Monday, November 24, 2008


What’s up blog heads?

It’s been a minute, yeah? I won’t bother making excuses or anything. I blog when I’m motivated. I’m not necessarily motivated right now but considering the response from the blog on the first ThisDay Concert in 2006, I just feel I owe it to you blog heads to report on the first MTV African Music Awards with Zain. It will be broadcast November 29, 2008, apparently, across all MTV stations. This blog, however, is to report the event as it happened… well, from my POV anyway because most of the stuff that happened yesterday won’t make the telecast. 

Please note that side-comments of reported happenings just happen to be my opinion, on which all are free to disagree. This, after all, is Blog Marley’s house! The blog is about what my eyes witnessed but I have to throw in my 2¢ on that, no? Alright. Enough procrastinating. Let’s get into it. (I will be talking about the winners as I can’t really remember all the nominees. Click here for details) 

The Velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium, constructed for events like cycling, was our venue. It was a big circle with seating around the pit and a main stage - with extending catwalk (to the left, to the left) - was plopped at one end of it. There was about a 100m or more between the stage and media center which would be the mosh-pit/standing only area. There was also space on the other side of the catwalk for more “moshers”. The rest of us sat in the stands surrounding the “race pit” or whatever it’s called. The catwalk extended from the stage to the section of the audience where nominated artistes/celebs were sat. At the midpoint of the catwalk were the presentation podium and a big screen behind it. I believe there was a backstage entrance underneath the jumbo-tron but distance wouldn’t let me know for sure. 

For those who read the ThisDay blog, I have pics this time around but might as well not because I sat in VIP which was miles away from the stage (see the pic to try and figure out where who was i.e. main stage and catwalk). So a lot of outfits (which I only do for fashion lovers – I’m not one), names and statements might be wrong due to distance and bad audio. What can I say? This is Naija!




Doors were to open at 6pm. All guests were to be seated at 7.45pm. Show was to kick off 8pm. It “started” at 9.42pm. Here’s how it unfolded… 


MTV base Africa’s premiere VJ, Sizwe came onstage in a black suit and apologized for the delay, promising the show was starting in 15 minutes. So we waited. 

What the …?

I can’t remember if there was an announcement but the crowd started going ballistic as some dude walked on stage in dark shades, black suit & red waistcoat. He spoke into the mic like he was about to eat it causing some feedback which made it close to impossible to hear him. It just sounded like noise. People were laughing though, so I guess he appealed to some. He did his noisy set for about 10 minutes before (who I’m guessing is) the stage manager told him to pack it in. It turns out this was Warri comedian, I Go Die. At the point of his performance, it didn’t really seem like a bad idea… 

People are you ready?

Sizwe came back on stage to do his hype man thing and get the crowd ready for the MAMAs. He also told the crowd they needed to come with the energy and really raise their voices for the show. 

The jumbo-tron sparked to life with congratulatory messages from (I may have forgotten some folk) Kanye West, Femi Kuti, Estelle & Akon. The mosh-pit was going bonkers with sections of the crowd losing it as well at the sight of these stars that we didn’t actually hear their messages.


Then a typical award show intro (MTV style of course) came on to let us know what we were in for. It announced performances by PSquare, HHP, Jozi, Asa, D’Banj, Ikechukwu and many more (I think). Then they introduced our host, Trevor Nelson. Models with African flags (don’t think twas all flags though) came from either side of the stage (above pic) and got their flag waving catwalk on. From where I was, I honestly couldn’t really see “Treva” but heard the unmistakable Brit accent. He did the regular first ever in Africa, it’s going to be live, blah blah blah then introduced the first performer of the evening…


Baba ‘80

…Seun Kuti & Egypt ’80. That was a bit of a head scratch for a number of people but really, he is good and has his fans. He was dressed in that tight fitting adire (right? Kinda Zebra looking) outfit that his dad made popular. I may be wrong but honestly, it seemed fans were just happy the show had finally started. It was a typical “I’m not quite my daddy but I learned from him” performance. I can’t tell you what he was singing because I really wasn’t listening but I think he did medleys of the great Fela’s songs. You can’t fault his energy though. It was a decent performance but not special, really. 


It was odd that this was the first award but what do I know? Our presenters were Jay Jay Okocha (White shirt un-tucked; blue/purple tie; black jeans and white sneakers plus shaggy hair) & ex-Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (I think 07), Munachi (purple strapless, knee length skirt). Jay Jay in his “unique” accent addressed the crowd. After reeling off the nominees, the winner was no big surprise… D’Banj (black suit; black shirt; no tie; dark shades). He hit the stage with Don Jazzy (black trad – I believe; dark shades; gold cane) & his Mo Hits All Stars in tow. He started with his signature, “I’m D’Banj or Skeebanj like my Jamaican friends call me.” The audio was really bad and we couldn’t really hear but the crowd was in a frenzy.



Our presenters were Professor J (he was the one in the purple traditional cloak, right?) & I forget who. I’m not sure where the Prof is from but he’s our African brother. I can’t remember now what award they said they were there to present but I know they didn’t say best video. The award went to Ikechukwu (black suit; black shirt?; black tie?: dark shades) for “Wine Am Well” featuring Don Jazzy & D’Banj. For me, I felt people voted for either the artist or the song and not necessarily the video because honestly, there really isn’t anything too fantastic about the video. It beat out PSquare’s “Roll It” and Freshly Ground’s “Pot Belly” amongst others. Either way, congrats to the son of the soil. He came onstage with Naeto C (grey suit; white shirt; gold tie; dark shades) in tow along with (I believe) D’Banj & Don Jazzy. Rather bafflingly, however, for a best video award, he thanked everybody but the director. Hmm…


Strictly Come Dancing

Treva came back out, did a bit of MCing then introduced the next performance which was Nigeria’s PSquare versus South Africa’s Jozi. PSquare decked in all black (Peter or Paul, I don’t know, had on a head warmer, dark shades and pretty much a SWAT outfit while the other had on a black tee, black blazer, black pants & a black golf hat) took to the stage first and killed it with an ill performance of “Roll It” featuring some fab choreography. You have to give it to those guys. As they ran off the stage, Jozi ran on and started their routine. That was really impressive too but I had to give it to PSquare. However, they weren’t done yet, as team PSquare ran back onstage and they had a regular dance off a la You’ve Been Served and every other dance movie we’ve been tortured with in the past few years. It was maaaaaaaaaaaaad! My nod goes to Jozi on that one as they really brought it to Peter & Paul but it was a fantastic performance, regardless.


What the…? Part 2

I may be mistaken but I believe there was an announcement that the MAMAs would be back shortly or something. Well, it made sense for the taping but I thought we’d get right into it and keep the show going but no! the proceeded to show a Zain commercial on the big screen then when that was done, they showed T-Pain’s video to “Chopped & Screwed” featuring Ludacris. When that was done, they showed the Zain commercial again, then went into the “Wine Am Well” video. I thought this was a bit much but it’s MTV, they know what they’re doing, right?


You’ve got to be kidding me! (Also known as What the…? Part 2½)

I saw them setting up on a platform behind the media center and the crane cam was trained on them but I had no clue whatagwan. There were two girls on the platform and they started speaking in “unique” accents but LORD only knows what they were on about. Treva, wearing buba & sokoto joined them and basically, they were supposed to be funny but I didn’t get it. Hopefully, the telecast will shed light on this. They announced the next presenters…



The presenters were Samini (?) and DJ Cleo (brown jacket; tee & jeans – I think). DJ Cleo simulated scratching on turn tables while he was given matching Sfx in the background. This category was one of 2 I was really interested in because the nominees included HHP from SA, 9ice, Lil Wayne & The Game. And like Sisqo a few years ago at the V or EMAs, 9ice won the award! I can’t lie, that’s one dude I’m really, really happy for but his inclusion in the category was questionable (though understandable) and Weezy & Ice Cube 08 should not have been nominated in the first place at the MAMAs. No disrespect to 9ice, I really am happy for him but he’s not touch Weezy Wee right now. Nobody is! He knows that! However, kudos to Africans for keeping the vote African! 9ice (red jacket; white pants/jeans/white bucket hat – or was it a fedora?) came out and humbly accepted in a tired voice. (He’d performed at Zain’s TRU Search for the next Campus Superstar in Jos the night before).


