50 plays more than just a lil’ bit
The dilemma inside the Blaisdell was the same discussed backstage at the pre-concert VIP party and during the weeks before Friday's show.
Just how long would 50 Cent be on stage during his second visit to Hawaii?
Local residents were disappointed when the rapper performed for 45 minutes in 2003. This time, 50 and G-Unit kept a crowd of about 3,000 on their feet nearly twice as long.
DJ Whoo Kid got things started, bringing out Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo to the sounds of a coin dropping and gunfire. But there was no sign of G-Unit member Young Buck as 50 made his entrance and launched into "What Up Gangsta?"
Nobody wore bulletproof vests (as they did in 2003), opting instead for T-shirts with 50's Web site URL and a lot of jewelry. And it wasn't long before 50 performed the hits that fans came to hear.
"I Get Money" sent cameras into the air, followed by the first plumes of smoke that weren't part of the venue's lighting setup. Then 50 announced he was "heading straight to the bank with this."
He should have said he was heading backstage, because he cut "Straight to the Bank" short and left Banks to stall.
Wearing a different color of the same T-shirt, 50 returned with "AYO Technology" and "Follow My Lead," which got the ladies excited and appeared to have residual benefits for a lot of guys. The first 15 to 20 rows at the Blaisdell turned into a scrum that only fueled the rappers' performances.
50 soon took off a second time, returning after Banks and Yayo had taken the crowd on a trip that can only be described as a short chronic break: During Friday's only true hip-hop moment, the two paused the concert to share a marijuana blunt as Bob Marley blasted in the background.
When 50 returned for an encore after nearly an hour on stage, he surprised everyone by performing for another 25 minutes. But his songs were getting cut shorter and shorter.
Yet nobody seemed to care, and ladies screamed when 50 threw his hat into the crowd, followed by his G-Unit sneakers. Dropping the gangsta persona for a moment, 50 then gave what appeared to be a sincere thanks to the crowd and left for the final time.
The friendly goodbye was an odd way to close a gangsta rap concert, but maybe it should have been expected after a night that also featured shirtless Samoan dancers, an opening act who got to perform because they won a contest, and the self-described "Prince of Polynesia."