hiphop classics. There are few artists like that who we are here today, and even then those artists can only come through, sometimes. Jay-Z has a catalog of solid story telling hip hop jams to rely on, as does Eminem and Nas, and maybe 50 cent. He’s told us before not to forget him and after seeing him live I will now officially include Weezy in that short list.
Last week I caught Lil Wayne’s first concert appearance since his prison sentencing and was accompanied by my 14 year old baby cousin. Lil Wayne put on a respectable classic hip hop show with the ambiance of old school hip hop artists all over it. He respectfully thanked God, and his fans multiple times. He shared his spotlight with his lablemates, and this brings me to my one caveat of his stage performance. Lil Tunechi gets the crowd pumped up with his best songs, tastefully remade with live musicians – guitars, drums, bass, and dj and then all of a sudden the energy of the I am still music tour dies.. and out comes a young, young money artist and Wayne has a backstage nap for an hour. This happened twice and it was a major energy killer of the show. Maybe if Drake came out instead of Nicki Minaj or Shanell It would have maintained the energy in the crowd – yet for some they seemed unaffected…
Nicki Minaj is for the children, because she is in one word: Theatrical. The crowd seemed diversely split in age brackets, those above the age of 18 were there for Wayne and anyone still in high school was there for Nicki. All underage males were simply there to give respect to her fresh butt implants. Nicki Minaj’s performance was utterly and brutally painful to endure. She is Broadway meets nickelodeon, and should never be filed under Hip or Hop but only cheesey Pop-Hop, aka: you will never hold Lil Kim, Mc Lyte, or even Lady Sovereign’s jock. I’d even go so far as to say that Neneh Cherry could take you in her weakest bullafo stance.
I am glad to say that wayne remains an talented and enjoyable rapper. He was an engaging performer, and a real entertainer without any crayola factor involved. If you are a hip hop head and find yourself free you should defiantly check out the show as it rolls through your city and pray that the tour is sans Nicki Threeway and you are lucky enough to get Drake Cakes instead, else bring a deck of cards to entertain yourself during the prolonged Barbie break.
March 26 2011 – Philadelphia PA – Wells Fargo Center PA
March 27 2011 – Uniondale NY – Nassau Coliseum
March 28 2011 – Uniondale NY – Nassau Coliseum
March 30 2011 – University Park PA – Bryce Jordan Center
April 1 2011 – Chicago IL – United Center
April 2 2011 – Auburn Hills MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
April 3 2011 – Washington DC – Verizon Center (Washington DC)
April 6 2011 – Sunrise FL – BankAtlantic Center
April 8 2011 – Greensboro NC – Greensboro Coliseum Complex
April 9 2011 – Atlanta GA – Philips Arena
April 10 2011 – Saint Louis MO – Scottrade Center
April 14 2011 – New Orleans LA – New Orleans Arena
April 15 2011 – Dallas TX – American Airlines Center
April 16 2011 – Houston TX – Toyota Center
April 19 2011 – Phoenix AZ – US Airways Center
April 23 2011 – Anaheim CA – Honda Center
April 24 2011 – Oakland CA – Oracle Arena
April 26 2011 – Sacramento CA – Arco Arena
April 28 2011 – Edmonton AB – Rexall Place
April 29 2011 – Vancouver BC – Rogers Arena
May 1 2011 – East Rutherford, NJ – New Meadowlands Stadium