On Sunday June 1st The Urban Daily is blogging live from the V.I.P section at HOT 97s Summer Jam 2008! We’ll be giving you the play-by-play on who rocked and who flopped, who took the stage and who made history.
Now, I’ll try to type as best I can between bites of all the free food but I’ll make sure you don’t miss a beat.
Senior Music Programmer
The Urban Daily.com
It’s 6:20 pm and “The Finisher” DJ Mr. Cee is warming up the crowd that has gotten in early. He plays Remy Ma’s “Whatever,” salutes Sean Bell and asks if the crowd is rocking with Barack Obama. Cam’ron’s “I really Mean It” and “Dipset Anthem” welcome the folks who are trickling in. MCs are still rocking the Summer Stage in the parking lot. The threatened rain is nowhere to be found and while Rihanna will take the stage later no body will be needing Umbrella-ella-ellas!!
Ok, so ya’ll caught me snackin. While I went on the long (but fast moving) food line Ray J and Young Berg took the stage. But cuz this is the UD I typed on my cellphone while I waited to pile my plate with hot wings, shrimp and chicken tenders. Ray started out smooth playing “One Wish” on his Yamaha keyboard before letting Young Berg rock out to “Sexy Lady”…Of course he closed things out with his flirtatious hit, “Sexy Can I”
The Dream’s dancers got on stage shaking gold pom-poms and comes out a minute or two after and surprisingly goes right into “Shorty Is a 10.” No wasting time for this man!
6:52 …things slow down. The dancers strip off a layer of clothes as he winds his way into “Falsetto.” It’s almost too bright outside for a song this freaky but sexy is a state of mind, not a state of time!
6:56 See, now I realize why he started with “Shorty Is a 10.” I forget just how many radio hits this man has! The Dream threw off his glasses and went into “I Love Your Girl” with chants of “fuck that n***a.” From the sing-a-long echoes in the VIP this is a favorite amongst the ladies! hmmmmmmm??
7:05 Oh dayum…Dream gets his set cut short but we’re not mad at the brother for trying to get in ‘one mo song!
7:12 Alicia Keys gets it in wearing a white wife beater (damn, the only time tonight I wish for rain) and some hip-hugging jeans.Now I know why Dream got kicked off! :) Her hair is dangling down her back and it’s hard to imagine the days when she only rocked braids. The fellas get an eyeful as she goes into “Ghetto Stories” and “Teenage Love Affair.”
7:16 Alicia Keys gets crazy nostalgia points singing a rendition of Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy” before letting Maino go into his joint “Hi Haters.” Then Alicia takes a seat at the piano and gets into the Prince-flavored “Like You’ll Never See Me Again”…I secretly wish I was the back-up singer behind her cuz those jeans rode REAL LOW when she sat on the bench. I’m betting he got a full moon over Jersey.
At Alicia’s command the DJ goes into Wendy Renes’ “After The Laughter” which is sampled in “Where Do We Go From Here” (and in Wu Tang’s “Tears”)…after teasing us with the Wu she calls Raekwon to the stage to do a piece of “Incarcerated Scarfaces”…
7:24, Method man and Ghostface join them both to do “C.R.E.A.M.” Who knew Alicia was gonna bring the Wu??
7:28 Alicia is clearly showing mad love to the WU. Method Man sends the front row into a frenzy as he spits his classic “M.e.t.h..o.d Man” After Staten Island’s finest finish up she goes into “No One.” She’s looking back at her musicians like somebody is off key (one of her drummers looks like T-Pain for real.) The band gets it on track, but any reason for her to turn around is welcome.
7:37 Funk Flex and Kid Capri introduce D-Block after warning the crowd to tuck their chains…wow. They get the party started with a medley of “The Benjamins” and “Wild Out” before running through their catalogue of mixtape and street hits.
8:00 LL Cool J brings the veteran steelo to the stage over the beat to “Headsprung.” Queens represent buy the album when he drops it!
8:05 The Dr. Seuss of RnB, T-Pain, pops on the stage in a cloud of smoke. After a few minutes of pop-lockin he drops a medley of his collabos including Chris Browns “Lovey Dovey” before Shorty Lo, DJ Khaled and Rick Ross come out to perform “I’m So Hood.” Rick Ross is straight Bone Crushering the game with no shirt on and a chain the size of little Maurice. After performing his hit “The Boss” the Miami crew is joined by Akon and Fat Joe to do “We Takin Ova.”
After flexing just how much pull he has in the game T-Pain finally goes into his own liquor friendly bangers like “Bartender” and “Buy You A Drink.” He signs off saying “In the immortal words of George Bush, Fuck ya’ll n***as I’m out.” Maybe he didn’t get the applause he wanted. Next time get some female dancers. His set was a straight sword fight!
