“TI had me doing therapy!” said Roosevelt Johnson Jr. between hip-hop performers at Memorial Auditorium where Nelly headlined May 16th, 2005. Also on the bill was TI, Fat Joe and several other hip-hop performers. It was a long and steady night of booty shaking chatter. Johnson, who is in a wheelchair due to an “urban accident” refers to himself as a 50-year-old hip-hopper and although he can’t walk without assistance he does enjoy standing up and moving to the music.
Towards the end of the set TI told the audience that MTV was making a video. Within minutes a sudden rush of roughly a hundred female fans surged onto the stage, many of whom later refused to leave even when TI asked them to, causing security more than a little bit of a problem. Commenting on the wild exhibition on stage Johnson said “When TI said 'Show me what you got', they just showed him. It’s just beautiful”.
But it looked frenzied and chaotic. I finally managed to squeeze, with no small effort, out of the intense crush that doubled us over the steel bar just one foot from the stage. Women were climbing all over each other, reaching up and grabbing the performers by their clothes, body parts—public and private, and anything else they could get their hands on!
Musically it’s poetry, it’s hypnotically rhythmic, wonderfully danceable, melodic and its entirely without a single instrument on stage except for the guy with a turntable in the background. Then on the sides and hanging around the back of the stage are people, friends, family-- just there to watch and be part of the scene. It’s a family, a community, a party and no one is ever alone.
TI and Fat Joe clearly commanded the stage when they were on it. To an outsiders point of view it would have been hard to determine who the star was. One guy has his name on the bill but six might show up on the stage, microphone in hand, singing their parts, in baseball caps and baggy clothes, taking equal time and presence on the stage.
Fat Joe is clearly a ladies man and struts his stuff back and forth across the stage followed by a guy who’s one job appears to be to keep two things handy-- a bottle of water in case Fat Joe gets thirsty and a fluffy white towel to mop Fat Joe’s shaved head as he works up a good sweat.
Nelly commanded the stage with his supporting posse the St. Lunatics, and a foursome of gorgeous dancing girls, each one eagerly strutting her stuff at every opportunity. When he sang “Hot in Herre” the temperature in the room truly did go up a few notches.
To see a gallery of images from this show click here-- eMusiConnect.