Young Jeezy, Slim Thug Arena Theatre August 21, 2010
Wanna see more pictures from the concert? Right this way.
8:34 p.m.: The PR people said that if the media wasn't here by 8:30, then they wouldn't be allowed in. So we got here on time. And now we want to die. Showing up to a Saturday night rap concert at 8:30 is like turning on a porno and not skipping through the first seven minutes. There isn't shit going on right now, just a couple of men and women walking around not being naked or interesting.
9:26: MC Kane is on stage. That guy is the host of everything everywhere in Houston. If there's rap music playing, you can reasonably Kane to show up. He's probably hosting another event at another venue right now. He shows up to events the way Scarface doesn't show up to events. Love that.
9:29: Kane has five girls up on stage with him now. He asks them to introduce themselves. The names they give: Platinum, Paris, Lady D, China Doll and London. We'll just go ahead and assume those aren't their real names. We'll also go ahead and assume that they'll all be topless in about 3 hours with guys throwing money at them.
9:33: Slim Thug has just come motoring out. J-Dawg, his second in command, is right behind him. Fun.
9:37: Yeesh. J-Dawg is a monster on stage. He's a very believable gangster. Slim Thug is fairly intimidating, but a large part of that is due to the fact that he's 6'6". J-Dawg, however, is a normal-sized human, and is still as intimidating as fuck. It's really, really something to see. He's like the bad guy in Inglorious Basterds, except he probably doesn't hate Jews as much.
9:37:04: By the way, are you supposed to say "Jews," or is "Jewish" the term that's supposed to be used? Whatev. You say potato, we say Jewtato.
9:40: Thankfully, in addition to a drummer, Slim and J brought but a few people on stage with them. Still, if your job in the entourage is to stand on stage calmly with your hands tucked behind your back, maybe you don't need to be up there?
9:45: Slim Thug's unintentional wit and wisdom, which he displays regularly on Twitter, is firmly on display tonight. Referring to what he feels is an inordinate amount of disloyal people near or around him, he drops this nugget: "There's some real bitch niggas and bitch bitches out there." Bitch bitches? That's excellent. Or rather, that's excellent excellence.
9:46: Slim's performing "Associates." Would've been cool if Ro had shown up. Still, good stuff. The most unassailable line in the song: "If you don't fuck with me, don't fuck with me. It's not confusing." There's really no arguing that.
10:00: J-Dawg is crushing "First 48," the brilliantly constructed and executed single that managed to leapfrog "Ridin' On 4's" for the "Best J-Dawg Song Of All Time" title. The drummer is airtight in his translation. The crowd is going yo-yo. Many of the women in the crowd are singing along.
Even the somber security guard near the stage who appeared to be in a sort of eyes-open coma for the early part of the evening is mouthing the words. It seems pretty obvious that, so long as his debut album is solid, J-Dawg will soon add his name to the list of guys that you have to mention when you're talking about Houston rap. Good showing.
10:00:04: By the way, a girl that knows the words to a J-Dawg song is no less frightening than a girl that can recall passages from The Satanic Bible. It's just impossible to be petite and feminine singing "There's a bunch of mutha fuckin' killas outside your front door!"
10:38: Go DJ Hi-C has stepped in to keep everyone entertained during a lull in between acts. It takes him all of about seven minutes before he's completely turned the room on. That guy is one of the absolute best at getting a crowd riled up. He's got the opening part of Ricky Ross's "B.M.F." cued up right now.
Everyone on the planet knows the chorus to that song. Ross has no doubt claimed this summer as his own. If you haven't gotten Teflon Don, go get a copy. It's wonderful. He does less Drug Talk Rap and more Obtusely Rich Lifestyle Rap stuff now ("I just got off a flight in a golden helicopter" type of fun), and he flourishes in that role.
10:38:04: Incidentally, that Ross's "B.M.F." song is being played at a Jeezy show is mildly ironic; in part because Jeezy offered up a remix of it where he took several shots at Ross, but more so because Rick Ross has basically become a 2010 version of the 2005 version of Young Jeezy.
10:40: Jeezy is coming out. Hi-C has done his job admirably. Everyone is amped, cramming in as near the stage as they can get. The last two shows we saw here -Ludacris and 50 Cent - were busts; half-empty arenas for rappers giving half-hearted performances. It's why this place earned the "Afterthought Theater" nickname.
But one minute in and Jeezy seems intent on giving a good show. Whether that's out of respect to Houston because it was Bun that helped him get started in the rap game, or because he just generally enjoys performing, it makes no difference. The room is already buzzing. If he can give a balls out first two songs, the night will be his to bend as he pleases.
10:41: The Box apparently has a hand in tonight's show (their logo is all over). Still, Jeezy takes only two minutes to give a hearty hat-tip to Trae, saying "I rep Houston like Trae tha Truth." Wonder how The Box will feel about that?
10:46: "I Put On." The first six minutes thus far have been solid. Jeezy seems sincere in wanting to put on a proper showing. He's remarkably better at controlling a room than you'd think him to be.
10:48: Jesus, there are suddenly a lot of people on stage with Jeezy. They must be part of his entourage, or, as many of the people in the crowd are no doubt referring to them right now, In The Fucking Way.
10:53: Hat-tips from Jeezy to Bun, Pimp and Screw. He's just about reached the limit on the "Name Dropping Houston Rap Legends To Garner Cheers From The Crowd" move. Let's keep it moving, Jeezy.
10:55: Ha. Trae just showed up. And Jeezy's performing "Soul Survivor." Nice timing.
11:00: There's Jeezy's version of "B.M.F." Everybody sounds incredible on that beat. He's no different. His grumbly voice is especially hearty in person.
11:05: There's this old white lady in the front row that has been killing it all night. You can't tell her shit. It's never not cool to see a 45-year-old white women in a summer dress rap Young Jeezy lyrics.
11:15: From Jeezy: "Shout out to Scarface. He couldn't come fuck with me tonight. Guess he got tied up." Please take a moment to revisit the 9:26 timestamp. Proof positive we're brilliant. Or that we've spent far too much covering Houston rap.
11:19: Jeezy dispensing some excellent parenting advice: "Get your money, take care of your kids, but most of all, trap or die." That's actually the subtitle of Dr. Sears' latest book on parenting.
11:20: Show's over. Great, great stuff. Not a single dull moment after he got started. With the exception of his remake of Kanye's "Power," he hit everything you'd want to hear at a Jeezy show.
The last time Jeezy was in Houston he was really great too, but he was here as part of Jay-Z's tour. And he came on halfway through Jay-Z's set after Jay had already gotten the crowd all apeshit. It was unclear whether the hypeness of the crowd was attributed to him, or if was just Hova residue.
But tonight he managed to breathe life into Arena Theatre, which should be lauded. When he set into "Lose My Mind," the place just erupted. The $55 he was charging to get in appears to have been worth it. Next time he's in Houston, be there.
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Personal Bias: When Jeezy's Thug Motivation 101 came out, we listened to it about 100 times every day. We were on some real gangster shit that summer at our customer service job.
The Crowd: Was completely white. Except not.
Overheard In the Crowd: Not much. It was pretty loud. But the white lady mentioned in the review totally rubbed her face in Jeezy's crotch after the show was over when he made his way to that side of the stage to shake hands.
Random Notebook Dump: Our wife absolutely refused to go to this show, so we offered the ticket up to a few people and local rapper Fat Tony nabbed it. We picked him up from his house. He lives in Third Ward. But not the awful part of Third Ward, the nice part. There was even a chipmunk in his front yard.