Going Up!

No announcement was made but a guy in a white tee, black jeans and dark shades ran onstage and started spraying the moshers with champagne. I figured it was Olu Maintain because I couldn’t think of anyone else that would rush the stage in such a brazen manner. I was mistaken and apologize to the Leprechaun Pimp (shout out to heavenly Lilly) for falsely accusing him. A muscular guy in a black fitted pattern shirt with the word “rebel” on the front hit the stage and started rapping. It was Flo-Rida. This really amped the crowd even though a lot of them, well in VIP anyway, didn’t know who he was. He performed “In the Ayer” but sadly didn’t have Will.I.Am, Rick Ross & Brisco along for the track. After two verses (I think), the beat changed to his #1 hit “Low” and the crowd went bananas! He took off his tee shirt and had a black vest on exposing his biceps and tattoos for the ladies, a la his album cover. His performance was decent.



This was presented by Caroline Chikezie (red dress – I think) and Loyiso (brown suit – I think). A sad trend had become evident as majority of the crowd figured this was the Nigerian Music Awards and not the MAMAs because they only showed love for Nigerian artistes during the nominations. Shame. Anyway, this was D’Banj’s second award on the night, beating out Africa’s former darling and original face of MTV base Africa, 2Face Idibia. Sections of the crowd even declared 2Face over and done with. Shame. D’Banj treated the mic like a kokolette as he was more of kissing it than speaking into it.


Let’s Go There!

There was an interactive backdrop behind the main stage I’d failed to mention before this point. It lit up to reveal silhouettes behind it dancing. From the corner, we saw the white pants and red jacket. 9ice came out and dropped “Gongo Aso” on us, turning the place upside down. At different intervals in his performance, he’d stop, fold his arms and grill the crowd as they sang the words to his song. He’s a really good guy. He had fun out there doing some comical dance steps, even though I don’t think he meant them to be comedic. He had an over excited female dancer and I believe 3 hype men? It wasn’t the greatest performance but his charisma carried through.


What the…? Part 3

An announcement came up for Best Female to be presented by HHP. We waited for close to 2 minutes but nothing happened. I figured this threw the organizers off a bit because another announcement came up for…



…to be presented by Sizwe. Unlike other presenters before him that came from the main stage unto the catwalk, Siz came from underneath the big screen through the mosh pit, with the award already in his hand. With the other awards, the presenters walked to the podium and while the nominees were being read, the award and winner’s envelope were brought out to them. However, Sizwe did it different. He proceeded to say the Best New Act was a deserving individual, blah, blah and just yelled out Naeto C! Naeto was the expected winner (“Kini Big Deal” has to be top 5 songs of ’08) but they did him wrong with that half ass presentation. The cheerful dude came out with Ikechukwu in tow and he was quick to throw up his reverse peace signs to form the “W” for his World Famous Akademy group. Naeto thanked God, the fans and finally dedicated the award to his mom for raising him right. Before his speech was done though, stuff was being done that was really distracting to the whole thing. They did Naeto wrong man but kini big deal?


What the…? Part 4

I guess it was time for another commercial break because we saw that blasted Zain commercial again, then they play Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and 9ice’s “Street Credibility” videos. Then WT4 comes from when we “came back from commercial”. While the videos were running, the next performers had been taking their places onstage. It was a band of white dudes in black suits with the guitars, drums etc so I figured it was one of the South Africa Alt bands.

So, Treva comes back out and does some talking then he’s done.

Music blares from the speakers, the lead gets into rock star mode, part-screaming, gyrating and getting into the groove when the (I still think) stage manager walks up to him as he’s settling into his performance and whispers into his ear. So as our lead singer is chanting, ready to break into song, he goes, “And apparently, cut!”

Yup, he’d been asked to stop because Treva forgot to announce the band. So, the group gets back in formation and the lights are re-dimmed. Treva comes out and repeats all he’d just said. Yes, repeats it all and then announces that the next performance is a collaboration with South Africa’s Cassette (name of the band), Kenya’s Dua Cali (a rapper) and Nigeria’s Ikechukwu & Naeto C.

So, the Cassette lead singer does it again like we hadn’t seen it. Ha ha. He’s a good sport. Then the dreadlocked Jua Cali comes out in a white tee and black jeans, rapping to Cassette’s instrumentation. Then, Ikechukwu (green army jacket; blue jeans; dark shades) & Naeto (blue tee; blue jeans; dark shades; Shagari cap) step onstage and Ikechukwu declares that they’ve “rocked it south African style and they’ve rocked it east African style but can they rock it west African style like Wine Am Well?”

So they broke into a rock version of the song but Ikechukwu was drowned out by the drums through most of the set. There was a real cool bit where the four artistes got into formation in a horizontal line and did some side-stepping. That was cool. The music stopped (possibly with a bomb) and all four guys played musical statues. So with the reverb going, a section of us were awaiting the infectious, “Yes boss” call to come and Naeto to break into Kini Big Deal. I’m still waiting o!



It was presented by a member of the East African Bashment Crew and won by Seether and they said their thanks via video feed as they’re touring or something, to be frank, nobody really seemed to care. Shame. Oh, Coldplay was nominated too…



Originally announced as HHP to present, the honor switched over to Flo-Rider. He’d changed into a white short-sleeved shirt and was so happy to be in the Motherland. I’d been waiting on that one. Wahu (I believe from Kenya) won, beating Asa & Sasha. Some silly moshers were actually booing her as she gave her speech. It was quite disgraceful but she was too happy to be visibly shaken. Heck, she brought out her own mic so we could actually hear her.


So Good, they Named him Twice!

Treva came back on stage with Jay Jay who had given him a Super Eagles jersey as a gift. He went on about Okocha being one of the best to ever play in England but sadly for Bolton and not his beloved Chelsea. Whatever! He asked Jay Jay if he could do some tricks with a ball and he duly obliged. Jay Jay proceeded to do seamless keepy uppies and it was like a stroll in the park. He really enthralled the fans and capped it off by kicking the ball into the crowd.


“Music & Lights”

The next performance was from by the lost but found SA rapping teddy bear, HHP. He had on khakis and a brown shirt with his name & logo etched into the back of it. He rocked the stage solo (well, there were a few back up drummers) but slowly won the hearts of fans. I was feeling it all through though. He was okay and the people seemed to have taken to him.


Child of Destiny… the other one!

Treva came back out wearing the Nigerian jersey and introduced the next person on stage, Ms. Kelly Rowland. Before she came out, the big screen showed a video of her visit to East Africa as an ambassador for something I now forget. She spoke on how she first got in and saw the coast and everything, thinking it was great just like Miami until they took her to the hood, hood! Yup!



Ms. Kelly came out in a nice, white dinner dress??? It was sparkly and really nice. She came from beneath the screen and the crowd did their bonkers thing. She didn’t say Best R&B but hey, the nominee video started playing. Kelly opted to busy herself with blowing kisses to the audience. This was the second award I had issues with. PSquare was nominated alongside Akon, Alicia Keys & Rihanna! Come on! Alicia Keys won and as Kelly was ready to accept the award on behalf of “her girl”, Ms. Keys’ face appeared on the jumbo-tron to give her thanks.


