Best of the Best 2011
With Rick Ross, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, Lloyd, Miguel, Jeremih, Marsha Ambrosius, Travis Porter, and Big Sean
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Better Than: Seven hours of unsafe sex.
Cruising through Bicentennial Park's main gates at approximately 6:10 p.m. with about a half-quart of cognac in my bloodstream, I could feel a tingle in the air.
And it wasn't just the potentially dangerous combo of booze, extreme heat, and Memorial Day-induced insomnia. This was the kind of atmospheric electricity that typically precedes birthday sex, doin' the Dougie, or wetting the bed.
The females were fresh and sweaty with brand-new nail jobs and straight-from-the-salon hair. The dudes were swagging hard, all loaded up with ice, platinum, cash-fat pockets, designer sunglasses, and Swift Kick-cleaned sneakers.
And everyone was getting free gifts at the gate: Giant gold foil packages of Magnum Live Large king-size condoms for the homies and little pink, postcoital smokes -- Swag Berry Splitarillos -- for the ladies.
Meanwhile, the sky was looking evil, filled with big, black, fast-moving clouds that seemed seconds from dumping buckets on this fucking party. But luckily, the storms stayed away. And so, the only ones making it rain were Georgia spitters Travis Porter, throwing down the last half of their street-school thesis on strip-club economics: "I'm single with a lot of pringles/I just wanna mingle, get 'em at a ego, bitch."
Between sets, hypemen rattled off random banter, encouraged every sexually active member of the audience to go get tested for HIV, and parroted marketing propaganda for an energy-drink-slash-liquid-aphrodisiac called Fever before bringing out a threesome of booty girls in blue, red, and gold lame bikinis to throw branded sex rags into the crowd.
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By 6:32 p.m., Marsha Ambrosius clicked out onto the stage in powder pink spike heels, a teal sling-shoulder dress, and big green hoop earrings, singing about bad breakups -- "I Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)" -- and all-hours intercourse -- "Late Nights and Early Mornings."
Next, the original "Birthday Sex" boy, Jeremih, humped his way through quick-and-slow grinders -- "Down on Me," "Imma Star," and a few others -- like some kind of hipster-hop player in orange jeans, a tank top, and a flat brim cap. And then just before sundown, smooth space-y metrosexual Miguel, flanked by white boys on bass and guitar, ran through robot R&B jams, including "Pay Me" and "All I Want Is You," while strangling the LED-lit shaft of his mike and testing out a pair of weird patent-leather kneepads.
A half-hour later, the afterdark action got going with ATL playboy Lloyd (AKA Young Goldie), who showed up in jean shorts, Jordans, a red-white-and-blue stripy tank, Chicago Blackhawks fullback hat, and a single chunk of bling. Backed by a live drummer and a DJ in a "Death Before Dishonor" tee, Goldie opened with his 2007 ode to one-night stands and street love, "Get It Shawty," before slipping into 2008's Lil Wayne collab "Girls Around the World" (minus Weezy) and a quick cover of the Wacko Jacko classic "Rock With You."
And here's where we all got our first big Best of the Best surprise: "Y'all Miami people gonna love this!" Lloyd laughed, calling out Broward County banger Ace Hood, who ripped right into his new-ish street hit "Hustle Hard." Then closing, Goldie lit into "Lay It Down," threw a few final groin thrusts, and split.
Now ... All night, the show's schedule had been sketchy. Minor delays led to lost sets. And Chris Brown, originally listed for an 8 p.m. slot, blew his assigned arrival time. So, once the stage was finally and completely kitted out for Keri Hilson, it was already 9:08 p.m. and the organizers made the executive decision to slash her set by 15 minutes.
Apparently, Keri was a little bit pissed, although you couldn't tell at all from her performance. She sprinted from one song to the next -- "Gimme What I Want" to "The Way You Love Me," "The Way I Are," and "Pretty Girl Rock" -- like a pop diva on speed, matching steps with a pair of manic backup dancers and looking weirdo-hot in white, studded, 16-hole Doc Martens, navy blue parachute pants, a spiked jean belly vest, oversized aviator shades, and curly blonde hair stuffed under a costume-y airplane pilot's hat.
But then, as she prepped to streak offstage, Hilson apologized to the crowd and threw out a quick comment about having her time cut short before being hustled by a team of bodyguards through the VIP area, past the press tent (skipping out on her interview and photo ops), and into a waiting SUV just beyond Bicentennial Park's perimeter while photographers tried to chase her down like paparazzo.
Without any real lull, it was time for C. Breezy. The lights went out. The speakers boomed. And Brown's team of four post-apocalyptic battle dancers in leather bandanas waited in darkness while legions of barely legal lady fans screamed his name, asked to be defiled in exceedingly imaginative ways, and shrieked nonsensically at an almost inaudible pitch.
