Method Man w/ Curren$y, Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA, Fiend & Cornerboy, Marcus Manchild, and more
Best Buy Theater
Friday, October 14
Better than: Hanging out in my own living room (barely).
Last time Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T. rolled through Manhattan on the Smoker’s Club tour (sans Method Man), both rappers patrolled the stage with a nervous energy, intent to prove to a New York crowd that they had the chops and the presence to succeed as more than just hometown heroes. K.R.I.T., after all, had been booed off the Highline Ballroom stage only a few months earlier, and Curren$y had only recently released the first of the Pilot Talk albums that would finally prove he had the skills and personality cross over from the world of free downloads on DatPiff. Compare that with Friday night, at which the rappers with the most to prove—dudes like Houston newcomer Marcus Manchild—were allotted no more than a couple of songs hours before the headliners would take the stage.
Meanwhile, K.R.I.T., even from where I was standing (closer to the exit than the stage), was visibly high, Method Man has now reached 40, and Curren$y performed mostly while sitting on a couch. “Doctor said I’m supposed to stay in the living room, so I brought the living room right here,” the New Orleans spitta explained, referencing the broken ankle he suffered at this summer’s Rock the Bells festival. As much as he tried to make it work—even getting a lift from Smoke DZA as the two performed Covert Coup‘s “Life Instructions”—the combination of stoned crowd and immobile rapper made for one of the most lethargic performances I’ve seen in recent memory.
Too bad, because Curren$y’s setlist, drawing mostly from the rapper’s more recent albums and mixtapes, provided the template for an excellent show. But as it turned out, tunes like “Elevator Music” might have just been too lighthearted or too clever for a crowd primed by a poster that features a talking marijuana leaf and—as Curren$y himself might put it, if only he had slightly better taste—garbage-bag rappers like Smoke DZA. “No longer No Limit but a nigga still ’bout it” even led nicely into a medley of various features and freestyles, moving from the Master P classic through “Super High,” Big Sean’s “Five Bucks (5 on It)” and the “Elevators (Me & U)” freestyle that appeared on Verde Terrace earlier this year. But it still wasn’t enough to impress a crowd that was slowly moving toward the exit.
Earlier, Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. at least showed some energy, no longer trying to prove that he does have confidence but simply exuding it in every stride and down south syllable. Aside from some scattered cooking during “Country Shit,” few danced, but that was totally on them.
Method Man, wrapping up the night’s festivities, was having none of that. Speaking to the two-thirds of the crowd that stuck around after Curren$y (that other third really needs to explain themselves), Meth immediately told us what he didn’t want to see, specifically: “none of that pretty boy shit—if you’re gonna be on some pretty boy shit you better go,” before launching into the Gloria Gaynor-sampling “Release Yo’ Delf.” Later, he would take issue with people not dancing and finally, with people not jumping (“When did the hip-hop audience become too cool to jump?”). For his part, Meth burned more calories than anyone who had yet stepped foot in the theater, stage diving during his eponymous 36 Chambers showcase, doing something like a moonwalk—on second thought, it might have just been walking backwards style—when Redman showed up and rapped his verse from “How High,” and yes, jumpin’ jumpin’.
Critical bias: The second-hand smoke alone easily made me higher than I’ve been at any point since college.
Overheard: “You look so miserable right now.” (My plus one, perhaps overstating the case.)
Random notebook dump: The fact that people were cooking during “Country Shit” says more about Lil B’s cult popularity than the dynamics of the night’s crowd.