What the…? Part 5

Commercial break!!! “Love Lockdown” video by Kanye West.


Crooked Officer

Next to perform was Asa. She came out in a dark blazer, dark shirt & blue jeans. She just struck me as a cross between Tracy Chapman & (all together) Lauryn Hill. She had a band with guitarists, violinist, drummer & back-up singers, maybe more. I know Asa for her guitar work but she just handled the mic for this rendition of “Jailer”. She was high energy and the crowd responded in kind. It was raised a notch when HHP, now in a black tee & black jeans came back onstage and rapped a verse on the track. It was fantastic. And the pair also proved a comic success as their odd dance steps were quite engaging. Also funny was when lil Asa grabbed this large man and dragged him to the catwalk where another dance off occurred. They went back to the main stage and closed with a hug between nappy locks and the teddy bear!



This was presented by a member of Goldfish and Nameless. D’Banj finally lost out in a category as the award went to Jozi. After their acceptance speech, Trevor intercepted their exit and said they had to do a little something. He searched out their beat boxer who did a mad rendition of “In the Jungle”. The other members slowly got into the groove and eventually gave us a sweet impromptu performance on the catwalk. Bananas!


You Think I’m Playing? a.k.a. What the…? Part 6

Trevor said he wouldn’t tell us about the next guy’s life because he’d tell us himself and proceeded to announce The Game.

He came onstage wearing a brown LA Dodgers fitted hat on tilt, a brown bomber jacket (heat no dey kill you?); white tee; gold Jesus piece and black jeans. Before he could take 5 steps on the catwalk, about 7 guys jumped on stage to touch, hug and surround him. Credit to Game because he handle it well and smiled as they were all going crazy and grabbing him. Then the big dudes and Nigeria’s finest (not!) rushed the stage to get them off. He then settled into his performance and the energy in the building was crazy. This time, like 3 jokers jumped on stage this time and the only word to describe what happened was “lifted”, as in, bouncers lifted these guys up and out of there. So, while they were doing this, some clown got on the catwalk from the top and started to stroll casually towards Jayceon Terrell Taylor, as in, leisurely stroll towards dude. It was a point of the finger, accompanied by a “loving” shove that got rid of that twat!

After two verses of “My Life”, the beat stopped and game took off the bomber jacket and said it was great to be in the Motherland so they had to take it there! The drums to “It’s Okay (One Blood)” kick in and it’s 3 words: PAN… DE… MO… NIUM! That’s four words? See what I mean! And he knows it too because he has a sheepish grin on his face as he tucks his chain then takes off the white tee and expose his tatted out torso. He drops a few bars to the song and then drops the mic suddenly and saunters off stage with his jeans hanging somewhere between his ass and knees. I guess he’d finally had enough of these “savages” but either way, he’d straight killed it!


What the…? Part 7

Commercial Break!!! As if to make up for the impromptu closing, they run the video to The Game’s “Dope Boys”. And please believe that all these commercial breaks have featured this Zain commercial. Pah!



This was presented by Nigerian MTV VJ, Cynthia. She wore a white knee length dress and was mainly inaudible. The award was for viewers who had sent in a 1 minute video of whatever they wanted. This young dude and his sister (missed their names, she directed) did a parody of “Kini Big Deal” that was really funny. The crowd ate it up. Nice won (pun unintended but clearly left behind J). Dude ended his speech with an annoying “YES WE CAN!” though. Guess he think he’s Barack O’MAMA now, huh? If you think about it though, yes I can really wasn’t out of place because they did though! They have an MTV Award. Kini big deal? Yes boss!



This was presented by Sasha (purple, strapless mini-dress) & Mama Do Bling (Mozambique – I think in red tank top & black baggy jeans). They tried a French & Saunders-esque improve. Um… no. Finally, PSquare, who must have been waiting to blow a gasket, finally won an award. My laptop might explode if I try to transcribe their acceptance speech because their accents have to be the most “unique”. One in town, huh? Which, huh that is, followed every statement by the way. Peter or Paul (them be one no be two) had to tenk the mother of his son, Ms. Lola Omotayo. So what happened to Ifunaiya, then?



Slap yourself if you didn’t say Fela. I already slapped myself but that’s just because I didn’t think they’d give it out posthumously. They ran a video of his life and you just have to love the guy. When he explained the meaning of his name, Anikulapokuti, that was special. He said it meant he had death in his pocket and he couldn’t die. Someone smirked at that but I said that this video was testimony to that for his soul clearly lives on. Yeni & Seun accepted on behalf of the fam but said they were in no hurry to personally hand it over to daddy.


I actually left out a dedication to Miriam Makeba but I can’t remember where exactly that fell in. Rest in Peace ma’am.


What the…? Part 8

Trevor announced it was all over and that was it. He had to be having a laugh was what I thought. How do you just end like that? Of course Nigerians started heading for the exits but he said before we go, we should welcome…


Move your Body (for) my Snake Ma!

…Ms. Kelly Rowland back to the stage. Ah, so that’s what all those KR boards on the stage were for. I see. She came out unto the catwalk wearing a black suit and white blouse. She was singing a song I didn’t recognize (and I’ve had her album for a minute) so I wasn’t really paying attention, instead, scanning for my people plus mapping my escape route. She broke into “Bump Like This” so I focused back on my 4th wife. She wasn’t really doing much but dropped a few steps here and there. I still don’t know where he came from but a guy in a black suit and green tee was onstage all of a sudden and started screaming, “Filè! Filè!” before breaking into, “Mo wa talented, yes mo wa gifted!” Yup, D’Banj had jumped on stage and was rapping his “Tongolo” verse on Kelly’s song. That boy has too much energy. They really saved the best for last! They had dance offs a la the end of Grease and D’Banj added his opening verse from “Do You Like the Koko? (Tongolo Remix)” as well. He then proceeded to show Kelly how it’s done with continuous demonstrations of his anaconda! It was the way to send us home.


Party till MAMA comes calling… she’s here!

Cynthia came on stage to thank the fans and then bizzounced… like I did!



Well, that’s what I saw and how I saw it too. I believe I may have forgotten some stuff and will updated as it comes back to me but it’s 0207hrs and I have work to go to for 0830hrs. I believe I deserve a rest. Later in the week, I will drop Bonus Coverage featuring stuff around the event like how I, no joke, I, got Treva & Sizwe into the After Party. They probably won’t remember but LORD is my witness, as are some others. Here’s a pic of them with my boy Stone (a future MAMA winner, I said it!) after I’d sorted them. No joke.


Okay you knuckleheads. Till motivation flirts with me again… GET OUT MY HOUSE!



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

jay-z's kingdom come: the review

Jay-Z announced his retirement from the game in 2003. Nobody believed him. His numerous guest appearances did not help his case much either. After all, he is the self proclaimed Michael Jordan of Rap, right? Well, His Airness left the game he dominated at the top but came back. Twice! After the long draught and all the guessing games, the speculation is ended. Fresh off an international tour, “Young is back!” And so is New York. At least, that’s what he claims on Kingdom Come. Here’s my breakdown.

The Prelude
It features an appropriate intro from the movie, The Mack where a pimp trying to change his stripes is quizzed on how he intends to survive without the hustle, apparently all he knows. This is the Jay-Z story; embodied in lines like: "Forget this rap shit, I need a new hustle/a little bit of everything, the new improved Russell/I say that reluctantly cuz I do struggle/As you see, I can't leave so I do love you/ but I'm just a hustler disguised as a rapper/In fact, you can't fit this hustle inside of a rapper." The beat is simple and he flows effortlessly on it as he tells his tale of how he rose to the level he’s at now. A decent little track to get the ball rolling.

