Saturday Night: Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne & Friends At Toyota Center

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Photos by Marco Torres
Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Rick Ross, Bun B, Trae, Yelawolf, Travis Barker & Mix Master Mike, Twist, Shanell, Birdman
Toyota Center
April 16, 2011

7:22 p.m.: We had not planned on getting here until way later tonight, but Bun B mentioned on his Twitter that the show would start at 7:20 p.m. and when Bun B says something, you get your goddamn ass in gear. Sure hope our sons are okay.

The babysitter said she couldn't get to them until after 8 p.m., so we left them in an empty dumpster behind the Target in Meyerland. They should be fine. We took out the few glass bottles that were in there.

7:30: After a thorough little pat-down out front, we're in. As promised, Travis Barker and Yelawolf are on stage. Superb. There is a gigantic boombox that's been constructed on the stage. Barker is inside of the right speaker, while Mix Master Mike is inside of the left. Yela is stalking around the stage like a cat. Neat, neat, neat.

7:32: Yela's just segued into "Good To Go," which means...

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Travis Barker (left) and Mix Master Mike
7:33: Bun! Even when you know he's coming, it's still exciting for him to pop out. He's like Jason Voorhees, except he doesn't murder teenagers.

7:43: Jesus, Barker is an animal. He's all fire and brimstone up there. It's like he's trying to break his own arms using nothing but their own velocity. Is there another drummer in the world who can carry a live show like he can? He and Mike have just mashed together Nas and The Ramones.

It has to be a good sign when your opening act consists of one of the greatest drummers alive, one of the most heralded DJs in music, the man who delivered the most important verse in the history of Southern hip-hop ("Murder," 1996, Ridin' Dirty), and one of the most innately talented MCs of the new era.

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7:55: They've just raised a gigantic Rick Ross banner. The crowd is going apeshit right now. Gotta love the idea of everyone sitting around planning out the concert like:

Stage Coordinator: Okay, so Barker and Mike are going to have a giant, super impressive radio onstage that they'll play inside of, right?

Roadies: Right.

Stage Coordinator: That should take about 15 minutes to build, as long as the construction is on point. Cool, cool. Rick Ross goes on after him. What sort of stage stuff will have?

Roadies: Uh, a poster of himself.

Stage Coordinator: Fuckin' Rick Ross.

7:56: Show's starting. They're playing Sam Jackson's pre-murder monologue from Pulp Fiction along with the sound of footsteps. Subtlety is overrated, we suppose.

7:57: "M.C. Hammer"!

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8:00: Rick Ross just asked "You know why I love H-Town?!!!" Ten bucks says it's Discovery Green or the Metrorail. Those two things are awesome.

8:00:30: Whoops. Never mind. He said it's because everyday we're hustlin'. Whatevs, we didn't shake on it.

8:00:45: We saw Ross the last time he was in Houston and he did almost this exact same thing. He tends to start with, like, his best, most hype songs back to back to back. It's a great start; everyone goes yo-yo and all. But there's a lull in energy immediately afterwards. If his set is short, it shouldn't matter, but if it's long, it might be a problem.

8:18: Ugh. Is there a more deplorable group of people than the Workout Guys crew, the gathering of knuckleheads united by their dedication to (and inevitably poor understanding of) the human body? Those guys are the worst. They always workout just enough so that you can tell they workout, but not enough that you're particularly impressed by them. And they're always all shiny and shit.

8:21: And there's the Pimp C hat-tip. Cool, cool.

8:22: Trae! Man, good to see him. The crowd is receptive. He does "Inkredible" then bears off into the darkness. Did you know he and Wyclef are making music together now? Yep, yep. More on that later.

8:24: Meek Millz. Another way to say that: Restroom break time.

8:32: Rozay just dropped the "Who's got love for Tupac?" line on the crowd. Asking "Who's got love for Tupac?" at a rap concert is like asking "Who's made some regrettable life decisions?" at the graveyard shift staff meeting at Walmart; that shit's a given, son.

8:33: And Ross is done. Not a bad show at all. A small amount of downness, but generally he was pretty active. Wonder how long it will take them to get his stage props off the stag - they're done.

Location Info


Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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Phil Low
Phil Low

Listen to Lower Life Form


Your not the first one to dump a kid behind that Target. I practically grew up in that dumpster. Always funny on the recap. Seems like you were a little tired of Drake in your recap of his last H-Town show...guess absence makes the heart grow fonder.


Great review Shea!! Sad that I missed it but your review saved me from seeing workout guys and Halloween outfits.


"Is Wayne one of the greatest things to happen to music"

Interesting question. Going off his solo success thats somewhat true, and I think starting with Carter II you can see this. To me, I thought this was a better overall album than CIII. Sure that is a personal preference, but it was Wayne in the raw and had far less guess appearances which I prefer. While he seperated himself from the field with these two albums, all his other solo efforts are pretty much marginal.

Now, from a mixtape standpoint he without a doubt changed the way music will be released- it was historic. Correct me if I'm wrong, but all 3 Dedication mixtapes charted in the top 100. Combined with the sheer amount of (quality) music he was giving away (whats the official number, over 50..?) and he no doubt made an entire industry change the way it marketed iteself. It made nationally recognized artists go on mixtape blitzes, giving away shit they would have normally never even leaked. It spawned a resurgence of regional rap artists, who instead of using the tired old Myspace and Youtube formula actually found a better DIY approach, and begin acting as their own A&R's. The sheer number of quality mixtapes that have come out over the past 3 years is staggering- both locally and nationally. While both a gift and a curse (see the whole "rap is watered down argument") I think much of this will phase out over time and give us what we started with: regional artists making great music that holds massive weight on a national scale. Most recent example: The Weaknd's House of Ballons. Shit damn near buckled the internet due to demand.

I won't even delve into marketing and cross-over appeal, but good question Serrano. Only my take and I'm sure most will agree/disagree but shit, thats what the summation of the article intended to do.

**Side Note: Has Wayne been eating meat or working out. Little man looking mad healthy.

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