Live: Bun B Gets His Kicks At Good Units
Good Units (Complex + Foot Locker's Sneakerpedia Launch Party)
Tuesday, May 17
Better than: Waiting outside in the rain (at least for the shoes' sake).
Last night at Good Units, there were more cameras aimed at the floor than at the stage--which might have been fitting given that the evening served as the launch party for Sneakerpedia, Foot Locker's new wiki for footwear fetishists, but which was still strange, given that the evening had been billed as a Bun B concert.
Here's what did make last night like a rap show: Bun B was onstage, and he was rapping. Slowly pacing the stage, Bun was energetic in his lethargy: he tore through his UGK-and-since catalogue, punching each syllable with fist and tongue. He hit most of the recent major points: "Draped Up" and "Get Throwed"; his guest verses on Yelawolf's "Good to Go" and Big KRIT's "Country Shit." The guy to my right--dressed in cargo shorts and Asics--was usually mouthing the wrong words until he discovered the best thing about Southern rappers, which is that if you don't know the chorus the first time around, you can learn it by the second line.
Five songs in, as the opening weeble-wobbles of Webbie's decidedly NSFW hit "Gimme That (Pussy)" pulsed through the room, Bun said, "Oh yeah, we got something for the ladies. Ladies, where y'all at?" (That was the second thing that made the event like a rap show--a dearth of the fairer sex.)
Surrounding Bun, in a Wu-Tang-like phalanx, were shoebox legends Mayor, DJ Greg Street, and Frankie, his hat pulled low; his mouth, tight. DJ Clark Kent shouted of the latter, "It's him I get my kicks from!" (Earlier, at the tail end of Clark Kent's set, the outwardly anonymous Frankie got the same treatment as, say, the post-prison-release Prodigy; the DJ kept dropping calls of "Frankie's home! Fr-Fr-Frankie's home!")
In the middle of "Big Pimpin," as Pimp C's verse was shouted from all corners, a particularly dapper man was shoved the entire length of the floor--bow to stern--by two security guards, emphatic and relentless. The song ended with Bun cautioning the crowd, "Don't act like the boy in the bowtie and get thrown out." It was a phrase that has probably never, ever, ever been said at a rap show, and yet, it felt so very hip-hop.
During his warm-up set, Clark Kent--a protector of "real hip-hop"--began to blast off one of Lil' B's songs. (To be honest, I'm not sure which it was. I heard "swag" repeated over and over. It could've been any of them. My apologies for my inability to discern, Based God.) He then cut the instrumental, yelling into the microphone, "There's nothing in this world that will make me play that motherfucker's raps, but that beat goes hard as fuck!" The point was lost on the crowd, who had been dancing to Travis Porter's dumbed-down stripper-pole anthem "Make It Rain."
That being said, it didn't really seem like a launch party, either. Asking around, no one seemed to know what they were celebrating... which, come to think of it, probably made last night a launch party.
Critical bias: Bun B, using his daughter's Skype account, joined in on my podcast this week.
Overheard: "What exactly is Sneakerpedia?" "I heard it's like a Wikipedia for shoes, but I don't know what that means."
Random notebook dump: Number of times I noticed how cavernous Good Units seemed: Infinite. (One highlight: When Termanology hit the stage late in the show, a man in jean shorts and Jordan 5s, standing not ten feet away from me, twirled with his arms extended outwards.) Number of shoes I still managed to step on: three.
Gimme Dat (Pussy)
Sippin on Some Sizzurp
Good to Go
Let 'Em Know
1982 (How We Rock) with Termanology
International Player's Anthem