Live review: Coors Light's Search for the Coldest MC, The Fillmore, 6/30/2012

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Coors Light's Search for the Coldest MC
The Fillmore
June 30, 2012

Coors Light's Search For The Coldest emcee contest rolled into the Fillmore Saturday night with free beers and a trump-tight panel of celebrity judges, but the competition itself, between Eddie Blaze and Felony Fame, never seemed to warm up.

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Ice Cube, Bun B., Big K.R.I.T. and DJ Drama started the night with a pre-show talk on what they look for in new lyricists and the state of hip hop in general. Bun B., a guest lecturer at Rice University and the most erudite of the bunch, shared that he doesn't respect dumb rappers. "To be a cold MC, they have to have a strong command of the English language," he said. "Some people assume rappers all speak broken English, but the best MCs are masters of vocabulary."

The celebrities judged the two Charlotte emcees on hometown pride, braggadocio, acapella skills and an original song. Eddie Blaze was first. The more cerebral of the two, Blaze had decent rhymes but couldn't land a blow as the well-spoken emcee had trouble connecting with the crowd. He looked intimidated and at a loss as to how to handle the chilly reception. He seemed to be over-thinking things, asking the crowd, "Where my college kids at?" And on the hook for "Live My Life," he dropped the clunky hook "If you're an individual, get your hands up."

Felony Fame, on the other hand, brought a ton of energy, almost making up for lackluster lines and enunciation so lazy he was nearly unintelligible. Fame kicked lines like "I keep shades like a Crayon, I keep a white girl like Kreayshawn," on his song "Beasty Boy." Given Bun B.'s earlier stance, I thought he was a sunken ship. But both semi-finalists seemed hand-picked for their different outlooks, more so than for any mic skills or crowd control.

Apparently someone at the Fillmore took the title Search For The Coldest literally, because all night long the temperature inside the building was positively arctic. An ice bar was constructed on the spot and snowflakes swirled in the ether. It actually felt good to go outside into hundred-degree heat.

While the judges (presumably) deliberated, Special Ed came through for a surprise appearance, and Big K.R.I.T. warmed the crowd up with "Forever and a Day," "Cool 2 Be Southern," Me and My Old School" and "Money on the Floor."

Bun B. gave a 12-song set of favorites including "Gimme Dat," "Big Pimpin," "International Player" and "Sippin on Some Sizzurp." It was a bit disconcerting to see him performing the latter, given Pimp C.'s death only a few years ago. Bun B. finally got the nominally involved crowd whipped into something resembling excitement.

Ice Cube presented Felony Fame with the prize, to no one's shock, and then Cube did what he does best - turned out a stage. His energy was not the hyper bounce of Big K.R.I.T. nor the laid-back pimposity of Bun B.. Cube just rocked solid confidence, his resonating voice garnering complete command of the crowd. Halfway through "Check Yourself," everybody's hands were up, and by the time he hit "You Can Do It (Put Your Back Into It)" he had a built-in crowd chorus. He finished off the night with "Today Was a Good Day." And, thanks to the professionals, Coors Lights' SFTC was a pretty good day. The contest now heads to NY for the grand finale July 26th.

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