Better Than: Past Fabolous performances.
“This life is so exciting!” chanted Pusha T and Fabolous in unison on B.B. King’s stage while a crowd of ecstatically proud New Yorkers watched two of their native sons (yup Pusha was born in the Bronx). Last night the two only shared the stage for one song, but the two demonstrated a palpable ease with one another. The same couldn’t be said of the crowd, who at times got into shoving matches jockeying for position around the stage. It was a quite a sight. In the eternal words of King Push, “My God…”
Even from outside the venue before either rapper breathed a word on the mic it was evident from the line stretching back to 7th Avenue that MTV Jams, the main sponsor of “The Life Is So Exciting Tour,” had come up with a strong combination. The crowd was an eclectic bunch of D-boys and hipsters with a few models and rap nerds thrown in for good measure. New York, basically.
The show started a bit behind schedule. but before you could say “Late rappers… That’s that shit I don’t like,” King Push was on stage in his trademark backwards cap and chains rapping his verse of Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like” remix. “Grinding” served its purpose to rope in the handful of casual fans but those guys were few and far between. From “Back By Popular Demand” to “So Appalled,” the crowd rapped every word. And when the deeper album cuts and mixtape anthems like “Cook It Down” and Exodus” came on they were still right there with Mr. Terrance Thornton, filling in what ever words he or his hype man skipped.
Pusha’s set was strong overall and lengthier than you’d expect. He’s got joints, no doubt about that. And speaking of, when he dropped arguably his biggest, “New God Flow,” from the edge of the stage some dude in crowd kept grabbing his knee. Pusha waited for the song to end before quipping, “You’re a man. You are a man. I appreciate the love but…” As the crowd laughed he turned to a particularly eager female fan and exclaimed, “Woman you can grip my knee though.”
After the laughter died down, Troy Ave popped up to perform dark yet sing songy “Road Runner.” Troy murdered the hook in the ill New York Islanders jersey. The crowd was so charged a fight almost broke out during “Mercy” so Pusha switched it up to the um, love song (?) “Trust You With My Drugs.” “Millions in the Ceilings” should have wrapped the show because the crowd’s high energy waned slightly for the set-ending “Blocka.” Just when you thought it was over, though, he pulled out his latest showstopper, “Numbers On The Board.”
Then it was Fabolous’ turn.( If you’re ready to read about Loso say, “Niiiiiiiice.”) Fab’s set was horough. He covered his girly-TRL-era, but also did the gritty mixtape stuff like “B.I.T.E.” One thing’s for sure: Ladies Love Cool Fab. Ladies screamed at him like he was the Beatles or maybe Weezy at Summer Jam 2008 or MJ the first time he moonwalked. With good reason though. He cleverly caters to girls while performing, dedicating songs to them and chiding guys to take of their ladies or “trust me some other dude will.”
Fab brought out a few surprises halfway through his set including Araab Muzik followed by Wale for “Beauty.” Araab Muzik did his thing but as soon as Wale touched the mic there were serious technical difficulties. Joe Budden came out and cell phones flew up in the air to capture the mediocre MC’s moment. Luckily Pusha came out to pick up the slack for the night’s crescendo in the form of “This Life So Exciting.”
The show sputtered toward the end, with several false stops. But Fab churned out “Breathe” and “I’ma Do it” “Can’t Let You Go” “Superwoman.” and, finally, “Girl You Be Killin’ Em” after the show already seemed petered out. Unsure of Fab’s intentions the crowd hovered momentarily. When Fab got on the mic though and thanked New York City “for making me everything I am today,” the mass of rap heads caught his drift and finally began to disperse. So exciting indeed.
Critical Bias: Pusha is unfuckwitable.
Overheard: “How Fab ain’t gonna do that “Brooklyn” shit. Brooklyn is in the house heavy.”
Random Notebook Dump: Hip-hop will never just be about weed and Hennessy, but it will forever smell like weed and Hennessy.
Photos by Stephen Bercovici