POWER HOUSE JAM BRINGS LIL WAYNE TO WICHITA, KS FOR FIRST VISIT

"Started at the bottom now we're here," spoken by Power 93.5-FM radio station DJ and program manager Greg "The Hitman" Williams during the June 11 Power House Jam, led the crowd of nearly 6,000 young fans to erupt into an enormous applause that seemed to carry on for minutes.  History would be made this night as in the five year history of Intrust Bank Arena, never once had a hip hop artist, let alone six of them all in one night, performed at the fairly new arena tucked away in downtown Wichita, KS.  If there were ever to be a line-up that was sure to prove a point, this would be the one.  After all, the headliner of the night was none other than Lil Wayne.  

Sharing the bill for the inaugural Power House Jam were up and coming rappers Ty Dolla $ignFetty Wap, Kid Ink and hip hop pretty boy Trey Songz.  With the exception of Trey, each artist performed an approximate 20 minute set with as little as 5-10 minutes in between each set leaving the crowd little time to get bored or even recap the prior performance before the next artist was on.  Getting a restroom break in between sets was undoubtedly a challenge for all in attendance but was a smart move by promoters as this kept a high level of energy flowing in the arena leading up to the final big performers of the night.  Fetty Wap seemed to be a crowd favorite as he sang his most notable hit "Trap Queen" in which the arena became a sing-a-long to the recognizable and catchy chorus "...And I get high with my baby/I just left the mall/ I'm getting fly with my baby/And I can ride with my baby/I be in the kitchen cooking pies with my baby."  Kid Ink couldn't let Fetty Wap steal the show with that, so he made sure to close out his set in a more memorable way, by heading into the crowd and interacting face to face with fans in the VIP/floor area during his last song.  

The three opening artists did an incredible job of getting the crowd hype and out of their seats when The Hitman dropped a surprise announcement; Well known Kansas City rapper Tech N9ne was in the house and would then take the stage to perform "Hood Go Crazy."  Being a local favorite, the fans let Tech know they appreciated him being there by engaging back with the artist, hands in the air through the entire song. 

Performing with a full band behind him compared to the DJ set-ups of the previous artists, stage turnover for Trey Songz was a little longer affording fans the opportunity to grab a quick drink or bite to eat before heading right back to their seats to greet the highly anticipated and arguably best performer of the night.  Known for his baby face and pearly white smile, when Trey took the stage it was obvious that every lady in attendance was there for that moment alone.  Screams echoed throughout the arena that would be heard all most non-stop for the next 40 minutes.  "I Need a Girl" was a lady favorite as Trey asked Wichita fans "is my baby here tonight?" sending every girl into a heightened state of screaming that would soon be followed by the highlight of his performance in which his basic white t-shirt came off and went flying into the crowd sending a frenzy of fans to the floor fighting for the heart throb's clothing.  The shirt was eventually claimed by four young ladies in the front row attending the show together who would decide that the prized possession would be shared by all of them in the days to come.  If anything can be said regarding Trey Songz performance it is this, he is an all around incredible performer.  He can rap, dance, sing and interact with his audience in a flirty, almost spell binding fashion that made it impossible not to give all of your attention to the young artist during his performance.

There would then be only one artist remaining to leave his mark in Wichita during this historical Power House Jam.  But in contrast to the quick turnover of each artist prior, there was nothing quick about Lil Wayne's start time.  Scheduled to take the stage at 9:40, the rapper did not present until 40 minutes later at 10:20.  I'm sure most fans would agree that this was the longest 40 minutes of their lives.  Rumor has it that his flight arrived late to the private airport in the city.  I can only imagine that it must get rough flying from city to city in your own personal jet.  In irony, fans eagerly awaiting for the rapper to present himself may have wondered if there was any connection between Lil Wayne's recent and second, self released mix tape entitled Sorry For The Wait Part II.  Was this Sorry For The Wait Part III?  Fortunately, there was plenty of time for Snapchat and Twitter to pass the time while anticipating Lil Wayne's arrival to the stage.  At the precise moment in which that wait was finally over, every fan in attendance had their eyes planted on the head-to-toe tatted up, dread locked rapper double timing it on the mic right before them.  New Orleans style was in the house and Lil Wayne came to bring the roof down.  His set list began with a verse from the song "John" in which the song title references musician John Lennon followed by short verses from popular songs "Mrs. Officer," "Truffle Butter" and "Lollipop," just to name a few.  Shortly after his opening numbers Wayne interacted with his audience by letting them know he appreciated each and every one of them and telling fans not once but twice to give themselves a round of applause because "you're beautiful," followed by the statement "I didn't come here to talk, I came here to turn this b*tch up so if you're a Lil Wayne fan lets f**king go!" leading into popular track "A Milli."

It's no secret that Lil Wayne has had a recent, nasty battle with his record label Cash Money in which fans have been long awaiting the release of his eleventh studio album Tha Carter V that seems at this point to have no release date in sight, ever.  In the midst of the public drama, Wayne has still managed to produce and release tracks independently with the most recent track entitled "Glory," released exclusively via TIDAL.  This high tempo track which doesn't even require a single hook is part of yet another self released album entitled FWA or Free Weezy Album.  Lil Wayne informed fans of this soon to be released free album right before performing Glory, live, for the Power House Jam audience for the first time ever since its release.  Being that the track was so new and with limited access, Wayne acknowledged that most fans had yet to hear it unless they were paid subscribers to TIDAL.  He didn't feel it was fair to perform something never heard prior to walking us through it lyrically.  So, that's exactly what Lil Wayne did next.  The step-by-step poetic performance of Glory can be seen by fan footage here.  Can you say lyrical genius?  

Despite the delay in Lil Wayne's start time, short song performances and overall short set time for a headlining act, one thing is certain; referencing chorus lyrics from his opening song "John," "...If I die today/Remember me like John Lennon..." I have a feeling that if he were to die today he would not be remembered like John Lennon at all.  He would however be forever remembered as Lil Wayne, aka Lil Tunechi, aka Weezy F Baby, aka The Best Rapper Alive, to most, if not all rap fans.

 

REVIEW BY: SARA MEEK


see full picture gallery from power house jam here...