Outkast, Ludacris Take Cleveland by Storm
by Christina Morgan
Southern hip-hop hospitality hit downtown Cleveland when the “Fish and Grits” tour, featuring Atlanta-based rappers Ludacris and Outkast, performed at the Cleveland State Convocation Center on Tuesday. The concert proved to be more than a just a presentation of the two headlining acts, but rather a showcase of the entire Dungeon Family and all the Atlanta-style funk the audience could handle.
Ludacris, whose debut album Back For The First Time has sold over a million copies, opened the show. His performance, however, failed to get a big reaction from the crowd. Ludacris surprisingly did not use any special set, clothing, dancers or musicians to embellish his act. Instead, he kept it simple, wearing gray sweatpants, and having only two other rappers and his DJ accompany him onstage.
He used such traditional antics as asking the crowd if the show is run by the ladies or the fellas, and even tried to get a reaction by attempting to pit the East side of Cleveland against the West. Despite the fact that Luda’s flow was consistently tight, much of the audience still remained in their seats when he performed his hit singles “What’s Your Fantasy” and “Southern Hospitality.”
“I’m not doing my job, y’all ain’t fightin’,” Ludacris said after the crowd remained calm during his performance of “Southern Hospitality,” which calls for people to “throw dem [el]bows.” Ludacris rhymed the hook one more time before leaving, but it appeared that most of the crowd was ready for Outkast to take the stage.
The most successful rap duo of all time did not disappoint. André 3000 — who sported an electric blue jumpsuit with wings attached, a blonde wig and aviator glasses — and Big Boi ignited the stage with a high-energy performance of the electric-guitar laden “Gasoline Dreams” from their latest, already triple-platinum album Stankonia. Outkast maintained this same intensity level throughout the entire concert, even when the Cleveland crowd did not.
’Kast performed mostly songs from their new album, but made sure to cover their old joints from their previous three albums, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens and Aquemini. Favorites such as “Elevators,” “Skew It on the Bar-B” and “Player’s Ball” kept the funk flowing and heads nodding to the infectious beats into the mid-show break.
After the intermission, it was Dungeon Family reunion which added some extra A-Town flavor to the show. Slim Calhoun, the first artist signed to Outkast’s new label, Aquemini Records, started the Dungeon Family insert with his well-received performances of the singles “It’s OK” and “Dirt Work,” from his soon to be released debut album, The Skinny.
Yet it was the appearance of Goodie Mob that set off the crowd. Outkast and Goodie Mob first slid into a rendition of “Get Rich to This” followed by “Sky High,” in which Mob member Big Gipp, crept onto the stage rocking a pimped-out white fur coat and a tattered confederate flag print jumpsuit.
The entire Dungeon Family then spit the Stankonia track “Gangsta’ Shit” followed by “We Love These Hoes,” in which several groupies were invited to shake it on the stage.
After Goodie Mob’s departure, André informed the crowd that he was nowhere near tired, as he and Big Boi jumped into a performance of “Rosa Parks” which drew the most energy from the crowd of any song during the two and half hour long concert. Outkast did not miss a beat as they finished the night with the newest babymamadrama cut “Ms. Jackson” and the amped-up “B.O.B,” as the two 25-year-old rappers wound the concert down with as much energy as they started with.
Seeing Outkast in action makes it easy to see why the duo continues to blow up the charts. Despite the fact that Big Boi and André seem crazy different –– they work as one mic during their performances. Dré and Big Boi feed off each other’s energy to give their fans a concert that definitely leaves ATL-flavor ringing in everybody’s ears.
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