The Final Lap Tour feat. 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes!
Photos by: Samantha Madnick
Words by: Rudy Flores
The Final Lap tour, featuring 50 Cent with special guests The Legendary Busta Rhymes and R&B star Jeremih, took the North Island Credit Union Amphitheater in Chula Vista, California by storm Thursday night to a nearly sold out crowd! A precursor to the upcoming Labor Day BBQ's, this definitely had all the ingredients for a great start to the weekend!
First up was Jerimih, the R&B singer from the south side of Chicago. He hit the stage as the crowds were filling in, and even though his set was short (as most openers tend to be), he gave everyone there a great performance. Between the dancers on poles and the other choreographed dance sequences, he got everyone into it when he performed "Birthday Sex" off his self titled 2009 debut. They danced side by side, all singing the hit and having an awesome time. He really held it down for his "Day 1's".
Up next was the Legend BUSTA RHYMES!! One of Hip-Hop's greatest MC's, and one of the best ever to hold a mic, got on the stage to wow us and "WOW US" HE DID!! Bringing back the old school grimey New York feel that Hip Hop, (or whatever the hell the genre has downgraded to over the last few years) has definitely been missing. The feel of the setlist was like a greatest hits record with tracks like "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" (which suffered from some minor mic issues that have been plaguing 50's Final Lap as of late), "Make it Clap", "Touch It", and "I Know What You Want" all had the audience going completely wild in the amphitheater. Myself included, in fact, by the time he got a few bars into "Scenario", which he along with the rest of Leaders of the New School and A Tribe Called Quest dropped back in 91' , I had completely stopped writing and decided I didn't want to miss one more second! I put my phone in my pocket and just let the vibe hit and IT HIT HARD!!
When it was time for the verbal onslaught known as "The Busta Verse" on "Look At Me Now", the chapstick was applied and the Busta took his time because as he stated "you can't rush perfection"... what came next was the greatest 53 seconds of speed rap I have ever seen IN MY LIFE! Every word enunciated with perfect diction, clear and concise. He put on a clinically clean but oh so dirty performance that made us all errupt with cheers at the end that could be heard all throughout the hills and valleys for miles I'm sure! Afterwards, he kinda took a jab at all the new "Hip-Hop" out there by saying "We don't need special effects, BECAUSE WE ARE THE SPECIAL EFFECTS!" which I loved because in an age where autotune and ghostwriters are a big thing, he along with a select few out there prove over and over again that they don't need it and NEVER will.
One of the coolest and most respectful moments of the night happened when Busta payed homage to the West Coast Hip-Hop Community by bringing the one and only "X TO THE Z XZIBIT!!" on stage for a performance of his amazing verse on Dr. Dre's "What's The Difference". The high school nostalgia of that one put a smile one everyone's face. I gotta give it to Busta on that one... RESPECT! When his set ended I leaned over to the complete stranger next to me (something I never usually do) and said in my oldest old man tone that "THAT'S HOW YOU FUCKIN' DO IT!!" To which he replied "YOU DAMN RIGHT!!"
Up next was 50 CENT, and let me tell you, a truer spectale there could not have been! Amidst an extravagant stage production featuring mesmerizing lights and billowing smoke, the one and only 50 Cent emerged from a rotating enclosure. The crowd reached unparalleled heights of excitement as 50 wasted no time jumping straight into his iconic discography. It was hit after hit with tracks like "What Up Gangsta", "Hate It Or Love It", "Magic Stick", "P.I.M.P.", and "Candy Shop", just to name a few. 50's was an era of extravagance and it showed during his set, especially when the pillar lights went on to reveal his full live band on top, making every track sound fuller and as rich as the rapper turned mogul himself.
There were also wardrobe/set changes that went perfectly with the East Coast vibe, one of which was when the pillars had scenes of Brooklyn bodegas cast on them. A cool touch if you ask me because it allowed us to kind of transport ourselves there for a bit. 50 even brought out G-Unit dancers to further emphasize that early/mid 2000's music video feel that he's known for. Also on the stage were Tony Yayo and Uncle Murda from none other than GGGG G-UNIT itself, helping 50 hype up the crowd and filling in with background vocals when needed. Jeremih made an appearance to perform "Down On Me" from 2010's " All About You", which of course 50 accompanied on. The nostalgic vibe hit its peak when "In Da Club" came on. "The Club" aka North Island Credit Union Amphitheater lost its collective shit when the streamers and confetti dropped, giving the crowd a little something they could add to their scrapbooks (do people still do those?), so they could remember this incredible experience!!
Overall this was a true "best of" for 50 fans and a love letter to the genre that just celebrated its 50th anniversary this year!And with rumors of this being his final tour (hence The Final Lap), it was something that you might end up kicking yourself for if you miss it. Don't worry though, because with about 30ish shows left, you still have time to get your tickets when The Final Lap Tour makes its way to a city near you!