Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cali Christmas w/50 Cent, Chamillionaire, T-Pain And More Concert Recap

As reported by August Brown at the Los Angeles Times

Everyone at Cali Christmas (Power 106), from the once world-crushing rapper 50 Cent on down to the welcome young crooner Jeremih, had a streak of self-deprecation to their acts.

Maybe it came from the humbling fact that their genres, which once prided themselves on distinctions between being gangsta and being a gentleman, are now indistinguishable -- and nobody can sound too thuggish over today's dominant Euro-trance beats and thin sales figures. Still, the shift humanized the boys' boasts regarding their earning and bedroom prowess in convincing ways.

Brooklyn rapper Fabolous has long operated at the fringes of pop while maintaining credibility as a dense, lyrical MC. His most recent album, "Loso's Way," sported the unfortunate Carrie Bradshaw-worthy shopping anthem "Throw It in the Bag." But during his set Wednesday, he made some welcome detours through his earlier, much flintier material.

From an opposite vantage point, T-Pain's lush robot quaver has become maybe the defining sound of pop radio in the latter years of this decade. His secret is that he's actually a fantastic singer and arranger; every single comes stacked with inventive harmonies and a playful way with melody. He's a much smarter songwriter than titles like "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)" might lead one to believe, but he also refuses to take himself seriously.

50 Cent has had a tougher time of that in recent months. After Kanye West skunked him on the 2007 sales charts, 50 has struggled mightily to return to his "Get Rich or Die Trying"-era dominance. But one forgets that the 50 Cent who wrote "How to Rob" -- an older track that remains his most exciting song -- was a sneering underdog, not the guy who celebrates an actual "Curtis Jackson Day" in his ├╝ber-rich enclave of Bridgeport, Conn.

50 does better when people don't see him coming. New singles like "Psycho" have a touch of his old menace; at Cali Christmas, he hit the high points of his conflicted new album "Before I Self Destruct," like the glitched-up ragtime-piano burner "So Disrespectful."

More fan shot footage below.

Read the full review here:
L.A. Times - Live: Power 106 Cali Christmas at Gibson Amphitheatre

Getty Images
Orange County Register

(video footage courtesy of gtony87)

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