Chingy the champ, Regular Ricky and Blah2K. Before y’all get in your feelings and accuse me of crucifying your teen crushes, understand that I am in the business of mostly facts and minimal feelings. I was excited as everyone in their mid-twenties and mid-thirties who body-rolled their way up in Enterprise Center Wednesday waiting to see how Omarion, Raz B and the rest of B2K held up after all of these years – and if, Spectacular, Pleasure P and the other Pretty Ricky crew could still do those high impact routines. Let me start with the good news. St. Louis folks did their city proud on the Millennium Tour. Gary “G-Thang” Johnson had folks hollering as the host – particularly when he went into the crowd looking for talented singers. My girl Tyra was about the only one he found. And Chingy slayed the stage halfway through the lengthy lineup of folks. He had me even more proud when he countered the ongoing narrative that the St. Louis hip-hop scene is full of hate by bringing Huey and J.R. on stage to perform their club bangers before a hometown captive audience. I was thrilled. I was also pleasantly surprised by Bobby V. and Lloyd’s little set – even though I don’t quite understand Lloyd’s choice of wardrobe. I mean, where do you even find a pedal pusher-length snowsuit? Mario got it in as well. I was a wreck about whether his show would be to my liking, since he started off with some sort of vocal track backing. Turns out it was only for dance sequence. Now I started with the positive. Now I have to rightfully read the rest of them. I honestly didn’t feel one way or the other about the Ying Yang Twins. I mean, except for to say that my seat neighbors in front and behind of me had twerked themselves funky by the end of “Get Low” and I had to suffer through that not so fresh aroma ambiance for the rest of the show. The plus-sized one from Pretty Ricky gave me the blues by being so thirsty and threatening to have relations with women. He gave that hotel out like it was church peppermints. And while he’s still in fighting form, can somebody please explain to me why Spectacular had to hunch his way on stage in nothing but a towel while all the other Rickys had on cute coordinated black-studded outfits? I know you’ve always been their resident grinder, but what kind of work have you been doing in your downtime from the group, sir? B2K wasn’t terrible, but they weren’t anything to write home about either. I’ve never seen such soft pop-locking in all my days. It was still a cute show though. I just wished the main attraction acts had put in a little more rehearsal in.
R&B, sure. King…not so much. There was so much going on Saturday, but nothing but death could keep me from checking out Jacquees in his first STL show since he proclaimed himself to be the king of R&B. While I will say that his performance was leaps and bounds above when he mailed it in at his Super Jam appearance, I can’t not say he served R&B royalty in any form. Don’t get me wrong, it was decent. But when you claim the throne, you are implying next level R&B mastery is in store. And based on that show, I’d call him an esteemed citizen of R&B, but that’s about the size of it. I’m not hating, I’m just stating facts. I’m still thrilled that Rockhouse Ent. and the crew are consistently bringing a variety of acts to The Pageant for my viewing pleasure. Trust and believe I will be in the building for Jeezy in a few weeks.
T-Pain the turn up master. Speaking of stars of the early part of the Millennium, I didn’t get to catch the Jacquees opening acts that were representing R&B for the STL – and based on how they showed up and showed out for Sammie last month– I’m sure I would have been impressed. But I had good reason. The one and only T-Pain was playing Pop’s and it had been about ten years since I’d seen him on stage. For whatever reason I thought T-Pain drew a much more mixed crowd, but me, him and A1 and a handful of others were about the only non-general population up in the Pops. It didn’t matter. We all still turned up so tough that I had to fight the urge to hop from the balcony in an epic crowd surf. Okay, not really. But I did get amped as T-Pain powered through his catalog. He had some major hits – and had the energy to get everybody up in there crunk (the slang matches the peak era of his songs). I can’t say I was expecting to yawn, but his stamina and song selection had me ready for somebody’s hip-hop aerobics!
Tried and true Trap. Soul. Paint. Since I’m on the subject of crunk, if you ever want to get all the way live, be sure to make your way to the House of Soul on the last Sunday of the month for Trap.Soul.Paint. Dre’Co has the gift of hype man –
do you hear me? And as soon as the beat dropped for “Back That Thang Up,” there was a twerk that wouldn’t quit coming from the woman in the red sweatpants. Even with all of my experience in the litty moments of Trap.Soul.Paint, I was not quite ready. It was life. I know the next one is a month away – but get to mapping things out and finalizing logistics between your girlfriends’ group now. Because every single one has sold out to date.
Finesse and Sneakquence. Listen, I knew that there would be life given when the crew that brings us Hey Luv announced they would be flipping the script with their inaugural R&B Sneaker Ball. But the folks really got all the way into blending athletic footwear with fancy gowns and suits. Can you imagine being in your fiercest formal freakum dress without the fear of your feet giving out due to expired heel time? Yep, it was epic to say the least. The dancefloor was on lean at Barnett’s on Washington from the time I made my grand entrance until I delivered a final bow without the fear of turning back into a pumpkin. I won’t bother naming names because somebody will be left off. But let me just say that Shadzilla, DJ JMO and Reminisce hit a triple-double by allowing folks to mix glamour and their tennis shoe game.