Went to the Jay-Z concert in Charlottesville this weekend. Some of you may have caught the live blogging via Dee Jekyll’s Twitter site. Seeing that motivated me to get my own Twitter page, which I wasn’t really up on. Now I’m up like a pilot OD’ing on Viagra over the Rocky Mountains while doing jumping jacks. The link: twitter.com/seven3zero.
Anyway, the Jay show was crazy. I had never seen him live before and he really can hold his own onstage, which I really can’t say for a lot of the recording legends I’ve seen live. Too often the rappers I’ve thought would be awesome showed up way late, were usually drunker than Joe Namath and stumbled through their lyrics the way all these “retro” rappers are stumbling through their sexuality. Tight jeans do not a dope rapper make.
Jay played for well over an hour, even going into three verses on a lot of his songs like “P.S.A.” and “You Don’t Know” and a ton of others. How’s that for cutting edge description? Jay only stopped for water once and kept a crowd that was there more for T.I. engaged, which is not an easy task to pull off.
I could go on and on about how live Jigga’s show was but you already know that. Some of the wackness that took place that night:
Santogold – How this person got a deal is beyond me. What’s even more beyond me is the fact that someone listened to her music straight through and didn’t send the CD flying into orbit. The songs she performed were similar to what you’d expect if you stuck Soulja Boy and your two year-old in a room with a set of drums and a loud, loud keyboard. Santogold was stressing to the audience that she was making songs “for the future.” I got news for you, Santogold, the future is here and it’s not looking good. I really have no idea how she snuck into the building and how the DJ was actually nodding his head while playing her music, but somehow she pulled off the ultimate heist at the expense a lot of innocent people’s ears.
Santogold’s dancers – They stood there for this one song with these tambourines looking like they were ready for war. Sounded more forced than a fat dude on the toilet after eating a block of cheddar cheese. And yes, there’s nothing worse than being in a public restroom, trying to get in and out as fast as possible, and hearing some dude grunting and groaning in one of the stalls.
T.I.’s pseudo-hypemen – This was perhaps the worst part of T.I.’s set next to his awkward playlist that stumbled more than a stumbling stumbler. There were two clowns standing on the stage far enough away to be out of the way of his real hypemen but not far enough back to where they couldn’t be seen by everybody. These two herbs stood there and shout out T.I.’s lyrics like they were their lyrics, throwing their hands into it and everything. It was really a site to see and if they weren’t so real about it it wouldn’t be such a sad and pathetic story. If you’re not important enough to be given a microphone but you still try to stand onstage and “look important,” then you are a loser and life has no place for you. Sorry.
T.I.’s text messenger – This dude came out and stood next to the DJ for most of T.I.’s set, showing as much emotion as a German shit fetish video. Word to Immortal Technique for that one. This dude just stood there as the crowd was bouncing all over the place to hits like “You Don’t Know Me” and “Bring ‘Em Out.” This emotionless man stood in plain view of everyone and pulled out whatever text messaging device he had and sent a ton of text messages while T.I. was running around trying to decide what article of clothing he should take off next. Stay off the stage if you are not an MC, DJ, member of the band or hypeman.
T.I.’s DJ – I don’t know who it was. Maybe I should. But all I remember is there was no scratching or cutting up of records taking place and that’s just unacceptable for an artist of T.I.’s magnitude.
Paper Trail – Not really feeling the album but T.I. is so that meant we got a lot of songs off the new disc. Why is T.I. so paranoid on Paper Trail? Throughout the album he throws the verbal middle finger up at all the people he presumes are not fond of his success and would like to see him rot in jail. I don’t want to be the one to break this to T.I. or anyone else who comes with that whole “me against the world” stance, but not everyone is out to get you. Sometimes you just make bad choices and are then held accountable for your bad choices. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m too busy trying to get what I’m doing straightened out that I don’t have any leftover time or energy to spend worrying about what someone else is doing. Worrying about someone else’s successes and failures is the perfect diversion to cover up your own insecurities, as is assuming everyone else is hating on you and doesn’t want to see you in a new McClaren. And just a sidenote – wouldn’t you kind of feel like an asshole driving around in one of those cars when you know so many people are barely able to put a gallon of gas in their ’91 Subaru? Maybe I’m just weird like that.
One song I’m really not feeling off Paper Trail primarily for the sample choice is “Live Your Life,” which samples O Zone’s “Dragostea Din Tei.” One reason I can’t take the song too seriously, despite some lyrics that get kind of heavy, is because of this kid:
All in all I wasn’t shedding any tears when T.I.’s set ended, although his set wasn’t that terrible. It was actually fairly decent, there’s just some things going on around T.I. that I think he needs to fix to tighten up his stage show because I walked away that night impressed by Jay-Z, kind of satisfied by T.I. and horrified by Santogold.
And T.I., I know you’re working hard out there, but you should have been in the ballgame. You’re out there rapping your tail off and the hanger-ons are screwing it up!
If you ever get the chance to see Shawn Carter live, do like Dilla says and Pay Jay. Also I’m kind of proud of myself for getting through the entire column without a single Tubgirl reference. That just means I’ll have to explode with some like Tubgirl…I tried.