8:30 Hot 97’s Angie Martinez introduces Lil Wayne and Weezy F Baby emerges from another cloud of smoke spitting a Mr. Robot flow to “A Million” off of the up-coming Carter III. The crowd’s energy isn’t quite there because these aren’t yet household favorites. Titty Boy from Playaz Circle joins Weezy wearing a Gucci “murse” (man purse)…so far this is a disappointment. Wayne put on a way better performance at his last Summer Jam appearance. As the sun sets on the arena Wayne seems to have picked the wrong crowd to try and prove he’s lyrical with. The minimalist beats he spits over do little to move the crowd as he drops in plugs for his album “Carter III, June 10th, Carter III, June 10th…”
8:37 Wayne takes off his shirt to the biggest applause of his set so far…he tells the DJ to “do that shit..” and drops “Fire Man” from The Carter 2.
8:43 In the midst of what seems to be a Lauryn Whinehouse moment Wayne breaks out his guitar to play “Leather So Soft”..urrr…yeah..At least do “Shooter” if you gonna break out the axe, shun.
People to the left and right of me are texting like crazy, probably all wondering wtf is up with Lil Wayne…
8:46 …a muffled acapella of a song that some hard core fans in the audience rhyme along to. His DJ is beatboxing off beat like a mo’fo while Wayne plays with his jewelry. “I smack it up and flip it like a spatula…” Now only wearing one chain he eye-fucks the girls in the front row and drops to his knees, then to his back, wiping fake tears from his eyes ….
8:51 …Wayne is clearly f*cking with us…Finally does “Lollilop” hanging a camera from his microphone and gives the most normal part of his performance thus far. Maybe he’s pissed because his album leaked early but Lil Wayne was not focused tonight.
8:56 Kanye swoops in to rescue the floundering set with his cameo on the “Lollipop” remix. They bow to each other before Wayne exits to Whitney Houston’s “I will Always Love You,” the only remnant of his last Summer Jam performance. His roadies throw a bath robe on him and he fades to black…
9:03 The stage goes completely black and rotates to reveal a full band. My guess is Rihanna is next, but I’m wrong. Kanye did a hella fast costume change into some space age leather and raises the temperature in the stadium with “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.” After some fireworks he keeps the party going, the stage is flooded in red light and he goes into “Get Em High” with his voice dropped ten octaves. Flames shoot from the front of the stage and the thunderous beat from “Jesus Walks” rings through the arena. The stage looks like Mars.
9:13 Kanye catches his breath and tells everyone “you’re going to see why I’m the #1 artist in the world right now.”
The next medley includes “Homecoming” and “Good Morning” featuring Consequence and “Can’t Tell Me Nothin”…I know Kanye is sweatin his ass off in that bubble goose vest and hoodie, but right down to his excess of clothing his performance is the polar opposite of Lil Wayne’s.
9:20 Young Jeezy joins Kanye to do “Put On”but the crowd gets amped at the first note of “Flashing Lights.” But instead of going right into the song Ye kicks a freestyle before giving the audience the real deal…A Rita G stand in strips to her thong and garters, grabs a shovel and struts across the stage before making everything go black.
Dunno if she took the death scene too far but Kanye comes back with the florescent smoke of “Stronger.” Only thing missing were some dancers in glow-in-the-dark spandex. Kanye tells the crowd that “I’m going to the studio right after this…” He keeps making references to being the last one to peform and “Taking it on the chin”. Somebody must not have told him Public Enemy and Rihanna are on the bill. Still in the “I got something to prove” mode he spits an acapella that includes nuggets like “All I see is green, call me Erick Sermon..never gave a bitch anal but I run shit…”
Finally, in what seems like his set-ender he brings out T-Pain to blow up the stage with “Good Life.”
9:50 A young lady kicks a powerful poem for Sean Bell and implores the crowd to “Fight The Power” as she introduces Public Enemy and they come out to the instrumental of Jay-Z’s “Show Em What You Got” (very smooth move fellas). Though Flavor Flav is more TV star than music star these days he hasnt’ forgotten how to be a good hype man. He bounces around the stage to the medley of PE classics like “Bring The Noise” and “Shut Em Down.” The S1W security/dancers play their position and Chuck D hasn’t suffered from “iforgotmyrhymeitis.”
9:50 Chuck takes a breather as DJ Lord cuts up Sheik’s “Good Times”…”Public Enemy always got your back…” As Chuck goes into “Don’t Believe the Hype” I remember that I bumped into Media Assassin Harry Allen just two days ago. Small world….
“Fight The Power” ends their set and Flavor Flav dedicates the show to “all of the loved ones we lost that’s in the graveyeards right now and all my the brothers and sisters locked up, that’s why I got my Rikers Island boots on right now…”
Special “surprise” guest Jim Jones performs to some New York loyalist but the exodus from the stadium is in full effect..
It’s 10:11 and I’m just waiting to see if a fight will break out on stage, but it doesn’t. It’s all peace in NJ and folks are ready to go home. As Summer Jam’s go it won’t go into the history books for either style or drama. No embarassments, no gallows, no rat suits. Kanye West put on the strongest show with T-Pain/Rick Ross contingent a close second. The weather held up but Rihanna must have felt unwanted, cuz either she had the shortest performance of the night when I went to the bathroom or she was a no show. Either way, there wasn’t a better place to be on a warm June night.
10:21 … its a wrap. Thanks for coming out, God Bless you goodnight. Check out images from the concert in the PEEP SHOW gallery.
Special thanks go out to the team at Emmis Digital NY for the access!