Sunday, April 09, 2006

queens reign supreme

queen seated (she got a reason)

Although TI has brought this King shit back I don’t know if I can recognize royalty until I see an actual coronation… a fitted-cap works as a poetic ‘street crown’ but I’m talking about taking it to the real crown heights. Biggie was literally crowned at his platinum party. Slick Rick has worked his royal flyness with kingly robes, red carpets and thrones. So it was a nice surprise to see Remy Ma bring a throne to her stage show in which she declared herself Queen of NY. And she stated it quite convincingly. The Nokia Theatre was filled with her subjects as the around-the-way-girls from pre-teen to grandmother threw their left hand up and then threw their right hand up when Remy lead them in ‘Whuteva.’ Her acapella raps made her at least a couple of new fans since there was no denying the heart of her experiences translated so well into bad-ass bragging. There was complex ‘representing’ going on as she portrayed both the big sister for the girlz from the hood as well their biggest threat when it comes to ‘baddest bitch’ honors. I will be shocked if anyone rocks Rick Ross’ ‘Hustlin’ with as much originality as R-to-the-Eezy did. She flipped the hypnotic sample of “Everyday I’m hustling” to “Everyday I’m fuckin’ him” directed of course at an unfortunate ‘baby mama’ rival. Where Rick Ross falsely brags about “the real Noriega” Remy more believably claims connects to “the real Heather Hunter.” And when she switches “Whip it, whip it” to “Dick be, dick be” with a straight face… well it was clear that she was the fuckin’ boss if not the queen.

new queen Cole

Keyshia Cole, however, was the headliner and she pretty much proved, even without the throne, that she was running things. The obvious frontrunner to inherit Mary J.’s queendom, Keyshia put together an odd show but at no point did she let the crowd pull too far away from her... as if they didn’t want to get as close as they possibly could Her surefire cover of the Mary-blessed “I’m Goin’ Down” by Rose Royce had the audience at “Since you been away…” but her take on ‘Atlantis’ left everyone hungry for stronger vocals and a hook to sing along to. She quickly laughed it off and acknowledged that the audience wasn’t feeling it as much as she was... and the crowd laughed along. Although the show peaked with “I Should Have Cheated” too early in the set, she left the stage immediately after the song was done (much to the worry of the audience) but returned to let everyone know “I had to fix my bra. It’s a new one. I never wore it before.”
When she stepped into the audience, a security guard towered behind her onstage. She tried to wave him off and instead cut the song short. She complained “That nigga be popping in back of my head." Kelefa Sanneh, with a slightly different paraphrase, swears that she was referring to memories of a former beau which makes sense but, later in the show, when Keysh stepped into the audience again, she waved off the security more forcefully this time. And they had to oblige. She explained to them she was safe here, that the audience was there for her and loved her. And, if there was any doubt, she made the audience yell “We love you, Keyshia!” And when she did “I Just Want It To Be Over” twice at the end of the show, it was obvious that she didn’t want the moment to be over at all. When the crowd rocked just as much on the second take, I knew who ruled the evening.