Pic Property of Rap-Up
More than anything else on Christmas Eve, I wanted to walk out of the home of the Golden State Warriors able to affirm everything Wayne has boasted from being the best rapper alive to the embodiment of music itself. I’ve seen Jay-Z in his prime, Big Daddy Kane years past his but still raw as ever, and James Taylor rock an arena with a guitar and microphone. I know what great is. Don’t get me wrong, Weezy did his thing but as a whole the show failed from trying to do too much. With such a broad audience it would be hard to please everyone, but put it this way the Bald Bull looking motherfucker in front of me was up and buck through “The Block Is Hot” but in the heat of all the teenage screams he was fast alseep. True story.
The selfish rap fan in me wanted all the classics and as little R&B collaborations as possible. What we got was one song that pre-2005 Dwayne (“The Block Is Hot”), a pinch of Tha Carter II, and an equal amount Tha Carter III and guest collaborations including a lip-syncing Keri Hilson and momentum-slowing Young Money roster. When Weezy was on, he was on it though, doing what few rappers do by playing through a song’s entirety and not forgetting the words along the way.
Maybe I was taking it too serious, but it was the little things that ruined it for me. For one, when you stop the show, sit on a stool and have someone bring a guitar to you, I expect you to play it, especially when you’re billing the show as “I Am Music.” And when your DJ plays a medley of your rawer songs (“Go DJ”) and you’re backstage changing into your “Lollipop” outfit, that shit is not crackin’. Constantly bringing people out takes away from who people came to see — you. As little as a detail as it may be, playing “Swagger Like Us” and then later gazing towards the rafters behind sunglasses with a blissful smile like Stevie said it was cool, it doesn’t convince me.
Of course, this is just another opinion that will be branded as a hater, but this opinion isn’t just a radiohead with the fuffly wool of Pop over my eyes. I can’t be fooled by dumb shit, and when you say you’re the best, I don’t expect to see or hear anything less. In the end, the little things amounted to a street full of speed bumps; mash the gas, pump the brake. I reverted back to a teen year during “Mr. Carter” but was back to my cynical twenty-six year old self for “Turning Me On.”
On another note, I tip a top-hat to T-Pain for knowing that for him it’s all about the show and not the music. Dude had midgets, fire dancers, inflatable stage props and even made an appearance on a segue during Wayne’s set. He took every opportunity not to sing, and instead to gig out with his crew of face-painted dancers. He did take a second to put down the auto-tuned mic and sit behind the piano to flex some musicianship, but before long it was back to ‘show.’ The people loved it, and shit, I had a smile on the whole time. Thr33 Ringz couldn’t have been a more fitting title.
And, oh yeah, Keyshia was phenomenal too.