Oh My God
Just Blaze dips into his bag of tricks again and brings those drums out to play. Jay-Z on his part comes out and gets his swagger on, bragging on how he’s been the man and younger rappers don't come close. He even references 'Mama Naija' to try and get his point across: "Shooting airballs at the basket/what you call money, I pay more in taxes/I got crowned King down in Africa/out in Niger(ia)/do you have any idea/sold out shows, albums whole career/Jo'burg, Dublin, Tanzania/Lunch with Mandela, dinner with Cavali/Still got time to give water out to everybody/Everybody, fall back!" The best bit of the track though, has to be the playful hook with the blonde chicks going, “Oh My God... Hov!”

Kingdom Come
"Now I don't know what life will be, in H-I-P-H-O-P without the boy H-O-V; not only NYC, I'm hip hop's savior, so after this flow you might owe me a favor." That's how Young Hovito starts the track to bring himself, New York and hip hop as a whole back. Lyrically, this song is on point. The beat is sweet, the flow is perfect and he gets his point across. The hook does let it down a bit but the verses are superb. Plus ending each verse as a top superhero (Superman: "Just when you thought the whole world fell apart/I take off the blazer, loosen up the tie, step in side the booth, Superman is alive"; Spiderman: "Flash Gordon when recording/spark a light in the dark/Peter Park(er), Spiderman, all I do is climb the charts" and then Batman: "The Bruce Wayne of the game have no fear/when you need me just throw your Roc signs in the air/Yeah!") was a brilliant touch.

Show Me What You Got
It was hard to believe that this was his comeback single for real but it grows on you, especially after hearing it on blast at the club. It is a very playful track and clearly done for the ladies to dance to. He is at his witty best as far as lyrics go (“I got a drop/I just took off the top/it’s your turn”) and the playful hook gets you singing along on the dance floor. It is the simplicity of it that makes it hot.

Lost Ones featuring Chrissette Michelle
This is a collection of three brilliant verses and an expertly sung hook by newcomer Michelle. It is without a doubt one of the album’s bright spots. The opening line directed at his ex-partners sets the tone for the track: "I heard mu'fuckas saying they made Hov/made Hov say ok so, make another Hov!"

Do U Wanna Ride featuring John Legend
If you put Jay-Z, Kanye West and John Legend together in a room, you will expect nothing short of magic to occur. On this track, the trio does not disappoint. Jigga’s lyrics, Kanye’s music and Legend’s soulful crooning equals hot track. Period. The opening lines are riveting and represent things that make you go hmmm: "You know why they call The Project, A Project?/because it's a project/an experiment/we're in it only as objects/and the object is for us to explore our prospects..."

30 Something
Jay rides this Dr. Dre banger superbly as he draws a clear demarcation between himself and younger rappers. The lyrics are also interesting and very fitting as he throws lethal jabs in this game of verbal slap boxing such as: “I’m afraid of the future/ya’ll respect the one who got shot/I respect the shooter.” Make sense, don’t it?

I Made It
A nice soulful track with befitting complementary flow and lyrics. Jay is always best on these introspective, personal tracks but this one may be a bit too much. It is a good track by all means but you feel you’ve heard it before, with lines like: "I told you one day, I'd get you a home/I didn't know it could possibly be in Rome." This is basically the problem with this album, nothing really new or surprising from Shawn Corey. Honestly though, I like it a lot but in the grander scheme of things, this should have been for mama's ears only.

Anything featuring Pharrell & Usher
Jay-Z should not have boarded the Neptunes mother ship for this one. It has him summoning the double time spitting flow again but Pharrell might have gone a bit too far with this one and Usher appears uncomfortable on the hook. Jay manages to ride the beat and talk to the ladies ("No roof on my car but I got mirrors on the ceiling/I spread bread on the bed, ever had sex on these millions")but I think Mr. Williams made this with himself in mind because I can hear him doing this song on his own.

Hollywood featuring Beyonce
No disrespect to R. Kelly but Jay-Z and ‘his girlfriend’ have, over their six collaborations, appeared to be the Best of Both Worlds. Since “03 Bonnie & Clyde” they still manage to excite fans when they deliver a one two punch. The bounce on this one is crazy and they both ride it like the superstars they are. "Paparazzi spots me in the lobby of my highrise/I hide, behind my shades, because the fame is blinding my eyes/My God...Born in Brooklyn, got a place in Manhattan/Going back to Brooklyn to escape the madness!" Lights. Camera. Action.

Jay-Z and this beat seem to be in disagreement as he sounds to be moving ahead of it all over the track. Some gems do manage to sneak in though, like: "but if my chick leave me, she gonna leave me for something/she gon leave me cuz Halle, she ain't gonna leave me for nothing.../if my hand's in the cookie jar, know one thing/I'ma take the cookie, not leave my ring."

Dig a Hole featuring Sterling Simms
The thumping bass and supercharged vocals of Mr. Simms get one up on Hov on this one. On this dis track to the DipSet, his sharpest darts are: "We've forgotten our history, let's open our Bibles/it's like the Disciples dissing JESUS becoming his rival/.../I keep my enemies close/give them enough rope/they put themselves in the air/I just kick away the chair/.../Only time you went plat/my chain was on your neck, that's an actual fact/.../Niggas playing checkers with chess playing Hov/this game is over, I dunno if ya'll know/you're in a hole!" The beat and hook outshine young H-O’s lyrics on an average track.

Minority Report featuring Ne-Yo
Jay-Z’s flow is dumbed down to a whisper to convey the sincerity of his concern on the state of affairs in the world around him. The riveting piano loop and rainfall in the background are the best parts of this song. Both Jay & Ne-Yo seem uncomfortable riding this track but Hov manages to drop some thought provoking jewels of knowledge on his solitary verse that make you go hmmm, like: "Silly rappers cuz we got a couple Porshes/MTV stop by to film our fortresses/we forget the unfortunate/sure I ponied up a mil but I didn't give my time/so in reality, I didn't give a dime or a damn/I just put my monies in the hands of the same people that left my people stranded/nothing but abandoned!"

Beach Chair featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay
This song starts off as a brilliant collaboration that no one would have dreamt of before Jay-Z retired. Messrs Carter and Martin complement each other beautifully on this one and you are transferred to another dimension beyond this earth. The Coldplay frontman's sonic masterpiece is blessed by possibly Jigga's deepest narrative ever in his letter to his unborn daughter: "Karma's got me fearing like, Colleek are you praying for me/see I got demons in my past so I got daughters on the way/if the prophesy's correct, then the child should have to pay/for the sins of the father/so I barter my tommorows/against my yesterdays/and hopefully she'll be okay/and when I'm no longer here/to shade her face from the glare/I give her my share of Carol's Daughter and a new beach chair." However, after about two minutes, the song gets tedious and you are just waiting for it to end. A good effort but they seem to lose it towards the end. Unfortunately.

So in the final analysis, this is a good album but not the great album Jay spoke about. It plays like a sequel to The Black Album as it pretty much follows the same pattern. The album proves, however, that lyrically, Jay is still up there with the best of them, that is, if he isn’t the best himself. The problem is that he is saying stuff he has said a million times over, just in a new way (and that is not always the case, really). Before the album was done, he said he needed about two more songs for it to be great. I guess he didn’t get those songs then. This is an 8 out of 10 at best. Not bad for a rap album; but this isn’t just any rap album; this is the god MC's comeback album! The Michael Jordan of rap!

Well, I guess this is the Washington Wizards album then.

