Heat, Egos, and Ultimately, Satisfaction: Super Jam 2008
By
Stefani Grodie
7/20/2008 5:00:38 PM

From the lawn, pre-show music blasted loud and clear as a crowd of more than 12,000 sauntered into the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights to witness Hot 104.1’s very first Super Jam. Boasting a line-up of more than 20 performers throughout the afternoon show, the Super Jam brought two of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B to St. Louis: T.I. and Keyshia Cole.

Though the cloudless sky rained heat waves on the spectators, rapper Dolla had the crowd on its feet after singing “I hit the club with a mug so mean…,” the first line of his hit that features T-Pain. Along with Dolla, other Midwestern up-and-coming artists such as Jus Bleezy, Joka, One Chance, The-Dream, and Vic Damone had the opportunity to showcase their talent on the stage. V.I.C., a rapper out of Atlanta, proved to be a real entertainer, causing the crowd to scream, dance, and laugh. His first single, “Get Silly,” featuring Soulja Boy, which encourages listeners to let loose with their dancing, has become a hit across the nation in clubs and on the radio.

Next up were St. Louis’s finest: Huey, Jibbs, Chingy, Murphy Lee, and the St. Lunatics. Though Chingy could be considered the most well-known artist of the bunch, his performance at the Super Jam was not impressive. His forgettable performances of clips from three of his popular R&B tracks, coupled with an even more dull rendition of his classic dance-hit “Right Thurr,” were disappointing. However, Murphy Lee and a few of the St. Lunatics ignited the crowd’s energy by performing some classic favorites and premiering Murphy’s new single “My Shoes.” In Nelly’s absence, Murphy Lee and the Lunatics commanded the stage like stars and Murphy finished the set with a blazing free-style rap.

As the sun set and the temperature dropped closer into the 70s, the stage started to heat up. Some bigger stars – Yo Gotti, Webbie, and Gorilla Zoe, began to line the stage. All of the acts had short, yet energetic performances of just a few of their popular songs. Bun B performed many songs from his new album which had not seen much radio air-time, causing the performance to appeal mainly to loyal Bun B fans.

It was well-after 8:00 pm when Keyshia Cole took the stage performing “I Should Have Cheated,” her most popular song from her first album, The Way It Is [Interscope], as well as her personal favorite track from that album, “I Changed My Mind.” She then belted “Let it Go,” and her current hits “I Remember” and “Heaven Sent.” On stage, Keyshia is a bold young woman with an endearing charm and electric energy who seems to easily relate to her fans. She was the only performer of the day who actually sang her songs from beginning to end and performed with the crowd instead of to the crowd. Keyshia proved to be a gifted singer and also a memorable live-performer.

By the time T.I.,“The King of The South,” was called front-and-center, the lights were dimmed as the 5’8” rapper took the stage. Only performing short clips from 8-10 of his most popular hits, it was tough for T.I to get the crowd’s energy completely off the ground, as the disjointed performance was sometimes hard to follow. Unfortunately, the Super Jam became just another stage for the well-known beef between T.I. and Shawty Lo, another Southern rapper. The two had previously worked together on music, but a little bit of animosity in each rapper’s lyrics and a lot of publicity ignited the controversy between the two. Shawty Lo has admitted that there is no violent tension between the two, as they have had to pass each other backstage at shows, and most report that this test of toughness is simply a publicity stunt.

Whatever the case may be, at the Super Jam, T.I. wasted time between each song to talk about his own greatness and defend his tough-guy persona (something many spectators were doing as there were more than five big fights at the venue throughout the day). It’s fair to say that T.I. spent more time ranting, raving, threatening, and challenging Shawty Lo and proclaiming his own excellence, than actually showing his talent and performing for the thousands of fans who had paid to see him. Luckily for T.I., his fame and popular music carried the fans through the show’s finale, and most left satisfied.

The Super Jam 2008 was a one-of-a-kind event in St. Louis that was able to bring a great number, as well as great variety, of hip-hop and R&B talent to one stage. The fans came for a show and they got an eight-hour party. The energy in the amphitheater that afternoon was tangible, as the music was made to be felt. Originally thought to be impossible and doubted by many, St. Louis’s Hot 104.1 was able to single-handedly organize this star-studded event for the city’s hip-hop fans and the station has already announced intention for Super Jam 2009.

 

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