Some of the hottest names in rap and R&B came through St. Louis last night for the State of Emergency concert, and for their respective afterparties (which were held at four different venues). As I expected, the majority of the crowd was in their twenties, with a few older folk in attendance. I wasn't expecting to see as many young children as I did, however, given the nature of the music being played. Perhaps "State of Emergency" is not an overstatement...
Atlanta trio Travis Porter opened the show with the single "Go Shorty Go." The group sounded similar to other Atlanta-based acts such as Soulja Boy -- they favored crunk instrumentals, catchy chants, and ridiculous singing over the hooks. Travis Porter didn't offer much in terms of innovation; its lyrics and concepts never strayed far from "Shake your ass, bitch" territory. The biggest crowd reaction came when they performed their (sigh) hit "Make it Rain."
R&B singer Lloyd followed up with the Young Money anthem "Bedrock." Lloyd then took a moment to acknowledge Dr. King on the holiday reserved in his honor - and while his heart was in the right place, the comment felt strangely out-of-place at this particular event. Lloyd flirted with the ladies in the audience as he performed his best known singles and features. "Southside" and "You" made the cut, along with "Girls Around the World," "Get it Shawty" and "Lay it Down."
After about 20 minutes worth of stalling from the hosts, Trina took the stage. Her skin-tight outfit remained dangerously close to a 'wardrobe malfunction' all night, but no such luck. After "That's My Attitude," Trina went from Usher's "Bad Girl" to her own "Baddest Bitch." Even though I'm familiar with Trina's reputation, I was still caught off-guard by a golden shower reference during "Look Back at Me." Her set also included "Video Phone," "Single Again," "Pull Over" and "My Bitches."
Waka Flocka Flame immediately ignited the audience when he stepped on stage. His high-energy, dread-shaking chants had everyone up and moving. The fans almost ripped the southern rapper apart as he walked into the crowd during "O Let's Do It." His gun-obsessed lyrics were a stark contradiction to the artists' pleas to "stop the violence" throughout the night, but the St. Louis crowd didn't seem to mind. Flockaveli also performed "Hard in da Paint," "Iced Out" and "Fuk Dis Industry, and Wale made a surprise guest appearance for "No Hands."
As fans waited for the headliner to appear, Murphy Lee came out and performed a verse from "Not a Stain On Me," in another unexpected appearance. Ross arrived and performed some of his bigger hits early, but after "Hustlin'" and "Aston Martin Music" the crowd started to file out of the arena. It's hard to say if this was because of all the delays, or if fans were just more interested in Waka. In any event, the Chaifetz was half-empty by 11:00. The more recognizable songs in Ross' set included "The Boss," "So Hood," and "All I Do is Win," but he had a hard time connecting with the dwindling crowd. The Boss closed out with a repeat performance of "B.M.F," (in case anybody missed it the first time) before unceremoniously ending the show.