March 20, 2014
If a 14-year-old heard The Beatles in 1964, by 1988, that music fan likely looked at Motley Crue with skeptisim.
When I was 14, I saw Ice Cube live. I tried to embody the West Coast ideals of The Chronic. I was about to embark on my formative years with a soundtrack by all the "greats" - Biggie, Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, OutKast and the list goes on.
As I now reach 34-years old, I can't help but have a nostalgically close-minded opinion of most new hip-hop. As I see it, "new" is anything after Jay-Z's Black Album. I joke, though my sentiments are shared by a lot of hip hop fans my age.
But this isn't about me, my close-minded taste or age as it is relevant to hip-hop. This is about Atlanta artist 2 Chainz performing at The Fillmore in Charlotte on March 20, 2104.
So why did I, a archaic hip-hop head, stay up late on a week night to see a mainstream rapper - an artist with only two studio albums to date?
He's been around the game of life and hip-hop a long time. He is older than me at 36. Lastly, a few months ago, I got off my high horse and listened to his latest album, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time. It's entertaining. Regardless of my ability to relate to his experiences - I never sold nearly that much crack, my head bobbed and I dug it.
The hours leading up to the show had the same high school years-ish excitement. No beepers and pay phones though, instead coordinating a diverse group with smart phones, or phones, as I call them.
Upon arrival around 8 p.m., I got my first taste of how the show was going to play out. Every kind of anybody was there, and hype. There was no drama or mean mugging. A fun atmosphere was palatable.
After two opening acts, Pusha T winds up the crowd and the place is nearly sold-out. You feel it as shoulders bump and drinks splash. The staff keeps us out of the blue-taped fire lanes. Colorado remedy smoke is detected here and there. The place is on crescendo. Everyone is finding their place to watch the show and it is electric.
The stage darkens. Iconic and recent video images appear on screens on stage of sports, including life moments of winning and overcoming.
As 2 Chainz takes the stage, I swear he only had one chain on. What followed was an hour and a half of unified crowd mayhem. 2 Chainz and his DJ kept it on fire.
At times, the crowd sang word for word so loud, 2 Chainz had to battle to be heard. Even with the Fillmore's floor rattling bass sound system, the audience's vocals were a force. This show was off the Chainz, pun intended.
Next up, the after-show parking lot. Now, more intoxicated, a general breeding ground exists for the type incidents that make good hip-hop shows get a bad reputation.
But not this show. We all waited, danced in the parking lot, people watched and, to my knowledge, got home safe. Just like you are supposed to.
Will I now raise my open mindedness toward new hip-hop?
Maybe next year, 2 Chainz could be an anomaly. If not, I may be buying tickets for hip-hop shows one day, asking if they discount for AARP members.