Out of Prison and Onto the Stage

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT

Cheyann Elmore

Lil Wayne performs during the "Lil Wayne: I Am Music Tour World Tour" at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Jan. 2, 2009. Lil Wayne has since served a prison sentence, but that didn’t stop him from writing his latest album, “Tha Carter IV.”

Rapper Lil Wayne performs at Oracle Arena to promote new album

Released from prison only a few months ago, the man who many have dubbed “the greatest rapper alive,” Lil Wayne took the stage Sunday night and kept the sold-out Oracle Arena on their feet the entire show.

Lil Wayne, also known as Weezy F. Baby, showed the crowd that even after being incarcerated for eight months at Rikers Island prison on weapons charges, he is “Still Music,” which is also the name of his tour.

Born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., Wayne was raised in Hollygrove, New Orleans.

According to Starpulse.com, Lil Wayne was a straight A student, but never felt that his true intelligence was expressed through report cards.

As a result, he found early on that music was the perfect tool for expressing himself.

At only 11 years old, Lil Wayne was able to persuade the record label Cash Money to give him a chance. Although he was just an intern, he used the opportunity to show off his hard-working skills.

“I like his swag and how he says whatever is on his mind,” said Business Administration major Jack Williams III, 19. “He is explicit and witty.”

The arena was rockin’ even before Weezy took the stage.

Drummer Travis Barker kept the crowd well entertained as he attacked his drums. Rapper Paul Wall showed up on stage during Barker’s performance, performing his hit “Bizzy Body.”

Rick Ross did not disappoint, performing a few of his songs, “Hustlin’,” “Aston Martin Music” and “The Boss.”

He then took it up another notch when he brought out Bay Area legends E-40 and Too Short.

The crowd was already fired up and anticipating the arrival of the headliner.

Prior to the night of the concert, fans were anticipating Wayne to give a great performance, which he did.

“This is the concert for him to let everyone know he is back and still on top,” said Lil Wayne fan Steven Smith. “I expect him to show that.”

The lights went out, a three-tier performance balcony lit up on stage and the crowd became enticed by the silhouettes of dancing women.

Wayne was introduced by a voiceover of a female police dispatcher, letting the crowd know Wayne had just been released from prison and was on his way to our city. It was amazing how he was able use his recent incarceration to his advantage, as a tool of entertainment.

“The thing I like most about Wayne is that his metaphors are always on point,” said Kinesiology major Joaquin Avelino, 20. “He comes up with lyrics that nobody else would ever even think of.”

Wayne rose up to the stage in a white tee, jeans and an A’s baseball cap representing his Bay Area attire.

He started the show off with his verse from Chris Brown’s recent single “Look at Me Now.” He continued with his old hit “I’m Goin’ In” and more recent single “Bill Gates” from his latest album I Am Not A Human Being (2010), which was released while he was still incarcerated.

When he performed his 2008 platinum hit, “A Millie,” the crowd went crazy—everyone in the audience was on their feet. His 2008 songs were some of his best sellers, according to music critics.

It was in the year 2008 that Wayne began to establish himself across mainstream America. He made an appearance on Saturday Night Live, won four Grammy Awards—including Best Rap Album and released Tha Carter III.
The audience continued to stand through hits off his latest mixtape No Ceilings.

Throughout the show, Wayne definitely owned the stage. While performing, he was constantly smiling, laughing and “getting down” with his back- up dancers. He made it clear that he was passionate about his music.

He brought out some of his Young Money artists including Lil Twist and Shanel.

Wayne took a break, and out came talented, eccentric female rapper Nicki Minaj, wearing a rainbow leotard and sporting an exaggerated pink and black “Bride of Frankenstein” flattop.

She brought a different kind of flare to the stage and the crowd welcomed her with open arms.

She performed hit singles from her new album Pink Friday including “Roman’s Revenge” and “Did it on Em.”

Wayne took the stage once again with even more energy than he had during the opening performance.

Since one of Wayne’s most popular artists, Drake, was not scheduled for this show, Wayne did a quick tribute to him, performing a few of their collaborative songs, “Miss Me” and “Forever.”

He brought out his entire Young Money group to help him perform “Every Girl” and “Bedrock.” With lights flashing and a stage full of dancers, the performance gave the character and energy of a grand finale, but of course, the show was not over just yet.

His charming swag, comical facial expressions and electrifying charisma made for great stage presence. He was definitely fun to watch dancing around the stage.

The second time around, Wayne was dressed in red Converse shoes, red and black high socks, khaki shorts and a tank top, showing off his skater look as he strapped himself up with his guitar to show his new involvement with rock music.

The Oracle transformed from a hip hop jamboree to the House of Rock when he played the guitar to single “Prom Queen” off his Rebirth album.

Wayne brought a air of sexiness to the Oracle with his performance of 2009 money makers “Mrs. Officer” and “Lollipop.”

He gave off a strange, yet alluring sex appeal which went well with the crowd. His constant “wink” of the eye, rolls of the tongue and swivel of his hips had the women and some men weak in the knees.

The concert would not have been complete if Wayne hadn’t brought out the man who first gave him a chance 17 years ago, the man he calls his “daddy,” rapper Birdman. He helped him perform their latest released single “Fire Flame.” Orange lights flashed throughout the arena and fire shot up from the stage. This performance was hot—literally and figuratively.

Wrapping the show up, Wayne made sure he performed radio sensation “6 Foot 7 Foot” with Cory Gunz. Then he gave the crowd a poetic a cappella verse which thanked his fans for all the support they have given him, even while he was “away.”

“You are now being entertained by something so much more than just a rapper,” said Weezy. “I am one of the best things to ever happen to music.”
His standing ovation proved him right, as Wayne gave a phenomenal show.