Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
I went into the Governor's Hall with high hopes for some quality, mainstream rap music. What I got was a marathon of local artists (607 outshined all of them with originality) who took large chunks of the crowd onstage to aide their performance of slurred, repetitive rap and a blazed Young Buck talking over his own songs. It wasn't a night for the music itself, but rather one for observing the ignorance and impatience of local concertgoers and that mainstream rappers suck live.You could see the trouble coming. A chest-high metal fence lined about 75 feet around the stage to make room for an exclusive, $40 a person VIP area. With a $30 door tag, anything more is pushing already loyal patrons. Shouldn't Southern rappers treat those in the South like their own kind and cut 'em a deal? Apparently not.
With the view of the stage sub par, the common folk behind the VIP line grew restless. I heard a shout of “Put anybody but these local mutha f***as on stage.” Which is exactly the kind of anyone-but-our-own attitude that makes it harder for local rappers to reach the national stage. It took every ounce of me to not go off on the holler. A little while later, with the ignorance and an hour of ass-shaking contests behind me, Young Buck stumbled on stage with his posse.This is where things got interesting. The special bastards in VIP started standing on the tables, blocking the view of my common folk and me. The common folk had had enough and pushed the fence all the way up to the VIP tables and then knocked the fence down, resulting in a “28 Days Later”-style zombie run as nearly a thousand bodies jumped the fence to stand on tables in an area designed for 100 people. My view was completely ruined at this point and my frustration had reached full capacity. Not only was it a terrible performance, but I couldn't see the terrible performance. I waited around hoping for a miracle of hard-hitting Southern rap, but it never came.
After Buck's set the rowdy crowd awaited the arrival of Boosie. I couldn't believe that people would stand around on wobbly tables for more trashy music. It became obvious the crowd had reached its limits when I saw a chair go up in the air and then slam down into the crowd again. People rushed in to witness the brawl seconds before police came in with a pepper spray bomb that had the crowd running faster than Smarty Jones. The chemicals spread fast and the show was canceled. The police saved Little Rock from mediocre rap. Amazing.This was the first hip hop show that I left in tears and it made for a memorable one. I am still disgruntled over my money but hey, it made for a hell of a story.