Blog Marley out like Hov’s new CD! Go cop it now!

Friday, November 17, 2006

jay-z's kingdom come: an overview

When Jay-Z announced that The Black Album would be his last album, many felt abandoned, some thought it was long overdue but majority felt he was joking. He can’t quit, they mused. He said it himself, ‘Can’t leave rap alone, the game needs me!’ However, in an interview with XXL (December 2003), he said he may release another album in 2 or 3 years but at that point was uninspired by rap so was done. Many missed that and that is why his un-retirement has been heavily scrutinized. Anyway, 3 years, a Roc-A-Fella breakup, an R. Kelly bust up, a Linkin Park collaboration, a Def Jam Presidency, a slew of guest appearances, a Nas reconciliation, a Cristal boycott and a World Tour later, the apparent CEO of Hip Hop is back with a brand new album, Kingdom Come.

The question must be asked though, what more does Hov possibly have to say? In a 10 year run that saw him release 8 albums (not including the Streets Is Watching soundtrack, MTV Unplugged, two Best of Both Worlds albums with R. Kelly and Collision Course with Linkin Park), win numerous awards and garner upwards of 20 million in sales, he’s ‘been through it all and done it all.’ So what really is the reason for his return after the world had gotten used to his absence? Was it that Dr. Dre phone call and ‘gift package’? The overwhelming response from his trip around the globe? The South’s ‘takeover’ of hip hop? While all these questions most likely be answered in the positive, it can all be summed up in two words… the love!

After hearing his first single back, “Show Me What You Got” though, many were in serious doubt as to whether he still had it like he once did. Jay-Z loyalists even had to question President Carter’s reasoning for releasing this single as several reckoned it paled in comparison to his previous efforts. Alleged haters concluded that it was garbage and it clearly indicated how he now relied on his name to sell music and not on the actual songs themselves. Regardless of all the feedback – positive and negative – the fact still remains that Gloria’s youngest is back in the booth and his 9th album’s coming. Hate it or love it.

The following is a breakdown of the tracks and what they appear to be saying. This is not from an inside source at Roc-A-Fella or something but merely what the writer has grasped from listening to the tracks. Also, this should not be mistaken as a review either. That will follow shortly. Get your mind right people.

The Prelude
The (almost) prerequisite intro. He basically tells the story (again) of how he got to where he is, coming from where he’s coming from. He reminds you of how he’s not a rapper, he’s a hustler. It just happens he knows how to rap (see “Intro/A Million and One Questions/Rhyme No More” from In My Lifetime, vol.1). It features an interesting story telling verse but personally, I think this was the perfect opportunity to bring Pain In Da Ass back: “Okay, I’m reloaded!”

Oh My God
The ‘yep, I done did it again’ track. Basically, this is to tell you (again) that Jay is the man and like Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This.” Like we needed another reminder, really.

Kingdom Come
The title track cum ‘taking New York back’ song. With the South’s apparent takeover of hip hop, which rightfully belongs to New York, hence signaling the death of the art form, ‘King Hov’ takes it upon himself to bring hip hop, New York and Jay-Z the emcee back. He’s Superman, Spiderman and Batman rolled into one on this one.

Show Me What You Got
The ‘I still got this’ cum lead single. Jay-Z at his braggadocious best. You’ve seen the video, right? This is done to cancel any doubts that the flow is platinum and the kid is diamond. A two for one special as a playful track that screams he isn’t playing. In essence, another ‘ya’ll ain’t messing with Hov’ track.

Lost Ones featuring Chrissette Michelle
As the intro says, “It’s not a dis song, it’s just a real song.” This track was made to set the record straight. The first verse summarizes the dissolution of Roc-A-Fella with his partners. The second verse has the world concluding it is for Beyonce as she is the obvious choice but if that is the case, then they have either broken up or broke up at some point in the past. Another chick pre-B, perhaps? Rosario Dawson, maybe? And the final verse addresses the guilt he feels regarding the death of his nephew in the jeep he bought him.

Do U Wanna Ride? featuring John Legend
The ‘keep ya head up’ cum ‘I got you homey!’ song. This is a letter, or as Jay puts it ‘an open scribe through the airwaves’, to his incarcerated homeboy/cousin Emory (not sure of the spelling there) Jones, talking of how they came up and what has happened since he got locked up and how he has got his back when he is released.

30 Something
The ‘maturation of Jay-Z Zee’. The song separating him from the current hit makers highlighting that he’s grown now, so can’t do the things he used to do before. As he says, 30s the new 20!

I Made It

A song for mama. Reminding his mother of how he promised her he’d take care of her and the family one day. A tribute to Gloria Carter for raising him right in essence.

Anything featuring Pharrell & Usher
The ‘let’s try something different’ track. This is one for (about) the ladies and he gets the heartthrobs to ride with him on this one. It features an interesting Neptunes beat.

Hollywood featuring Beyonce
The (apparently) prerequisite ‘me and my girlfriend’ track. Hov and B hook up for the 7th time (on wax that is) to bring you more syrupy, back and forth vocals. This time around they highlight the ups and downs, highs and lows; and the good, the bad and the ugly of the entertainment capital of the world.

The ‘it ain’t my fault’ record. He addresses the issues surrounding him from the Def Jam Presidency, to his relationship with Beyonce, the alleged baby by Free and beef with other rappers amongst other things. Like the hook goes: “I tried to pretend that I’m different but we’re all the same.”

Dig a Hole featuring Sterling Simms
The ‘do you know who I am’ cum dis record. A response track to rappers calling him out but primarily ex-employee Cam’Ron. “Dig a hole, g’head, bury yourself.”

Minority Report featuring Ne-Yo
The (seemingly) prerequisite ‘conscious’ song. Jay plays the responsible, concerned celebrity with this politically charged track that not only calls out the government and powers-that-be but also looks inwards to accept his own guilt.

Beach Chair featuring Chris Martin of Coldplay
The ‘out of this world’ cum ‘never saw it coming’ collaboration. He has touched on them being friends for a minute so this was inevitable. The song is a letter to his unborn child, or maybe children as he speaks to/on both sexes.

So that is, in essence, what to expect from Kingdom Come, the ‘comeback’ album of Mr. Roc-A-Fella. Fourteen tracks on a personal level but pretty much along the same lines as The Black Album. No guest rappers, all sixteens spat by Hov himself a la the aforementioned album. It is now left to be seen what happens when the Kingdom officially comes on November 21.

“New York, New York we back!”

Look for the record review coming soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

thisday music festival october 7th & 8th, 2006

Like I said in my humble pie post, due to mis-information, I did not have my camera, so at this point do not have any photo's to accompany this post (apart from the ones I just nicked recently, hee hee) and by the time I do, you'll probably have seen pics anyway, so just manage with text please. Anyway, minus pics, without much further ado, I bring to you (haven't said that in a minute):

1st Annual THISDAY Independence Music Festival

Originally billed to perform were Jay-Z, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, En Vogue & Ciara on the foreign scene and King Sunny Ade, Tuface Idibia, D'banj, Weird MC, Majek Fashek and some others I cannot remember on the local scene.

October 7
in the beginning

Jay-Z, presently on a United Nations & MTV "Water for Life International Tour" first stopped in Kwara State for the commissioning of a bore hole project (if I am not mistaken) on Saturday morning.

He was photographed in the newpapers wearing an agbada and fila shaking hands with Dr. Bukola Saraki, Executive Governor of the state. It ain't all about the bling people.

He was also turbaned by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari on his 'return to the motherland' abi his first trip.

You know how 'Afrocans' do.

Apparently, he got a street named after him: Shawn Jay-Z Carter Road.

