|Photo by Erik Hess|
With Greg Grease
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Wednesday, February 6, 201
Cam'ron played to decent-sized mainroom Wednesday night, but it had the feel of a show at Epic. The space was definitely nicer, the crowd livelier. But performance-wise -- yeah. It was short, but anticipated and enjoyed. A lot of standing warranted a bit more of a show, I'd hoped, but hey, he opened with "Killa Cam" and went into "Get 'Em Girls," and generally what he played was well-calibrated to keep the crowd happy.
Opener Greg Grease was a surprisingly appropriate opener, and gave a big set that included some excellent DJ work by Just Nine. It was a group effort, with a number of guest appearance from the likes of Meta, Mike Mictlan, I.B.E., Akrite, and Freez. The audience member going responsively hardest was actually Meta, standing backstage mouthing the words and pumping his fists. Grease can bring that smooth sound to any size stage and fit in on any bill, it seems, and even new listeners seemed to be drawn in. Just Nine had a portion of the set to beat-juggle and scratch a bit, displaying some classic hip-hop DJing, and Greg spit like he didn't have take a breath once. These guys are skilled.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Then we stood around for a while. The place was getting thicker. At least the in-between DJ who we couldn't see got to play some deep cuts, bringing some OJ Da Juiceman out of the woodwork at one point. Songs really are different on a club soundsystem so it was cool to hear "Beez In The Trap" and "Swimming Pools (Drank)" way too loudly but damn if I wasn't ready for the show portion to start.
When Cam'ron finally stepped forth into his opening song at ten to midnight, he came out strong and powered through favorites with a muted energy. He took advantage of the fact that people could shout his lyrics back to him (really, the songs are written pretty brilliantly to aid in memorization, simply put rhymes with a hook every three bars) and the involvement was fun. Midwest-minded in it's heart, "I Used to Get it in Ohio" especially went over well with a crowdsourced back-up chorus, as did the back-to-back super-hits "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma" because everyone remembered those songs from when they were teenagers. Songs like the slowed sample-heavy "Purple Haze" and the bouncy rhythms of "Speaking In Tongues" took on a new life in a live setting, and Cam proved how he owns beats as distinct as these.
|Photos by Erik Hess|
Still in all he did a half-hour set of mostly half-verses. Interspersed between songs were little stalling sessions including a sound test to see if anyone recognized their favorite top 40 hits when stripped away to nothing but bass and drum. An interesting thought experiment, sure, but maybe do a Ted talk about it and rap at your show. Cam was definitely on when he was on, but the delivery had a bit more Young Jeezy punch than his usually smooth tone. When he asked for weed to be thrown onstage for him, he seemed a bit more energized and picked up pace after a blunt or two. The closing of the set was strong but abrupt, and people were a little bewildered by what time they were leaving.
The Crowd: Thin initially, diverse, knew the lyrics.
Random Notebook Dump: "Remember to listen to 'Superman High' when you get home"
Overheard In The Crowd: "This is bullshit!"; "If he comes through, we should shake him up!"
Get 'Em Girls
Live My Life (Leave Me Alone)
I Used To Get It In Ohio
Bout It Bout It
Speaking In Tongues
I Really Mean It