There’s no denying that the early 2000s were some of the greatest moments in time, mostly due in part to me living my best life in college at the time. Like most people, a bulk of our memories were tied to either music or either a good night out at the club, both of which ring true for me. I’m a staunch believer that 90s music is the greatest of all time, but the sounds that followed after the turn of the new millennium were an extension of those same vibes, and I consider it to be the little brother of 90s music.
When I heard that the My 00’s Playlist Tour was heading to the Washington, DC area, I knew that this was going to be an event filled with nostalgia on all levels. Although we were at the Capital One Arena, it certainly felt more like the MCI Center with the likes of the hitmakers from the early 00’s taking the stage. With this event starting on time, West Coast DJ J.Valentino did his due diligence by warming up the bowl of the arena, which was just now starting to fill in with people. You could tell that this was definitely a timepiece-based event, as almost everyone was donning some of the hottest fashion trends at the time. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I saw so much Babyphat, Sean Jean, throwback jerseys, long tees and Air Force Ones in that much abundance, but I was here for it though because those were the days!
Kicking things off were the dynamic duo who were responsible for getting a party crunk back in the day. The Ying Yang Twins exude every meaning of that term…as they were some of the crunk kings in the early 2000s. Not ONE body was seated during the 20 minutes that they bopped, A-Town stomped, and “poole palaced” around the venue.
I think the ladies honestly got the most out of this performance because almost every one of their songs was a twerk song, even before twerking became the cultural phenomenon that it did in the 2010s. Songs like “Get Low“, “Whisper Song“, “Salt Shaker“, “Whistle While You Twerk” had women backing it up and feeling like a college party. What I give Kaine and D-Roc major props on is being able to retain the same level of energy and vitality today, that they were known for when their debut album came out.
“Mike Jones, who?” was a question that we all used to ask. Rapper Mike Jones rose to prominence in 2005 helping to push the Houston-based chopped-and-screwed genre of rap to the forefront of music, but we haven’t seen him in quite some time. That doesn’t mean that he was totally forgotten about though.
Fans still knew the words to his songs “Still Trippin,” “I’m On Top,” and of course “Back Then,” where we all simultaneously yelled out 281-330-8004.
Granted we were physically in the Nation’s Capital, we quickly were taken to Harlem World when Mason Betha aka Ma$e made his way out onto the stage. Bad Boy Entertainment had me in a total chokehold circa 1997, and Mase was a big part of that due to him being featured on some of their most notable hits. Running out looking like new money in a green leather Louis Vitton suit, he wasted no time getting into the track that introduced us to him, the 112 lead “Only You.”
His four female background dancers not only held him down with the famous Harlem dance moves, but they also helped embody the essence of that time while doing so in silver shiny outfits. Being swept back in a mental timewarp to songs like “Been Around The World,” “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” and “What You Want” allowed me to just be free and enjoy a time when music was unadulterated REAL MUSIC.
During a bit of an extended intermission, one of the hosts went up into Section 216 where they had J Valentino do a contest with an audience member to see if they could finish the lyrics to a random song, and the one lucky winner was awarded ticket upgrades.
To keep that New York energy flowing, next up it was the FA-BO-LO-US who came through and hit us with nothing but straight bars. Everyone knows that Fab has kind of been earmarked to be your favorite rappers’ favorite lyricist, and it was clear to see why. “Can’t Deny It” was his choice of song to start out with, but it was when he decided to go back to that classic sh*t that hit the mark. Once the beginning beat of “Superwoman pt. II” blasted across the speakers is when it got real, for me at least. He closed out with one of his biggest songs to date, “Breathe.”
The Kang of the South, T.I. was also on the bill and sprinkled the show with the sub-genre of rap that he’s made famous and has pretty much taken over the game for the last few years. With trap music favorites “Top Back,” “What You Know,” “About The Money” and “Rubberband Man“, there was no faking or fronting on his behalf, and he let us know that the A was in the building.
“Bring Em Out” was that cut to make me remember exactly where I was and what I was doing in 2004 when the song was initially released. For his final song, he asked that we all put a light in the sky in honor of his soldier Clay as he gave a heartfelt performance of “Live in the Sky” and left the stage with a mic drop.
As the grand finale, and the reason a lot of people stayed until the end, the Bonnie and Clyde of this 2000’s music thang came out to much fanfare. Ja Rule and the princess of R&B Ashanti double-teamed us with their joint duet “Mesmerize” and for the duration of their set, they would tag each other back in. Shanti’s seductive voice still sounds the same on the hits that made her a household name “Happy,” “Baby,” “Rock Wit U” and “Only U.” To give the princess a break, Ja Rule came through strong like a ball of energy on “Livin’ It Up,” “Between Me & You,” “I Cry,” and “Clap Back.”
Before Ashanti’s performance of “Rain On Me“, she helped reaffirm that you can make it through any type of struggle as long as you push through and fight. This sentiment couldn’t be truer for her own life, as she’s had to combat many obstacles in her career, but her journey all paid off as she announced that she’s just received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
It was almost coincidental that they shut the stage, and the show down with their mega-hit “Always On Time,” as we were well past show curfew, but who’s really counting time when we’re having this much fun?
A special shout-out goes to Lucky Man Concerts and Bobby Dee for bringing this bit of nostalgia back at just the right time.