Awolowo Road was lined with seemingly adequate security, with guys dressed in white 'Dogg' T-Shirts, some holding dogs (German Shepherds, Rotts, Pitts etc) and others baseball bats. It's on now. The show was billed to start at 1pm but being staged in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, you know African time had to be lived up to to the max. This segment and the Sunday segment will be from word on the street as I only went for Saturday's show. The stage was finally put together at about five pm (don't quote me on this bit but I was told it was done rather late) and rushed sound checks were conducted to check the equipment. To this effect, the late start that is, the Nigerian acts were cancelled which made most happy but we do have some excellent performers, be it one or two songs at a time. After preliminary check ups and frantic setting up, all was good to go.

calm before the storm
Around 7pm, the concert venue, Lagos Polo Club on Awolowo Road was buzzing with life as many had started filling into the grounds. The separation between the VIP and common folk was rather wide and you had to wonder if the VIP would actually fill out. Then half the common stand was cruelly blocked out by the media center, bang in the middle, where filming, post production and other technical activities (I would like to think) were going on. I found it rather unfair but thanked GOD his light shone on me and I was able to get up front. What was more displeasing than the cruelty to fans was the VIP arrangement. It just further exhibited Nigerians lack of know how. At possibly the biggest concert in Africa ever, there were chairs arranged in front of the stage. Yup! Those white plastic chairs that grace every occasion. Then off to the side, more chairs surrounding the round tables. What a disaster. With old folks and dignitaries cracking dry jokes about Beyonce. How sad. But this is not about them.

At about 7.30pm, the MC walks unto the stage. He is one Tony Okungbowa (I think) who apparently works on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. He was ok, only that he spent too much time trying to detail how he wasn't so naija but he was sha. Whatever. He was in a green Polo Shirt, cream khaki shorts and green sneakers. He went on a bit but started the show off with the first act of the night. The legendary...

en vogue
The Funky Divas hit the stage to raucous applause but I'm not sure if this is because of the ladies themselves or because the show was finally starting. I was personally thrilled. They came out in black tops and blue jeans and if I am not mistaken, they began their set with "My Lovin' (Never Gonna Get It)" and the crowd sang and danced along. It was right up the old folks alley as they rocked too. The ladies were clearly very excited to be there as they really played to the crowd like the seasoned professionals they are. They toyed with the crowd and spoke to us all through, cracking jokes as they went along. "Man it's hot out here, ya'll hot? Yeah! ha ha ha." They went through more of their hits and had the audience's attention all through their 30 minute (or thereabout) set. They did a sung rendition of their classic duet with Salt N Pepa "Whatta Man" and the way they flipped it was incredible! Singing Salt N Pepa's rapped parts was completely off the hook. They went into performance mode (with the chairs and all) for "Giving Him Something He Can Feel", got the crowd involved with pumping fists for "Free Your Mind" plus grown men singing along to the smash hit from the Set It Off soundtrack "Don't Let Go (Love)". They also performed a song from their first album which escapes me now but it was top drawer as well. Dawn (Robinson) was not expected to come along and while Maxine (Jones) and Terry (Ellis) were definitely there, the third (if I am not mad) did not introduce herself as Cindy (Herron) who has to be the finest of the bunch (Dawn is the hottest though). When Maxine went accapella for her rendition of The Jackson Five's "Who's Loving You", the crowd went crazy because they knew what was coming up... their 1990 debut single "Hold On". We clearly (to my surprise) appreciated them and they showed us mad love back, thanking us for a good time before exiting the stage to well deserved applause.

intermission one
Tony came back on and did the whole MC thing. He asked who was coming up next and someone shouted MC Hammer. He went on for a bit with the dude and got him good, so points to him for that. "Somebody buy that guy a CD or something, he needs to roll with the times. Let me look at you. No wonder. You dress like him too. What? I'm not Nigerian? What's my name? What colors have I got on? I will have you know that I am the proud owner of a Nigerian Passport!" (At this point, I'da ended it with 'U Can't Touch This, Hammer' but alas, he ain't me). After dragging things for a bit and claiming he couldn't pronounce his surname, he announced the next act...

With her DJ (a good Jazze Pha imitator) mixing on the ones and twos, a collection of male and female dancers rushed the stage from left and right, and broke into frenzied dance routines like they were on E or something. Then I swear Michael Jackson came out next as the Atlantan representer came out looking more like 'the troubled one'. She was in a white shiny jacket, a bra top and baggy-as-a-sack pants with white sneakers. Oh, and dark glasses too with the mic headset on for full mobility. They danced to "Lose Control" first I believe then she broke into "Goodies" and had the crowd singing along. During that set, she frantically took off the jacket and threw it to the floor to reveal a svelte, toned body. She then went into a rendition of tracks from fellow Atlantans T.I. & Young Jeezy (I think) and had as all throwing our "A's" into the air. I am not really a fan, so half of what she did was lost on me and she kept running back stage almost after every song before she'd jump back out. I will say this though... shorty can dance! She and her crew did an array of moves that were off the meat rack! And the bass was too crazy at one point that the speakers were struggling to handle it. She threw a lot of T-Shirts into the crowd which actually had a pregnant woman and the rumored VP of GTBank fighting for one that either got a hand on. (Oh, the pregnant woman won too) She then came out and in the funniest accent ever and asked, "Bawo ni?" before she declared "Mo nife yin" which for the non-Yoruba speaking cats means I love you (direct translation: I have your love). We all laughed and screamed back "We love you too!" She declared how happy she was to be here. That it was a shame she wasn't staying for long but she would definitely be back if that was ok with us. On cue, everyone shouted "YES!!!" Then the madness continued. More dancing and more songs I don't know. LOL. A mic stand was brought out for a slow song I don't know but it was alright I guess. She did her parts from "Like You" and "So What" which I knew so that was cool. Then her dancers came out one after the other to bust a move and we bad kids in my sect screamed "Go white girl! Go white girl!" when her caucasian dancer got jiggy with it. She then came out with a ripped T-Shirt tied over her top half like a kite, i.e. it was tied at the waist and over the shoulders (right), clearly ready to th'ow down! As the DJ was preparing for the finale, she told him to hang on. "I see where you're going with this so I gotta do this first. You guys have been wonderful. I've had a great time and like I said before, it means so much to me to be here but it's a shame I can't stay too long but I have to capture this moment. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna get my camera and take a picture of ya'll. Ya'll are truly beautiful." CLICK! "Mo nife yin." She then ended it with "1, 2 Step" by collapsing in a heap as part of her routine. It took her a while to get up and we were actually quite worried. She got up, we applauded and she said "e se" before disappearing for the last time.

intermission two
Tony came back out and decided to get the crowd involved. While DJ Cassidy (a white dude) was searching for tunes on his turntables (and laptop & ipod - cheat), another set of turntables was wheeled into the center of the stage. Tony asked for members of the audience to come up stage if they knew old school and he would give out prizes. The DJ would play a song and you had to tell him what song it was. First dude went up in his dark glasses and Punisher T-Shirt but the Prince song played (someone in the crowd told me, shh) sounded like French to him. He got booted off stage as no one cared he thought it was old school hip hop. Next was a chick and I'm not even sure of the song either. She was escorted off via backstage. And last was another chick named Glory, who Tony recognized 'from the club last night.' They played a Run DMC track that the whole crowd was screaming but the ('scuse me) silly chick was busy dancing and got it wrong but tried to stay on stage. Booted. He then introduced the Thisday Publisher as Mr. Nduka because 'his last name is too hard to pronounce'.

thisday publisher
Mr. Nduka went on to do the whole recognition thing and said the next act would come on after the Lagos State Governor came up to say a few words. You know the entire crowd booed that announcement. He went on about how people doubted (I was chief doubter) but they did it and it will be on every year. He then brought everybody and their mama out to say something (but no Guv'na) before he finally says, "So sit back for the master himself, Jay-Z." I thought that was hilarious. But the show must go on.

