In what could’ve been one of the best hip-hop concerts of 2019 and beyond, No Limit Soldiers – led by Master P, Mia X, Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker and Fiend – delivered a lackluster showcase at best before a sold-out crowd at Chaifetz Arena Saturday night. As veteran artists in the music industry for twenty or more years, the southern rappers were a repeated disappointment to the crowd thanks to a lineup of performances void of organization or preparation. Fans voiced their disgust by booing and bailing out early.
For the first time ever, pioneering New Orleans hip-hop label No Limit Records brought a collective of its artists to the region to hear the music they grew up listening to in the late 1990s. Nostalgia was in the air and camouflage flooded the arena as people took to their seats excited to rap and reminisce over all of their favorite hood classics.
DJ KUT of 95.5 FM turned out to be the best part of the night as he opened with some STL chart-toppers before segueing to a few other 90’s classics getting the crowd amped for the throwback treat soon to come.
The clock continued to tick as St. Louis native comedian Gary “G Thang” Johnson stalled and ultimately invited Murphy Lee & Kyjuan of St. Lunatics fame to the stage. The sibling rappers graced the stage with snippets of “Get Money remix” and their classic song, “Air Force Ones”.
There would be a gruesome two-hour delay before the concert billed to begin at 7 p.m. got started at 9 p.m. with Master P kicking it off to Hot Boyz. Rapper Mystikal joined in and the crowd was hyped up, only to be let down by another delay.
Ten more minutes passed before the night of 30-second snippets from No Limit artists truly began to flow in any type of traditional concert form. Master P and his crew returned to the stage, but not to perform.
The already irritated crowd’s excitement was paused yet again as the “No Limit Colonel” gave props to Mia X, Silkk the Shocker and Mystikal for always showing support to one another. He then thanked St. Louis for their support as well.
“It’s been twenty years for us man. And this is the first time ever No Limit Records has ever been in St. Louis, and I want to thank y’all for all the support y’all showed us tonight,” the rapper told the crowd.
His comments were met with lukewarm applause. DJ KLC began the performance with “No Limit Soldiers” by TRU. Master P, Silkk and Mia X began to perform, and was soon accompanied by fellow NO Limit artist Fiend, The introductory performance lasted a few seconds before another shout out rang out and the artists exited the stage.
Mr. Serv-On had the responsibility of starting things off again as the disjointed revue was presented to St. Louis. Poor speaker sound made it hard to hear any of the tunes clearly. The artist rapping over a track with built in vocals compounded the problem. Mundane performances aside, the crowd continued to hang on, hoping the show would get better.
“Tell Me,” a song originally recorded by 504 Boyz (a collective of No Limit artists) was played. Their optimism would be in vain. With two of the group’s members (C-Murder & Mac) in prison, one deceased (Magic), and several others (Choppa, T-Bo, Krazy & Curren$y) not on the tour—Master P, Silkk the Shocker and Mystikal were the only artists left to represent the 504 Boyz. Mystikal never came out to perform the number.
Missing in action was the common theme for the show that was supposed to celebrate the groundbreaking catalog music No Limit brought as contributors to New Orleans hip-hop. Absent stage presence, performance caliber and production value were all absent from the evening’s showcase.
Mia X, also known as The First Lady of No Limit, was a brief bright spot in the underwhelming show. The southern belle with raw lyrics began her set with “You Don’t Wanna Go 2 War” where she performed the collaboration alone. It was only when she transitioned to “The Party Don’t Stop” that she was joined by Master P.
“I been in this game for 35 years, and I thank y’all for rocking with me,” Mia X told the crowd during her brief set that felt more like an intermission or interlude than a full-on featured segment. She managed to squeeze in “Thinkin’ About You”, “All N’s”, and her rendition of the Salt-N-Pepa classic, “I’ll Take Ya Man.” Hearing a song they recognized, the audience rapped along with her as she eased into her verse on “Freak [expletive] and “Whatcha Wanna Do” which features Charlie Wilson.
“I recorded this song at Snoop Dogg’s house,” Mia X said. “Charlie Wilson was there, and I had to have him on this song.”
Her set concluded with “I Think Somebody.”
Opening with “War Wounds”, Fiend gave the crowd a slight energy boost before cutting his set to give a speech. He wrapped it up quickly, seeing how the agitated crowd had become with the constant talking and lack of performing.
Finding his rhythm again, he ran through his “36 Hours” track right before cutting the music to show off his lyrical skills. Sliding into his popular track, “Mr. Whomp Whomp”, the gritty voice rapper closed his set with Silkk the Shocker and “If I Don’t Gotta.”
Known for his off-beat rap style, the crowd screamed with excitement as Silkk the Shocker started performing his “I’m A Soldier” and “Just Be Straight With Me” tracks.
His “I’m a Shocker” song was next. After a few bars, the youngest of the Miller clan gave the crowd “Bout Dat” and “Let Me Hit It”, two of his most popular songs. Still, the crowd was let down again with him forgetting the words to his songs and Master P nowhere in sight to perform is portion of the song.
The performance dragged on with him closing out his set with his verse on Master P’s “Mr. Ice Cream Man” featuring Mia X – who didn’t reappear either.
Another pause for a speech pushed the crowd beyond their limit and they began to boo mercilessly. Silk the Shocker was apparently supposed to be bringing out Master P. Mystikal emerged instead, attempting to calm the boos.
A few seconds and a wardrobe change later, Master P appeared on stage to finish his song “Mr. Ice Cream Man.” By this point, crowd was completely disengaged.
Collectively, the artists performed “It Ain’t My Fault,” before exiting the stage leaving Mystikal to perform his portion of the tour.
Full of high energy and lyrical swagger, Mystikal salvaged the dying tour and saved the day. He left no stone unturned and gave the crowd what they had been waiting for all night.
As one of the label favorites, the audience appreciated the respect he showed to them and his craft as he performed his verse in Ludacris’s, “Move [expletive]” before giving the crowd a small taste of his old No Limit sound with “The Man Right Chea.”
No Mystikal performance would be complete without him stopping the music to show off his extraordinary rap skills by freestyling at a speed that few can rival. Having had his set rushed, the rapper still managed to perform commercial crossover hits “Danger” “Shake Ya [expletive]” and “Bumping Me Against the Wall.”
Master P. “The Colonel” returned to the stage to close the show. He got things started with a ten-second performance of “Down 4 My [n-word expletive].” The partial song performances continued with Master P forgetting the words to his songs and rapping over his lyrics to “Break Em Off Something.” Silkk the Shocker came back out to perform “Hoody Hoo.”
Amid his set, the CEO and rap legend continued to stop the performances to scream out “Free C-Murder, Free Mac”, and a few other stop the violence tag lines, instead of performing the songs people came to hear.
As the crowd geared up for another set of booing, Master P continued his set with “Where Do We Go From Here,” and “I Miss My Homies.”
Just when it seemed the crowd would not get to hear some of their favorite No Limit songs, Master P finally signaled the DJ to play, “How Ya Do Dat.”
He toyed with the crowd over his song “Bout It, Bout It” has though he was performing a pre-planned skit.
“I didn’t perform I’m Bout It, Bout It? Are y’all sure I didn’t perform I’m Bout It, Bout It?” the rapper asked the crowd before pretending to exit the stage.
With their third round of boos on the horizon, Master P ran back to perform the club classic.
After an hour and forty minutes of lazy, unorganized, and ill-prepared performances, all the No Limit artists closed out the concert with” Make Em Say Uh.”