Live Review: Dub Auto Show

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Dub Auto Show

June 21, 2008

Charlotte Convention Center

By Mike McCray

The 2008 DUB Car Show drove through the Convention Center on Saturday with its own brand of flash and ass.

A welcome distraction to the showcase of cars you can’t afford and women you couldn’t get with was a concert that featured a bevy of local acts and basically DTP’s entire roster.

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Best In Show

Ludacris’ performance was expected to be good, but Shawty Lo rapped his way into the finals for the next ‘Hood Idol’ with the crowd bouncing and spitting along with every track. This new ‘Man of the People’ shut it down during his performance then put a cherry on top by coming back out for the "Dey Know (Remix)" with Ludacris.

Best Attempt to Bring Back a Retro Fashion Style

Willy Northpole’s stage show was overshadowed, for me, by the bright red leather Yankees hat on his head. It was so ’92 I felt like going home to record a mixtape (literally, cassette and all) and watch Martin. I admittedly couldn’t remember one line, hook or chorus, but I did hear the one millionth freestyle over “A Milli.” The best thing I saw about Northpole came after his performance when I watched his face studying Ludacris on stage as the platinum-selling artist rocked the crowd, and that may mean he’s still carving out his style, but he has respect for the craft.

Best Impersonation of An R&B Star

J-Smoove is bringing dark skin dudes back! Maybe not, but he had by far the most energetic stage show; starting with his baby powder smoke and glitter cloud, he managed to keep the attention of all the ladies in the crowd that seemed more than a little disinterested in the concert, and unlike some of his peers he actually decided to sing and not lip sync. - 10 points for having his own camera man on stage during the show, who was actually dense enough to stand in between him and the audience blocking the show.

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Best Cookie Cutter Pop Performance

Holly Rae had the most mainstream ready performance. Too bad the black kids I know don’t really get hype for Madonna remixes. Rae looked extremely uncomfortable on stage, after mailing it in and lip-synching the first track, she tried to win the crowd back with a ballad on her second song, but DUB Car Show speakers aren’t exactly ideal for slow jams.

No diva-in-training should ever be upstaged, and her background dancers managed to detract attention from the “star” during the whole set. At the end of the day, this probably wasn’t her target demo. Her music seems better suited for club heads who love super-synthesized tracks that thump. Cassie and other young pop stars don’t have anything to worry about yet.

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Best Ignorant Tantrum

Creative Loafing is a huge fan of the first amendment but sometimes common sense and tact can go a long way to your career. 2 Pistols — whom I had previously thought was a group but it’s actually one guy — had a bleep factor that was insane, which doesn’t really rock for CMPD or the 10-year-olds in the front row following suit. After performing one track and then being told to chill out on the language, he proclaimed, “They telling me I cuss too much bleep bleep bleep,” which somehow meant take my shirt off and jump off stage. He performed his hit “She Got It” then told the DJ to play his next single because he couldn’t perform with all these rules!

Best Not Ready For Primetime

It’s a tie! Lamont Foxx, an artist from Greensboro, and Small World out of the DTP camp both had awkward stage performances.

Foxx has a decent beginning, but had three major holes in his story. Lyrics about diamonds should probably include diamonds, I think I saw a livestrong bracelet and a white gold chain at best. He had a couple guys who weren’t whole-heartedly committed to their hype man role and kind of just held mics and paced around stage in cool shoes.

Small World actually got progressively better during his stage show and had a flow that might have been hot if it wasn’t indecipherable over the bass. I was actually buying into his freestyle over “A Milli” until he said he was as hot as a pot of tea … that’s where ya lost me.

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Best Local Act

Majah is a crunk rapper out of Charlotte that won me over early by shouting out all those housing projects that were casualties to uptown (Shout outs to Earl Village and Piedmont Courts…RIP). His freestyle over Young Jeezy & Kanye West’s “Put On” had me nodding in approval. His DJ was as close to Funk Flex or Fat Man Scoop as you can get in Charlotte. His tracks “Back Off Me” and “Big Bank City” will definitely knock locally and may just be catchy enough to catch on big time. Throw Dem ‘Bows music at its best and bonus points for the George Clinton cool old guy on stage hyping the crowd up. He’ll be performing at Summer Jam on June 28.

Best Pure Hip-Hop Moment

DJ Jay Cee, Ludacris’ DJ, got a chance to shine during a “wardrobe change.” Jay Cee went Jazzy Jeff with the transformer scratches. Mixing “Bounce to the Ounce,” scratching behind his back, even using his face!, to keep the party going.

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Best Show of Platinum Pull

Ludacris’ platinum-selling pull shined well before he stepped on stage. Just walking by the artists’ “private” sections backstage you could see that most artists only warranted a couple bags of chips and some sandwiches. Luda, on the other hand, had a staffer prepping his area with Subway, more than enough chips and drinks for the entourage and apparently Mr. Lova Lova loves some 100 calorie packs.

Ludacris tested the crowd's knowledge of his discography going back to his album Back For The First Time and songs like “Throw Dem ‘Bows,” “Ho” and “What’s Your Fantasy?” but it was definitely his verses on popular remixes that made the crowd go nuts, forcing you to wonder if he’s been on as many recent remixes as Lil Wayne.

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