There’s an ugly sense of entitlement in New York City when it comes to expectations of hip-hop concerts. For lack of a true term, let’s call it “That’s all?” syndrome.
First off, let me explain what my idea of a good concert is. You, the customer, get an energetic, quality performance from the headlining artist—one worthy of the dollars spent for the evening. Sounds good, right? Wrong! Well, not in New York, at least.
Last night, Kanye West was the man of the evening in Brooklyn, New York, hosting the Heineken Red Star Access G.O.O.D. Music concert and showcasing his talented roster of G.O.O.D. (Getting Out Our Dreams) acts. Yes, Kanye West—the man who’s worked with everyone from Nas to Madonna, and is currently wrapping up a highly anticipated album with Jay-Z.
And there lies the problem, folks. A concert that in no way suggested it would be a “Kanye and his celebrity friends” event was clouded with that very idea. Twitter buzzed with rumors and hopes of Jay-Z dropping in for a surprise appearance. The two were “supposed” to announce the release date for their collaborative effort, Watch the Throne.
So by the time Kanye finally stepped on stage just after midnight, dressed in black from bandanna to designer shoes and with several Jesus pieces dangling from his neck, everyone in Skylight One Hanson (a gorgeous venue, but an acoustic nightmare) knew that they’d be in for a treat bigger than just Kanye and the G.O.O.D. team.
Jay-Z never came. Nor did anyone of the star’s wattage. But guess who was there? That’s right—Kanye. He shined brightly, dashing through tons of hits (“Jesus Walks,” “Gold Digger,” “All of the Lights,” “Good Life,” to name a few) and setting the table for his teammates.
Rhymer Pusha T stepped in for a three-song stint, as did southern spitter CyHi Da Prynce. Then came English wailer Mr. Hudson, who sang his portion of Jay-Z’s “Forever Young.” Big Sean followed with slick raps from his upcoming debut album, Finally Famous.
The night’s best performer not named West was Kid Cudi. The former lonely stoner owned the crowd upon arrival, confidently crooning through “Pursuit of Happiness” and cheerfully helping Kanye remember his lyrics on “Make Her Say.”
It was a G.O.O.D. two-hour night with Kanye, who closed out the night in a red blazer and Chicago Bulls cap, offering his toast to the douchebags before thanking the crowd for all the love and support, and bidding us farewell. “That’s all?” asked one confused attendee. “What happened to Jay-Z?” wondered another. “There weren’t any surprise guests.”
So what? Jay-Z being in town (and in the building) doesn’t mean he has to hop on stage. Why can’t folks just be satisfied with one topnotch act and his motley crew? Because we’re in New York? Puh-lease!
Not to mention, the show was free! Fans won their tickets through radio giveaways and a Heineken Red Star Facebook page. Endless complimentary beers, hot dogs, and pretzels were available to all. Be thankful!
In spite of the ridiculously high expectations, Kanye and co. gave us plenty of bang for no bucks. That’s a sweet deal to me any day.