The defining moment of Friday's hip-hop concert at the Sprint Center occurred when Tyga invited a couple dozen women to dance on stage to his song "Molly." The audience of over 4,000 cheered as the the rapper watched the dancers writhe to his ode about the illegal intoxicant also known as ecstasy.
Tyga was one of several artists on the Made Men Tour who performed songs that celebrate the activities associated with so-called gentlemen's clubs, the riches to be made in the criminal underworld and the invigorating qualities of drugs and alcohol. Most of the performances fulfilled the audience's expectations, but the usual irritants that plague many hip-hop shows — poor production values, confounding delays, the absence of live instrumentation and obnoxious hype men among them — repeatedly tested their patience.
2 Chainz, the evening's headliner, is responsible for several of the most willfully daft hits of the new millennium. Beside providing comic relief on songs by other stars — his setlist included his contributions to Nicki Minaj's “Beez in the Trap” and Drake's “All Me” — the lanky rapper from Georgia plays the role of an amiable fool on hits like "I'm Different." Although they're little more than rudimentary playground chants, material including "I Love Dem Strippers" and "Dope Peddler" served as potent party anthems on Friday.
The presence of Tech N9ne seemed to be responsible for about a third of the tickets sold. The Kansas City rapper's formidable power was slightly diminished in the arena, but he eliminated the barrier between the stage and audience by strolling into the crowd during "See Me."
Partly because it lasted only 17 minutes, the Southern rapper Juicy J's appearance was incredibly frustrating. He shouted "let's get ignorant" during "Bounce It'," a sentiment that also applies to his massive hit "Bandz a Make Her Dance." Classic material like the 2000 hit "Sippin' on Some Syrup" from his stint in Three 6 Mafia was reduced to mere snippets.
The controversial hit "U.O.E.N.O." was the highlight of a solid appearance by Atlanta's Rocko, but New Orleans' Kidd Kidd was less successful. A version of "Mrs. Officer," Kidd Kidd's 2008 collaboration with Lil' Wayne, failed to rouse the crowd.
Even so, members of the audience didn't hesitate to respond vociferously to the sounds they loved. The best-received song of the evening — Tyga's lascivious but mean-spirited "Rack City" — was greeted with roars of approval. In an concert dominated by mindless fun, one of the few disagreeable compositions proved to be the most popular.