Thousands of people filled the newly “lifted” American Family Insurance Amphitheater on Summerfest’s final day to see hip-hop royalty. Though it took 11 days to bring rap to the amphitheater during this year’s festivities, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and ScHoolboy Q were worth the wait. While the three artists aren’t particularly cohesive, they do reach several distinct-yet-diverse crowds. With the assistance of local DJs—Bizzon and Whyte Nite—the droves of people, ranging from 15 to 50 year olds, all found common ground.
After unexpectedly getting the audience turnt to DMX’s “Party Up (Up In Here),” the Milwaukee DJs left the stage to make way for Top Dawg Entertainment rapper ScHoolboy Q, whose performance somehow morphed into a comedy show. At one point in the show, he ended up taking off his hat due to the heat and admitting to fans that he’s going bald. He also went in on a few people in the audience during his opening set, most notably a mother and son that he mistook for a couple. The only downside to Q’s performance was his insistence on doing so many songs off his new album, Crash Talk. The people seemed to want more classic Q.
The question of the night was whether Snoop Dogg was lip-syncing. The answer: who gives a shit? The guy is still performing upwards of 20 classic songs daily at 47. It was certain that he wasn’t lip-syncing when he loosened up the crowd by doing House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Perhaps the most memorable moment of Snoop’s set was when four stripper poles were being simultaneously worked by dancers during “Drop it Like It’s Hot.”
Finally, we come to Lil Wayne. He came out dressed like Eddie Vedder circa 1994 and his diehards ate it up. Then, the guitars started and they never stopped. It was like watching Public Enemy play with Anthrax in the ’90s. It worked for a song or two, but that’s about it. Nobody wants to hear a hard rock rendition of “Lollipop.” Wayne was at the top of his game performance-wise, but not every song needed to be an ode to Living Colour. Some of us wanted to hear Carter V minus the guitar solos. Let’s not get it twisted though, seeing Lil Wayne live is quite a surreal experience. It was just too much fucking metal.