Tony asked who was up next. We all thought it was Beyonce but still shouted "Hova! Hova! Hova!" (I started that by the way). Remember the turntables I spoke about? Two light skin-ded brothers walk up to them and I'm like, "Oh my GOD! It's Lenny S!" People around me (and I'm sure you guys) were like, "Who?" And I go "Lenny S! Lenny Santiago. Jay-Z's DJ. The Roc DJ!" And everyone is just like, "Ok. Whatever." Then Tony goes, "Who's coming up next?" "HOVA!!!" "Ya'll need to make more noise than that people or he's not coming out! I've been telling them that you live so don't make me look like a liar. They need to here that noise to know you wanna see them. Who's coming on next?" "HOVA! HOVA! HOVA!" "Ok. They feel you don't know their stuff. So when I say 'If you're feeling like a pimp playa' you say?" "GO ON BRUSH YO SHOULDERS OFF!" "Yeah! Where's he from?" I shout, "MARCY!", not sure what anybody else says. "Yeah! And what label does he own?" "ROC-A-FELLA" "And what clothes does he wear?" "ROCAWEAR" "Ok you guys, the next performer is, to me, the greatest MC of all times. Ladies and gentlemen..."

The DJ goes to work mixing Jigga hits, first starting with Kanye's "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" then "Diamond is Forever", "What They Gonna Do", "Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)", Punjabi MC's "Beware of the Boys" and a few others. While the crowd is still going nuts, the skit from Gladiator comes on: "Are you not entertained?" and the roars increase. The god himself steps on to the stage in shades, a black Tee, Baggy Jeans, Black timbs and that roc-a-fella chain blinging and goes into "What More Can I Say?" and the Nigerian Flag covers the Big Screen behind him. It was too mad!!! Before we can catch our breath, he goes into "P.S.A." and re-intoduces himself, with the video showing on the big screen plus the names HOV & HOVA being displayed and spelled alternately. He ends the song and waits for the applause to die down, trying to ice grill but he can't help but crack a smile. He introduces Lenny S, who hasn't been on the decks and introduces the DJ on duty as the legendary DJ Green Lantern. It all makes sense now. He then invites Memphis Bleek on stage, who comes in, looking rather round, in the customary black hat to the back, white do rag, white tee, black jeans and white sneakers and they go into (I believe) "U Don't Know". He runs through a string of his tracks: his verse from "Can I Get A...", "Dirt off your Shoulder" (Live feed of the concert showing on the big screen but with Predator-perspective effects added), "99 Problems" (video showing on big screen), "H.O.V.A. (Izzo)" (video showing on big screen), "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)", "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me) (hmm... did big screen show?)" and "Jigga My Nigga". The crowd never piped down once and he was clearly shocked but pleased that majority knew all the lyrics. He also entertained with some of the regular routines from his concerts and a few new ones: For all those who had come up in the struggle, he did "Hard Knock Life" and when he got to the line 'flow infinitely like the memory of my nigga Biggie' the "One More Chance" beat came on and he did the customary "When I say B-I, ya'll say G" call and response chant and you know we followed through. Then he asked for the peace signs for Biggie, Big Pun, Big L, Jam Master J, the A for Aaliyah, Eazy E and for Tupac, with all their images adorning the big screen one after the other, which was followed by "Hail Mary" and then Biggie's verse from "Mo' Money, Mo Problems" which he left for us to rap before he took over agian for his remix for Aaliyah's "I Miss U". There was an Aaliyah collage put together on the big screen for this segment. She's eternally gorgeous. He divided the crowd for the call and response session that is now "Jigga What, Jigga Who" with either side screaming one part. He also ends his last verse accapella on fast forward (you try it - I suggest that/ niggas invest/in a vest/when I come through with the glock jet black/ya'll niggas step back/I'm the best at/you know I ain't no apprentice to this/Me and my niggas we invented this shit/I came into the business with this/the Originator/none greater/Green Lantern drop that shit!) with he and Memph Man clocking his performance and nodding in approval at the end. The division game continued for Memphis Bleek's "Do My..." where Jigga goes, "I'll ride with the niggas tonight, you have the ladies." So Memph Bleek is, "Do my ladies run this muthaphuckka?" while William H. Holla is, "Or do my thugs run this muthaphuckka?" Rather surprisingly, a lot of people knew the lyrics for that one as well. Then Memphis does a verse from "Is That Your Bitch" but before it gets to Hov's bit, the beat for Lethal Bizzle's "Pow" comes on and Jigga and M Eazy start to bounce before Hov rides it flawlessly. I almost died! He also does "Hovi Baby" (much earlier in the set though) and ends it accapella as well, saying the words slowly at first so everyone can get it (I'm so far ahead of my time, I'm 'bout to start another life/look behind you I'm bouta pass you twice) before he speeds it up in the middle (7 straight summers/critics might not admit it/but nobody in rap did it/quite like I did it/If you did it/I done it before/you get it/I had it/got mad at it/and don't want it no MORE!) then slows down again at the end (Don't get it twisted/get it right/did it different/did it better/did it nice/did the impossible/then I did it twice), driving the crowd nuts! He takes the shades off to talk to the ladies and goes into "Song Cry" driving les filles bonkers. He says he's gonna keep it with the ladies and jumps into "Excuse Me Miss". He and Bleek go to the corner and rap to some lucky female for an extended period (I have a friend that swears it was her) and the ladies love it. He thanks the crowd and exits the stage but the crowd isn't pleased. We start yelling again "Hova! Hova! Hova!" because some things are still missing. He's like, "Ya'll not tired yet? Ya'll want more?" and comes back out as Lantern drops the beat for "Big Pimpin'" He loves the response. He then notices Snoop Dogg standing in the corner bobbing his head to the music, in a black hat, black Snoop Dogg jacket, black jeans, black Chuck Taylor's and a white tee. He asks the Dogg Father if he wants to say something but he's alright. For me, honestly, the sighting of Snoop was the hardest thing all night. His presense was awesome! Jay-Z then takes the cheers in for a while longer then tells M Extra, "Ok, lets send em home" and he drops the opening bars of the "Fiesta (Remix)" before Lantern drops the opening chords of "Encore." It's a wrap at this point! Everybody has lost it! As the second verse is about to start, it switches to the beat of "Numb/Encore" and the chants of "Hova!" are crazy!!! He takes it in one last time and thanks Lagos (pronounced LAH-GOES) before stepping off as the date NOVEMBER 21 sprawls across the big screen. You all know what that means.

