"We don't give women money. We give them babies."
Slim Thug & Friends House of Blues November 30, 2010
Slim Thug wasn't the biggest name on the bill Tuesday night. While an accomplished veteran in his own right, Thugga hasn't attained Z-Ro's "local legend" status or ESG's "freestyle king" insignia or Bun B's national adoration.
But Slim would be damned if he lets his guests steal the spotlight at his own show. The 6'6" rapper stood taller and larger than everyone else at the record release concert for Tha Thug Show.
But before any of that would happen, Aftermath had to endure a TSA-style pat-down at the door. Wait, is this going to be a regular thing at HOB now? "No," a security guard replied with a wry smile, "It's just this night."
Aftermath arrived at House of Blues at 8:45 p.m. and had to endure a bevy of mediocre openers for two hours and change. We'll spare you the details, but R&B upstart Senze deserves mention for winning the battle of shitty openers, as the tone-deaf singer spent nearly 30 minutes pondering the politics of skirt-gazing.
Sensing the boredom in the room, he tried to spice things up by simulating sexual positions with a gorgeous chick. At some point, he stroked the microphone suggestively with her hand. You should've seen the disgust on her face when she walked off the stage. As for the crowd, well, if you listened close enough, you would have heard the yawns.
After a few more lethargic performances by some up-and-comers, host Devi Dev finally injected some excitement in the air. Without any hint of humor in her voice, she announced, "Up next is Kurt Cobainz." Wait, who? "Grunge zombies FTW!" exclaimed our photographer, Marco.
Uh, is this one of those mind-fuck movies where everyone has been dead for a while but didn't know it till the end? Did we just ruin every mind-fuck movie for you? Alas, it was some rapper who actually goes by Kirko Bangz and definitely wins the Least Googleable Rap Moniker award.
As his set wore on, we finally realized that Kirko Bangz is responsible for that radio smash "What Yo Name Iz." How apropos that his name is confusing? (Oh, please save us the "I can't believe you write about rap but never heard of so-and-so" nonsense.) We will say this about Kirko Bangz: the kid has a bright future and is poised for a breakout once he figures out his lane.
When Slim Thug finally graced the stage around 11 p.m., the crowd was pregnant with anticipation. By the time he wrapped up the show an hour later, they definitely got their money's worth. Thugga gave a thoroughly enjoyable live rendition of Tha Thug Show almost in its entirety, and then some.
The album brilliantly melds Slim's pop sensibilities and street bravado, but it was clear Tuesday that he's more comfortable in the realm of the latter. He treated his radio-friendly songs like poisonous candy and reminded us that he "makes music for the streets, for the gangstas." When he reverted to tough-talking selections like "Gangsta" and "Murda," his uneasiness disappeared. A confident MC emerged.
The guests were stunningly impressive, too. Despite Devi Dev's earlier claims - "It's a movie backstage!" and "You won't believe who's back there!" - we had to settle for the usual suspects: Bun B, Z-Ro, ESG, Lil Keke, a Colin Munroe impersonator and J-Dawg. Boy, did J-Dawg wreck the show or what?
Every concert has that one song that shakes the building like an earthquake. Tuesday night, it was the call-and-response throwback classic "Getcha Hands Up"" alongside ESG.
Unfortunately, one of Slim Thug's widely advertised "friends," B.o.B., was a no-show. The host offered this understated explanation: "Not everyone could make it out here tonight." Thankfully, the ones that did were compelling enough to give Houston one hell of a Thug Show.
Personal Bias: None
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The Crowd: Diverse mix of young hip-hoppers who probably call in sick every Wednesday.
Overheard In the Crowd: "She asked me for $20 and I told her, 'You must not know me. I'm African. We don't give women money. We give them babies'."
SLIM THUG SET LIST
The Sky I Ain't Heard of That I Run Getcha Hands Up Gangsta How We Do Still Tippin' Neighborhood Supa Stars 100s Beat It Up So High