Not rain, not wind, not post rush hour traffic could keep AllHipHop from the hottest show of the year, Power 105.1s
Powerhouse show at the Izod Center in dirty Jersey. The bill boasted underground heroes D-Block, R&B showman Ne-Yo, and two of the biggest names in the game co-headlining in Lil Wayne and Jay-z. With all the recent talk of Weezy no-shows, it would be interesting to see what the evening would bring.
First up was D-Block. Performing to a less-than-packed house at the time, due to the weather, they stormed the stage to their "D-Block Anthem." They went through a few of their classics including a half hearted attempt at "All About the Benjamins." It ain't the same without Puff or Kim, so that's a wrap on that one. The issue with a team like D-Block is that they are really not built for a stadium. Their performance was haphazard and visibly unrehearsed and as veterans of 10 years in the game and former pupils of Diddy, they should know better than that. Too many people on stage with nothing to do went out with WuTang. They never really had control of the mic situation as two of their lil homies had low mics and they never passed off the working ones. In what would be a recurring theme for the night, they shouted out Barack ObamaThey did drop a new joint that sampled "Nautilus" (Daytona 500, Brothers on My Jock), and the highlights included Styles' "Blow Your Mind," and Jada's "Knock Yourself Out." Cool if you love the 90s but meh overall.Next up to bat was everyone's favorite Michael Jackson impersonator, Ne-yo. I say that in jest, because Ne-yo is not shy about homage and he's a superior showman in this landscape so if he wants to be MJ lite then more power to him. Mike borrowed from Jackie Wilson and the Godfather so lineage is apparent.He bills himself as the new "King of R&B" and there's really nothing right now to dispute that. He's got 4 dancers that seriously earned their paychecks (hot, lithe and synchopated) and a band that was on point all night. His voice was strong and near album quality, you really couldn't spot a weakness in his show.He opened with "All Because Of You" and continued the vibe with "Sexy Love." Then you realize that slowly, he's building a solid catalogue. He performs a song "Nothing," which is a tribute to Mike so you have to give him the thumbs up. As the only R&B cat on the bill you would think that he was there simply for the ladies, but he brought out a few of surprises for the fellas. First up he brought Jada back to perform their new joint "By My Side." This is a certified banger. Next up to bat was Plies for the smash chicken head anthem "Bus It Baby." All the high-pitched singing let you know it was on and poppin. Last but not least, F-A-B-O fresh from demolishing the Cypher, came out to body "You Make Me Better." In all, a crisp performance that was well-rehearsed, well-executed and full of hits, surprises, and routines.After a prolonged stall, Wayne actually showed up for this one. No hoax, no joke, live and in living color. Wayne's status as heavyweight is clear as he gets a standing ovation when he takes the stage, with rock band in tow, looking to cement that status further.
With no dancers and no posse, he opens up
with Mr Carter. The girls know it word for word. We wait for the Jigga verse that never came, and the crowd was poised to explode but that moment never came. Blown moment, but a solid opening.
His performance is very subdued to this point, at points rhyming with his own vocals in the background, which was a bit awkward.
"Fireman" sends everyone into go mode but once the song goes on it feels like the crowd is still trying to figure him out. The
young cats get it totally, the girls are all in, but the older cats are trying to figure out what
they should be doing. It's like when your team is winning but you
waiting for that three pointer to break the other teams back but it keeps rimming
"Lollipop" was another highlight which took the show up another notch. The rock guitars gully up
lollipop and it was a dope rendition.
Next Wayne himself dons the guitar for "Leather So Soft." He's not really playing but
it looks good on stage. He's in full rock star mode but he's losing the
crowd. Those that know it jam people are starting to sit down. Gets most of the crowd back with "Ms. Officer" with Bobby V on the hookup.
Baby comes out to "Pop Bottles" and that got a rise, but the true highlight, of course, was "A Milli." Telling the crowd to "spazz if you want," the band got back on with those guitars and brought the house down. A fitting climax to an off balanced but good show. Weezy bows left, Weezy bows center, Weezy bows right...and leaves the stage to Whitney's "I Will Always Love You." Bizarre but entertaining.
Last but not least it's show closer Hova. His live band, the Roc Boys opens with "Say Hello" with Bleek at his side like Dame still barking orders. Brings the energy up with "U Don't Know." This song
has that heat. If anything, Bleek can be Spliff Star 2.0. Roc signs
still go up in unison for this.
From there you hear the horns, and you know "Roc Boys" is in the building tonight. If you've seen his post American Gangster shows, you know the photo montages and light show is in full effect, and everyone knows the words. Nobody crowd checks like Jay-Z, and this show is no exception. he doesn't allow the audience to chill too much.
He keeps the energy on a nice ebb and flow through AG songs, as images of the Vietnam War, the Watergate Hotel,Jackie O, the American flag, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon flash in the background. Another
voter registration shout out. Another Barack shout out. It's very strange to hear crack rap songs and then Political endorsements but what is Hip-Hop without hypocrisy.
More crowd pleasers like "PSA," "Swagger Like Us," and "D Originators" keep the crowd hyped. Its a dope show but I gotta say, he looks naked without the Roc especially after seeing State Prop's recent reunion.
After a run of Jigga standards (he has ALOT of songs) he seemingly closed the show with "Dope Boy Fresh." As is his custom he rarely does a NY area show without hovatime (overtime) and as the uninitiated were filing out, he returned to the stage with miracle DJ AM. Rather than pretty it up, I'll just list the medley he went through for the next 15 minutes:"Feeling It""Ain't No Nigga""Who U Wit?"
"What We Do"-Borderline blasphemy w/o Beans & Free
"Hello Brooklyn"-No Weezy
"Where I'm From"
"Best of Me (Rmx)"
"Money Ain't A Thing"
"Money Cash Hoes"
"'03 Bonnie & Clyde"Whew. Then he brought her out. Yes. Beyonce in all her bootylicious glory, bookended by the hotties from the video to "Single Ladies." It's now safe to go. It can't get any higher than that. However we had a few more joints and he closed with one more vote plus and with encore. Illness.All in all, Ne-Yo shined, Weezy Rocked and the Jiggaman delivered. D Block could use some stage polish but they didn't suck. The event was smooth throughout, there were no abnormally long delays, no violence in the crowd, and the people got their money's worth.For more coverage of Power 105.1s