STRAPS


The reports, the rhetoric, even the reviews linking Lil Wayne / Ja Rule’s alleged gun possession arrests and their music are conjectural and off base, and when you think about it – generally play on the same premise that fuel the hip hop cops – that “lyrics” in fact equal “reality.” Obviously I’m not denying that sometimes lyrics do equal reality, and say what you want about their music, but I think it’s especially important to note that, in this case, Wayne and Ja Rule (WHO BY THE WAY already HAS A FILE IN THE NYPD’S HIP HOP DOSSIER) were so clearly sniped out by police even before the show began, I have a really hard time trusting the initial reports about what happened. I know it’s not a journalistic standpoint to say so, but it’s just an instinct. And logic: why would you, a rapper so clearly at the center of a stake-out, where your friends have already had minor run-ins, then knowingly get into a car with an unregistered gun in it? Or keep a gun in the bag in your lap? It doesn’t really make sense. And also, I was outside the Beacon Theatre, right outside the stage door where performers entered, where Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and others were initially not allowed to go into the venue, despite being performers. I witnessed the cops mounted on horses – at least two, maybe four – several police trucks and cars plus a roadblock, strategically placed. The roadblock was not so terribly necessary to keep out fans – the fans were many but mostly young and tame, actually far less excitable than, say, the fans at the Omarion-headlined Scream tours I’ve attended. The cops were situated inside the roadblocks, patrolling the street between the sidewalk where the stage door was, and the sidewalk where about 5-6 dudes, including Jim and Juelz, were fuming about not being allowed in. Watched the cops talk to them and they bounced. I didn’t even think the show was going to happen at that point – Wayne was still in his tour bus then. Further, to enter the venue, everyone had to get frisked, bag-searched and walk thru a metal detector. I couldn’t even get my costume jewelry through the metal detector. I am talking like, jewelry fashioned from a tin can and a doctor’s reflex hammer. Metal detector: no go.
PS. The show was great. At least the parts I saw – the Weezy / Mac Maine part (p.s. Mac pulled heavy breath control duties for when Weezy was wheezy, but “hustler muzik” was a diamond), the Weezy / Ja Rule part (hey who brought his mojo back? did I sleep on “New York New York” last summer because of the lame ubiquity of the lake-trawler of his delivery on the hook?) the electrifying Weezy / Juelz part (truly the best part I saw… they have amazing charisma together and about that point it started feeling like a real hip hop show – like in the olden days style hip hop – cause that was the point when the whole crowd seemed INVESTED in this shit -). And everytime he said, “we wouldn’t be shit w/out ya’ll. please don’t ever stop believing in me.”
Then this napoleon complex of an f-bag, wearing a beacon theater polo, ushered me up the aisle because I had a photo pass, and photographers were not allowed to stay for the rest of the show for… no reason. I argued with dude “IM REVIEWING IT” he was like “I DONT HAVE ANY REVIEWERS ON MY LIST” i gave him my card “NO REALLY I AM A JOURNALIST” he was like “GIVE ME YOUR PASS AND LEAVE.” i spent the rest of the show outside waiting for a car and answering annoying texts (i.e. “KANYE!”) from Jon C, who sat safely and comfortably inside. walked around the corner, bought a can of diet sprite. ($1? I guess upper west side bodegas can stick it to people like that.) oh one more thing:
DJ KHALED, why did you play like three jay-z tracks before weezy came on? really?
Anyway this was the first big Manhattan show of probably the most important rapper working. (And probably the best – that’s debatable – but certainly at this moment the most important – from an artistic and cultural standpoint.) The first show in which the South brought it so big to New York since the city started going down. And I had a lot of expectations. but like sean said, it didn’t seem as brain-brightening as it should have. It was great. Slurred words and all. My life was not altered immeasurably. Measurably, definitely. But I have to think the NYPD’s before-the-show welcome wagon, with Weezy on night watch, didn’t help the experience.
Memo to hip hop promoters: stop booking at the Beacon.

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