The Hip-Hop Live Tour
Featuring: B.O.B., David Banner, Talib Kweli
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Better than: MP3s, CD's and DAT Machines
Last night's hip-hop buffet at Revolution offered fans a lot of quality "elements" to enjoy. There was b-boying, beatboxing, MCing, DJing, and if only somebody would have broken out spray paint and done a tag, all five elements of hip-hop would have been present. But if there's five elements to hip-hop, there's 500 elements and last night, nobody could deny that the essence of the genre felt alive and healthy.
Atlanta-based artist B.o.B. kicked the show off first with his eccentric style of rhyming and singing. The guy is sort of like a young Andre 3000, and I kept wanting to not think that way since they're both from Atlanta, but B.o.B's energy is free-flowing and eclectic and hip-hop futuristic so much so that the comparison comes naturally.
While he and his (hypeman?) Playboy Tre performed there hit song, "Haterz," B.o.B. was bouncing around the stage in his socks. Then B.o.B. picked up a guitar and sang "Lovelier Than You" and there was a touch of Andre in that song as well. It's cool that the guy can actually carry a tune, play guitar, and rap--in the same songs--and it gives him a unique flair that's been missing lately.
On top of his guitar work, there was an 10 person band on stage with him complete with steel drums (which should have been louder) two percussionist, saxophone, trumpet, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboardist, a drummer, and a DJ, all playing in unison.
That aspect of hip-hop doesn't get showcased enough but to me, a live band will always sound better than just playing a CD in the background.
After B.o.B.'s set was over and David Banner came out, the energy in the building shot up several notches as he looked like he'd been drinking red bull by the gallon. For starters, he actually did a forward flip (when was the last time you saw a rapper do that?) and dove into the audience on multiple occasions. Aside from the band behind him, there was an aspect of rock in his stage show that gave the concert more depth. He broke into Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and slammed a huge metal chair into the stage, and looked like he was having the time of his life while doing it.
I was a little disappointed that neither Lil Wayne or " target="_blank">Brisco could be at the show to perform "La La" with him off of Wayne's Carter III album, but you can't get everything you want. Banner more than made up for it by climbing the speakers, catapulting to the second floor of Revolution, and rapping from up there. If that wasn't enough, he didn't feel like using the stairs, so he just delicately walked on the outside of the railing around the entire venue while still rapping mind you, and then climbed back down. It was cool to see someone bring that much passion presence to a show.
When Kweli came out, he had two tough acts to follow but but he matched their level of stage presence and then managed to exceed it. The live band aspect of this was crucial, as his hits like, "I Try" and "Get By" sounded much better with horns drums behind him. Miami's own Garcia was in the back of the venue dancing salsa
Kweli brought two breakdancers out on stage to do their thing, and then one of them, Komakozie, started beatboxing on the spot. It's the same Komakozie that beatboxed with Matisyahu two months ago so dude is making a name for himself as the go-to-guy in the crowd when an MC needs that style to be present.
Over all it was a great show. It ended kind of flat, and the crowd was surprised that Kweli didn't come back on for an encore. Actually, that's something I still don't understand. But I appreciated the show regardless.
Personal Bias: Hip-hop played with live instruments will always capture my heart.
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Random Detail: There were a group of 10 kids on hand from CHARLEE Homes for Kids out of Miami. Many of them that had never left Miami-Dade county and had definitely not been to a concert before. They got to meet Kweli backstage before his set and that put a smile on all of their faces.