After a job well done!

intermission three
Now how do you follow that up? Jay had killed it at this point. Murdered it for real! Tony came back out and even he couldn't talk much. At this point, they started rearranging the stage for the show's headliner, Miss Knowles, unveiling a staircase on the stage and then two drum kits on the elevated platform. Wahala de o! In the meantime, they send some funny haired dude out to entertain us.

basket mouth
How is everybody doing? Are you alright? I just got back from the US, you know? I came by Ifesinachi straight.
I never hear pidgin at all this night. Na so so fune everybody just dey blow. Una done forget una self.
How many of una pay N100k? N25 nko? How many jump fence? Ehen. Na dem plenty pass.
(soundcheck for Beyonce starts. Basket Mouth looks back)
Ehen? So na when una wan do soundcheck una come send me commot ma'e I yan? When no be like say na even better money you dey pay somebody. Thomas, stop dat shit.
You know see how Jay-Z all of them dey rap the same way as Eedris dem? Just stand for one place dey t'roway hand to crowd dey go. No dancer, nothing. Nothing dey dere.
(Then he's cracking one joke, it escapes me now, but as he stretches his hand out towards the crowd for emphasis, the drums sound again to which he goes "Na the sound effect for the joke be that." and he loses himself and starts laughing)
I no too sure how all dem dey talk am. Wetin dem dey talk? All de ladies in da house say hey abi ho, abi how? Ma'e I try sha. All the ladies in the house make some noise
Now all the single ladies in the house make some noise
(more screams)
Ehen! See them. How una take afford this VIP ticket? Thank GOD for aristo sha.
(soundcheck continues. He stops. Turns back and looks menacingly at them)
Thomas, stop that shit!
I done dey backstage with Jay-Z, Beyonce dem since. Dem no be boyfriend and girlfriend o! Na me be the boyfriend. Jay-Z na assistant boyfriend. Him just dey spend the kishi but una sabi wetin I dey do.
(winks at crowd)
But if Beyonce sabi wetin I done do am for dream, eh? Chai! I done kiss am die! I done press bobi tire. I done suck bobi. I done do am tire!
(he spots a white guy laughing)
Ah ahn! Oyibo, you dey laugh? You sabi wetin I talk?
(In a British accent)
What I said was, I done suck bobi and press am...
(crowd loses it. Drums again. The menacing stare. He bounds up the staircase to accost the rude drummer)
Ol' boy! Come here. LisTen. Why you dey knack this thing when I dey perform?
(the drummer throws up an apologetic gesture then runs across to the next set of drums)
No o! Come back, come back. I just dey follow you talk. Oyibo? Oyibo? Ben Bruce? I dey follow you talk. Abi na you wan play de two drums? So upon all the money wey una spend, come from Yankee finish, una no fit pay two drummers?
(crowd loses it. He comes back down the stairs)
If Ben Bruce dey here, na play I dey play o! Anyway thanks everybody, have fun.
(that is what I can remember of his short set)

main event
Tony came back out and didn't waste too much time in announcing the lady of the moment...

Her all girl band took to the stage and started belting out the tune for "Deja Vu". The sexy starlet took to the stage in a short, sexy red number. Fresh to def skin (no blemishes), the tiniest waist ever and them hips and thighs (laps as I love to call 'em) too hot for TV. I immediately hated Jay-Z. I have called Beyonce 'alright' for the longest but she is kcufing sexy! However, there was one of her four dancers that put her to shame though. That body was sick! But that's for another day. She went into the whole routine and did her crazy, uncontrolled dance steps. Jay-Z didn't come back out for his verses. No fair. Then she stopped to catch her breath (trust me, she needed it) and appreciated the crowd, telling us what a beautiful country we had. Someone said something about coming to the Motherland and being so happy. It may have been her, Jay-Z or even Tony. Not sure. She asked for some water (and trust Nigerians, this is the point at which we realized she brought her own water while everyone else was on Ragolis) and used what appeared to be a cross between a breathalizer, an inhaler and mouth freshner. Who knows? She then said, "I have a special song I want to sing but I am really nervous. But if you all sing along with me, I'm sure I'll do alright." It takes a while for the crowd to get it but when they do, they lose it! As the words start making sense, everyone joins in, "Arise o compatriots... Nigeria's call obey!" It was bananas. It has never been sung like that before. If you really think about it though, she is a musician, so it is not too much of a stretch for her to sing a song she is given, especially when our anthem is in English but she did a spectacular job of it. The best ever! Heck, I even stood at attention. It was cute however to catch her peeping at the strategically placed lyrics on the stage in front of her. real cute but she's the bomb diggy no digity. To be honest though, Jay-Z and the Snoop sighting had won the day. Beyonce was extra. She was good to look at but for how long? Not taking anything away from her, Jay coming on first really hurt her set. She went through a Destiny's Child medley of "Say My Name" and a few others I can't remember but ended with "Survivor" during which we were prompted to pump our fists. I was expecting "Lose My Breath" but didn't get it. She did a cool song from her new album, "Green Light" then some lovely man bashing song that has "To the left" in the chorus or something? (I am so local. The song is "Irreplacable") I was loving that. She stepped off and came back in a trench coat to drop "Ring the Alarm". That was an up and down performance complete with razz, Nigerian bodyguard looking bouncers, but the dancesteps after, with the "automobile dip it low" was MAD!!! She then came out in an awful flowery skirt that Thisday Style has to put in their "Should have stayed at home" segment and she did my jam "Dangerously In Love" and a few others, I think. I honestly wasn't paying attention. Then she peeled the skirt off (thank GOD), came out with them hotties again and went into the whole booty shake for "Crazy In Love." Still no Jay. Boo! Don't get me wrong, she was good but Jay had been to'e it down by then and it kind of took a lot out of hers but if you haven't seen this girl on stage before, don't get it twisted, she works hard! What? In those high heels jumping up and down? My hat goes off to her regardless.

Midnight, game done! And we left with pretty much no incident. Hope on the horizon for Nigeria?

October 8
in the beginning
The day started with heavy rainfall and that wasn't cool at all. As expected, the ground was all messed up but you cannot stop partying people. Like I said, I didn't go.
Taureanminx will post on it. Look out. So, I will just give you what I heard.

the show
Dare Art Alade came through and did the National Anthem plus a few other tracks and shared the stage with Ikechukwu who happened to be in the crowd with us the night before.

Then 2Face Idibia came out and did a short set.

D'banj the koko master did his thing which was meant to have been off the hinges.

Then Seun Kuti which apparently angered fans.

Then the energizer bunny himself (plus the pot belly) Busta Rhymes and trusty sidekick, Spliff Star did their thing and killed the crowd I hear.

Then it was the turn of one Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg to take the stage in a weed smoking frenzy. I'da paid to see that.

Then the rain maker, Majek Fashek did his thing.

And then 60 year old King Sunny Ade took to the stage.

This rounded up at about 2.30 - 3am and most people had had enough so they left. However, the bitch herself, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott took to the stage and rocked till about half 4.

There was no VIP apparently as everybody mingled and a lot of area boys were rumored to be in the crowd. Shots were also allegedly fired by angry policemen or soldiers. Sunday's do was a rowdy one but heard it was still fun but not as good as Saturday. Good thing I'm a Hov disciple, eh?

Well, if you got this far (I can't even read over) I hope you enjoyed it. And in parting, I am leaving a list of the artistes that have been here in the last 10 years that I can remember. See ya blog heads.

Usher POLO CLUB, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi. He also performed in Port Harcourt & maybe Abuja.
Ginuwine LAGOON Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, VI (2 nights)
Eve, K-Ci & JoJo POLO CLUB
Naughty By Nature POLO CLUB
Joe (He's been here quite a lot and was just around to chill [i believe] last December) Valentine's Day Concert EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER
Ja Rule, Wayne Wonder LAGOON
Beenie Man (I believe) LAGOON (I believe)
50 Cent & G-Unit TAFAWA BALEWA SQUARE, Onikan (also performed in Abuja I believe but beef with a Nigerian artiste [Eedris Abdulkareem] didn't let him fulfil Port Harcourt commitment)
Wyclef Jean OCEANVIEW Adetokunbo Ademola, VI (2 nights) and also did Abuja & Port Harcourt
Kool & The Gang OCEANVIEW
Montell Jordan, Debelah Morgan (maybe that was before '96 tho)
JT Taylor of Kool & The Gang EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER
Howard Hewitt of Shalamar EKO HOTEL EXPO CENTER

Not bad, eh?

Blog Marley out like a million words too late!