Right then, the tatted-up little dynamo streaked out of the shadows in a blast of stage lights, kicking out some choreography, and visibly lip-synching to the recorded version of "I Can Transform Ya." Like his dancers, Brown rocked an end-of-days costume -- blond skull fuzz, double vests (leather and canvas), black wife-beater, white jeans, and leather high-tops.
Randomly, the DJ dropped Cali Swag District and Breezy did the Dougie, caught his breath, and chatted up the audience for a minute: "Where all my sexy ladies at? All my real niggas say woof-woof!," he shouted, kicking off his set by snickering, "You know I can make you wet the bed, right?"
And on cue, he slithered into the first few lines of "Wet the Bed" (actually singing this time) while his dude dancers ripped off their wife-beaters, Hulk Hogan style, and he dropped into a push-up position to hump the stage.
Returning to his feet, Brown looked into the crowd, asking for a lady to be brought up for some fun. Within seconds, his wish was fulfilled as a 20-something woman was dragged out and forced to sit in a folding chair. He tore his shirt in half, sat spread-legged on the captive female's lap, and tried to kiss her. He aimed for the mouth. But instead, she squirmed and Breezy ended up sucking on her chin.
Following that awkward incident, Brown sprinted through "Take You Down" and "No Bullshit," and then knocked out a truncated version of "Look at Me Now," trying to rap along with Busta Rhymes's superspeed verse before giving up and squealing, "I'm out of breath! Fuck that!"
With only an hour and 22 minutes till curfew, Trey Songz's black-clad backing band (drummer, keyboard player, guitar guy, and bassist) took their spots, tuned up, and sat back as the DJ spun an introductory interlude, "Passion," and the singer came skipping into the spotlight over a set of prop stairs.
Jumping straight into his hyperbolic 2009 hump jam, "I Invented Sex," Songz got to grinding. He whipped his hips, threw back his head, stuck out his tongue, got lost in some kind of sexual seizure, and yanked on his black-and-silver rosary while crooning through "I Need a Girl" and "Missing You." Then Songz dropped Best of the Best's biggest first day bomb, bringing out Drake for a couple of tandem tracks, "Unusual" and "Successful."
With a five-week 'fro and some serious facial scruff, Drizzy looked like he was 21 days deep into a holiday bender, not 21 hours. (Maybe we can blame Friday's all-nighter at King of Diamonds with Lil Wayne?) But his flow was tight. The gold around his throat was gleaming. And he seemed genuinely hyped to be ballin' with the best at Bicentennial Park, shouting to the crowd, "Give it up for Trey Songz, one of the best in the game!," as he hugged his homie and disappeared offstage.
At exactly 11:18 p.m., a small, speedwalking mob came crashing through the press area, headed directly for the VIP entrance. It was Rick Ross and a sprawling entourage, rolling up three minutes late for his scheduled set. Photographers and fans tried to fold themselves into the tiny mass, only to get peeled away by security as the Boss charged on toward the stage.
A quarter-hour later, Ross finally snatched up the mike, totally screwed for time. But with midnight pounding down, he strung together a blitz of essential hits, dropping a brutally loud, relentlessly hard "MC Hammer" that bled fast into "9 Piece" and segued straight into "Hustlin'." Then the entire, extended Maybach Music crew crashed the scene, beginning with Wale spitting his verses off Waka Flocka's "No Hands," and followed by Gunplay tearing through his rough-riding hit, "Rollin'," before Ross reclaimed center-stage with "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" and called on new recruit Meek Mill for a quick shot at controversial Self-Made single "Tupac Back."
And then, just as Chrisette Michelle's pre-recorded "Aston Martin Music" hook gave way to the Boss's lyrical click-clack, time was up. The plug got pulled. Party fucking over.
Curfew's a bitch, huh?
The Crowd: Little kids; packs of teen girls; ancient Rastas; thick chicks in bathing suits and ass-flashing cutoffs; white dudes in ICP swag; grown girls in zebra-print jumpers; City of Miami Police officers playing with their PDAs; big-booty babes with blonde faux-hawks; and subtropical gangstas in flamingo pink and sea green.
-"Get It Shawty"
-"Girls Around the World"
-"Rock With You" (Michael Jackson cover)
-"Hustle Hard" (With Ace Hood)
-"Lay It Down"
Keri Hilson's Setlist:
-"Gimme What I Want"
-"The Way You Love Me"
-"The Way I Are"
-"Pretty Girl Rock"
Chris Brown's Setlist:
-"I Can Transform Ya"
-"Wet the Bed"
-"Take You Down"
-"Look at Me Now"
Trey Songz's Setlist:
-"I Invented Sex"
-"I Need a Girl"
-"Unusual" (With Drake)
-"Successful" (With Drake)
-"Can't Be Friends"
Rick Ross's Setlist:
-"No Hands" (With Wale)
-"Rollin'" (With Gunplay)
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-"B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)"
-"Tupac Back" (With Meek Mill)
-"Aston Martin Music"