Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
10/30/2003 11:56:47 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Ludacris, 50 Cent and Obie Trice.
Almost every act at Tuesday's WJMN-FM Monster Jam at the FleetCenter is a dominant presence. Just take a look at the top of the pop charts. Chingy, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Fabolous, Obie Trice -- all mega-sellers. So it may attest to the mediocrity of the current hip-hop scene that outside of a delirious set from Ludacris and the solid presence of 50 Cent, the nearly five-hour show was mostly a ho-hum affair.
The night was rescued by Ludacris, who remains one of rap's most vibrant live performers. The Atlanta MC took the show to another level three-quarters of the way in, when he and his crew delivered their Southern fried funk in its greasy extreme. Ludacris, with diamond earrings the size of hubcaps, brought his good-natured, notoriously obscene songs to life with a manic glee.
He dropped tracks such as "Stand Up" from his new "Chicken-N-Beer" disc, as well as hits including "Area Codes" and "Roll Out," keeping the pace quick and frantic. He retrieved Chingy, who was brief and forgettable on his own, for a rowdy take on "Holidae In" and squeezed plenty of juice out of the closing "Move B***h," which capped a loopy set motivated solely by the pleasure principle.
50 Cent managed to strip to his bare chest by the third song of his closing set. Too bad his 40 minutes weren't as muscular as his torso. Oh, he was good, and often inspired given the strength of so many of his songs. But he hasn't developed much stage presence. He recited "In Da Club" as if he were reading the phone directory.
He was augmented by confetti, pyrotechnics, and a Wu-Tang-size crew, which helped. What carried him were the crisp couplets of his sharp songs, a clear-eyed street mentality, and booming beats. Tracks such as "P.I.M.P." and "Gotta Make It to Heaven" were instantly recognizable to the sold-out house and more than enough to rattle the eardrums.
Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz played for 15 minutes, with little impact. The raucous "Get Low" got a sweaty workout, but not much else registered. They are less rappers than proudly profane anthem chanters, and their music, known as crunk, is best heard in clubs.
Fabolous played a few songs from his CD due out next week, as well as tracks such as his hit "This Is My Party." But he and his three-man crew were mostly mundane. The R&B group 112 seemed to be on cruise control through a short set that failed to stir the crowd.
Most disappointing was that Obie Trice, supposedly the next big rapper out of Eminem's camp, played barely 15 minutes early in the evening, and he didn't reveal that he's a player worth noting. Hype can get you only so far.
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