Blue and purple lights illuminated the stage as a green laser dashed in view. Dj Nappi took the stage playing a mixture of old school Hip-Hop tracks such as Snoop Dog’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” to newer tracks ranging from Nicki Minaj to Lil’ Wayne. He managed to entertain the crowd with his Hip-Hop mixes through a series of opening acts as they awaited Chamillionaire’s entrance.
Among these opening acts were Laredo rappers who stated their goal was to represent their city. “I love this city, I’ve loved this city forever and I’m going to be repping you forever,” Ruf, a local rapper duo mentioned. Others, throwing “L” signs in the air managed to excitethe crowd as they passed out CD’s with their songs, some even including Laredo integrated lyrics. The Laredo rappers incorporated different styles into their shows ranging from slow verses to fast verses, and melodic choruses. Game Dog, the last act, even rapped with Brazilian infused background music. Bean and Kman, a duo of charismatic rappers from the same region as Chamillionaire, made sure to incorporate Laredo as they mentioned they traveled just to play for the audience. They made sure to make their way through the crowd talking to Laredoans and even joking with our photographer about taking pictures of their good side. Dj Nappi and the opening acts made sure to keep the crowd entertained with their enthusiasm and interesting verses, before welcoming Chamillionaire to the stage.
Laredo opening acts included:
At the end of the night, DJ Zero introduced himself, as he interacted with the audience before calling Chamillionaire. The audience shouted “Koopa,” also known as Chamillionaire, after Dj Zero shouted “King.” This allowed everyone to make their way to the front as they enthusiastically jumped and raised their hands to welcome “Koopa” himself. Coming out with great energy, he never missed a beat. He interacted with the crowd, telling them to put their hands in the air and make noise. The crowd was very responsive as they danced and jumped with their cell phones and cameras ready to capture the moment. Chamillionaire covered several singles from his album “The Sound of Revenge,” and even covered various of his friend’s singles including Paul Wall and the crowd favorite Mike Jones. Local rappers were even allowed to get on stage with Chamillionaire to show him what they were made of. This was a dream come true for several rappers, who eagerly waited to show the rapper their verses. However, the highlight of the night was when Chamillionaire performed the long awaited famous song “Ridin.” The crowd exploded as they jumped with their hands up, and some even stepped aside to dance. Chamillionaire managed to remind the audience what Hip-Hop was really about not only from his own album, but by incorporating other artists. Through the night it was visible that there is a large Hip-Hop culture in Laredo that needs to be explored.
The concert’s atmosphere was different as we arrived at Las Cananas Revo Bar several hours earlier to meet with Chamillionaire. Wearing basketball shorts and a black t-shirt, Chamillionaire greeted his fans and the media as they entered to meet the famous performer. He was discussing his experiences with several fans, including his performances in Canada after rapper Juvenile was placed in custody. He remembers the performance being inspiring, as the attendees sang the melody regardless of being a French dominated region.
Although Chamillionaire hadn’t performed in Laredo, he knows the area well. Chamillionaire visited the city about 20 times as an aspiring musician. He recalls renting a hotel, tearing out retailers pages from the phone book, and delivering his mix tapes to different retail stores in Laredo to promote his art. This is the hard work and dedication it takes to get to get to where he is now. For those seeking to get into the music industry, Chamillionaire advices to do it because you love it. “If you’re trying to get into it because you want to make money then you might be disappointed… If you do it because you love it, then you’ll get better, do it a lot more, and you’ll perfect your craft.”
Chamillionaire attributes much of his success to his greatest influence—his parents. Their militant work ethic pushed him to become what he is today and to possess a unique work ethic. This work ethic is what inspired Chamillionaire to push himself through his years as a struggling musician. Fortunately, Chamillionaire had a back-up plan. If he hadn’t made it in the music business, he would have liked to be an entrepreneur or business owner. This passion is reflected through Chamillitary Entertainment, his own music label.
Currently, Chamillionaire is on the works of his new album “Poison”. He is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to present it to the world, but is still working on perfecting it. “I receive phone calls all the time about doing TV show or reality shows, but I don’t want to do any of that. I just want to make music,” he explained when discussing his new album.
If “Poison” resembles the same enthusiasm and up-beat tempo he demonstrated at Las Cananas, his album is sure to be a hit.
Photography by: Pamela Ortiz. Click here for more event pictures.