Disturbing Tha Peace @ The Paramount Theater, Seattle  

written by Plus One - February 17th, 2003    
Rappers with criminal records can't easily leave their country. So, when the opportunity in a nearby American state presents itself, we foreigners (Canadians) sometimes take a trip to see what's what. Disturbing Tha Peace and David Banner were set to perform at the Paramount Theater on February 17th, 2004. And so, MVRemix made its way down from Vancouver, BC to see attend.

After being treated like drug dealers by the border (I don't know whether it was the expensive car, our clothing, or the hidden marijuana), we entered the United States. Once we'd reached Seattle, our first stop was none other than MacDonalds. Now, though I personally can't say, I was informed that I-20 of Disturbing Tha Peace was just behind me as I queued up in ol' Mickey D's. Either way, as the day drew on, the show began.

If you were to have asked me if I enjoyed David Banner's music prior to his show, you'd probably have been met with a sincere cringe. However, with that said, the man knows how to perform. Though a little tubby, he is extremely energetic. The audience witnessed Banner climb huge sets of speakers to rhyme standing above them as well as gain crowd participation by running around in the dark through the audience while his hype man distracted them. Banner did take things a little over the top when he entered the religious realm. I think there is a time and a place for religious preaching, and a rap show with alcohol, sexuality and drugs isn't it.

Following Banner was 2003's Southern-rap club dominator; Chingy. Chingy performed quite well, and although I'm not a fan, I will give him the due praise for appearing the same in his live show that he is in his video's. I was cruelly amused when Chingy implied he was leaving the stage prior to performing his hits ("One Call Away" and "Right Thurr") and the crowd didn't seem effected. He uttered remark to generate a response from the crowd; however, there really wasn't one to meet him. Although, he did manage to find a way to stay and perform the aforementioned tracks, "thankfully." What surprised me somewhat was that Chingy not only performed "Right Thurr" but the remix as well... why? I don't know.

The show didn't really exist until Ludacris made his entrance. Sure, other performers were entertaining, and admittedly, they did exceed my expectations a little. But, Ludacris blew me away. This man is at his best live. If you thought his material had energy and was well articulated through the studio, the way 'cris brings it to life is nothing short of brilliant. Wearing simply a black tracksuit and a skullcap, Ludacris' most noticeable feature was his hand. I've yet to see something gleam as much. But aside from the glamour was the music.

Emerging through a scripted introduction from DJ Jay Cee to perform the introduction to "Chicken and Beer," Luda began his set perfectly. His breath control, vocal volume and energetic stage presence captivated all in attendance. Not to mention the fact that he frequently interacted with the crowd. "Splash Waterfalls" and "Southern Hospitality" were well received, and Shawnna joined 'cris for his first hit "What's Your Fantasy?"

The overall reception to Ludacris' performance was exactly what large concerts/shows should equal. Strong crowd participation. And when Ludacris performed "Move Bitch," that defined the term. Luda didn't utter a word of his verse, the crowd performed it in its entirety, and then fellow D.T.P. member I-20 continued the song contributing his verse following suit.

To help promote I-20's forthcoming album, Ludacris stepped aside for Titty Boi and Lil' Fate to perform alongside I-20 for "Fightin' In The Club." Another gem due to its crowd involvement.

Something which surprised me, was when Ludacris took a break from his performance to allow his DJ (Jay Cee) some limelight. The surprise wasn't the break, nor the decision to allow his DJ to be the center of attention, but that Jay Cee was actually impressive. My reason for drawing attention to this is that I've attended many mainstream rap shows and found the DJ's to simply spin the records or to imitate scratching (it's so smooth that it seems recorded). The live scratching session performed had a slight error, but was swiftly recovered from. Therefore he very much impressed me.

Having been invited to see Ludacris perform was more than enough to entice my attendance, but upon hearing the latest and in my previous opinion greatest new addition to the mainstream (Kanye West) added to the bill. I couldn't help but set my expectations at a level, which I believe they deserved.

I shouldn't have. Kanye was awful. And I don't say that with any pleasure. After hearing "College Dropout" for months, from the bootleg to the official release, I couldn't help but be excited to see him perform. Kanye came out onto the stage with a beautifully shiny diamond earring. That was his show. Believing he was in his element, the audience eagerly awaited his beginning, throwing up signature Rocafella Diamond signs. However, we shouldn't have.

Kanye sounded nervous and nothing like his studio produced recordings. He attempted to repeat his verse on "Slow Jams" and then sing the hook. He failed to meet the notes and gave up half way through his hook. Combine American Idol's Asian Ricky Martin (William Hung) performing "She Bangs" and that's the quality of Kanye's rendition of his own song. His rendition of "Through The Wire" was just as lackluster. West even had the nerve to get the crowd to attempt the hook... near silence followed his attempt. His short set was justified; he didn't perform well at all. His role as a hype man was just as bad. Maybe it was an off night, but Kanye's movements were stiffer than the plate in his jaw.

The show concluded with all of D.T.P. on stage alongside David Banner and Kanye. Ludacris and Chingy performed a befitting rendition of "Holidae Inn" and then the show concluded with "Stand Up." So, in short, when Ludacris (especially) or D.T.P. or even David Banner are scheduled to perform near you... attend.

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