For more pictures from the show, see our slideshow here.
|Photos by Marco Torres|
This place is pretty well packed. 97.9 FM's G.T. is on stage. It's unclear whether he's the opening act or is just up there to fill time. He leans on a bunch of Houston classics to gain the support of the crowd; Fat Pat, H.A.W.K., UGK, things like that. When we ask a fellow standing behind us, "Hey, do you know who that is?," he responds, "Nah, it's just some hypeman." Probably not the best sign for GT's budding rap career.
As far as genuine fans are concerned, this is a very important show for these two. Paul and Cham are the second most fascinating duo in Houston's rap history. They struck gold with 2002's Get Ya Mind Correct, their debut album that meshed all of the interesting parts of each of their personalities together. Then, over the course of about eight years, they grew apart (which was predicted by anyone that bothered to pay attention to what they were saying in GYMC
), hated each other, ignored each other, put up with each other, ignored each other again, then linked back up.
The subtext is pretty clear: If this is a sham, a ploy to do nothing more than bolster album sales (both have new albums due this summer), then the show will be lifeless and corporate and their images might be irreconcilably tarnished. But if it's genuine, and they joined back up for history's (and their own legacy's) sake, the show will be good.
There's this fairly sizable girl trying to work her way through the crowd. The weird part is she looks like she thinks she's snaking through the crowd unnoticed. She's not. She's muscling through there like a full back. You know how in Ice Age 2
there's that mammoth named Ellie that thinks she's an opossum? She's always climbing trees and playing dead when hawks fly over and doing other things that tiny animals do? That's what we got going on here. It's cute. And maybe sad.
That might be the first time in history Ice Age 2
has been referenced at a rap concert.
Okay, we get it, you're shirt is covered in rhinestones, you're awesome. Ack. You know who needs to catch the blame for this trend ever taking off? Women. That's right. Women. If all the women in the world got together and issued an official statement like, "Look, we as a collective have decided that no woman will ever blow a man who wears a shirt with rhinestones on it," Armani Exchange would close down tomorrow. Guaranteed.
Waiting for Cham and Paul to come out, a DJ is playing a few more Houston gems. He gets to "25 Lighters." That's such a great song. Did anyone ever figure out how exactly the number of lighters on one's dresser is related to the rate at which one gets paid? How ill would it be if when you worked at Rap-A-Lot you weren't told how much money you'd get paid every week, but how many lighters there would be on your dresser? "Oh, I see here you've got three and half years experience in the industry. That's good. That means we can start you off at 9 lighters on your dresser, yessir."
"Mo City Don Freestyle." Rejoice.
Show's starting. Paul and Cham come flying out to Cham's "Won't Let You Down," which can't be by accident. Good start. Nice touch.
There's a very fighty-looking group of Mexicans right in front of us. We can't stop staring at them. Remember the face Ethan Hawke was making in Training Day
when he was sitting at that table with those three menacing Mexicans after Denzel ditched him? That's our face.
Oh Jesus Christ. These four guys who look like the offensive line for the goddamned Denver Broncos just worked their way right in front of us. It's either we ask them to move or find a new spot.
So this new spot ain't so bad.
Cham is talking about how he and Paul are shooting a video for "Main Event" and some of the footage from this concert will be in it. He wants to make sure that the crowd looks hyped in the video later so he instructs them, "If me and Paul say to jump, you say 'how high?'." He says this, of course, to relay the message that he would like a lot of crowd participation at the appropriate times.
Only the crowd is so excited at the prospect of being in a music video that they immediately respond "HOW HIGH?!" to his instruction instead of waiting him to actually say it. Thumbs up, Houstonians.
Together, Paul and Cham are way more hip-hoppy than you'd expect them to be. They bounce all over and hype each other's rhymes and do little mini-dances during the songs. It's good to see. They have a genuine chemistry. Thus far, the show is a success.