posted by September 1 at 11:15 AMon
TI by Dagmar Sieglinde
Memorial Stadium was pretty packed for TI’s afternoon set yesterday. The sun was beating down, and from up in the bleachers it looked like people were spontaneously combusting, there were so many plumes of fragrant smoke rising out of the crowd. People managed to reek up a goddamn open air stadium, which I think says a lot about how dedicated yesterday’s Bumbershooters were to having a good time.
TI was also dedicated to providing the good time, as were his two hypmen and DJ Drama of the Gangsta Grillz series. The King started with “Beat Down Low,” and the bass in the Stadium—apparently responsible for muddying Beck to all shit last night—resounded and rumbled all the way up to the cheap seats. He played maybe 30 seconds of the giddy “Rubber Band Man,” letting the crowd sing it before cutting it off to play “Ride Wit Me.” (Spotted at TI: Saul Williams in civilian drag, Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer, some music critics.) TI did “Da Dopeman,” whose chorus Jeff Kirby claims to have written years ago. He (TI not Jeff) talked about how nothing short of a casket was going to keep him offstage, how all the people who were talking about how he was done clearly “don’t know me.” He launched into “You Don’t Know Me,” to huge applause. For his next song, he asked if there were any ladies in the house, and then Drama set off a chain of gunfire/explosion noises—as if to say, “Are there any ladies in the audience? Because I will blow your asses away (with love).” He rapped his spot from “Love in This Club.” He did “Bring ‘Em Out,” Swizz Beats’ ridiculous rave whistles trilling through the arena, setting off waves of pogoing and raised hands. He did his part from “Superstar” in between two rounds of the song’s limp blue-eyed soul chorus, and it seemed like you could hear TI nailing his cadences but you couldn’t really pick out his rhymes, just the inflections on the beat.
He dedicated the mawkishly literal “Live in the Sky” to Big, Pac, Jammaster Jay, and everyone in the crowd who’s lost someone they love. He took his shirt off for “Do U Potna” and “Big Things Poppin’” (Larry Mizell: “Shirt’s off, it’s business time”). He did a speech about everyone’s responsibility and obligation to register to vote, about the size and sway of the hip hop generation and how it has to change the laws to reflect their needs (he didn’t endorse a candidate, though). Then he played “What You Know?” Rather than end on that highpoint, though, he did another slow jam for the ladies, offfering that if anyone in the audience’s boyfriends weren’t giving them what they needed, that TI would he happy to take care of them (presumably by having Drama blow them up); they kicked into “Whatever You Like”—girls literally ran towards the stage.