ATLANTA — Approximately 3,000 young people were rewarded for giving back to the community on Friday, as Boost Mobile held its second annual RockCorps concert at this city's Fox Theatre.
Young Jeezy, Slim Thug, Big Boi, Paul Wall, the Game, Lil Wayne and Keyshia Cole were among those getting onstage to perform. The only way to get a ticket for the show was to sign up through Boost Mobile for four hours of community service, this time cleaning up various locations around the city.
"I just came out; I ain't even performing," Lil Jon said minutes after his surprise crowd-hyping appearance. DJ Drama introduced the King of Crunk to the tune of Jon's own "Snap Yo Fingers." Jon brought out the Atlanta-based dance troupe the Flow Masters, who appear in the song's video. For a few minutes, the whole Fox Theatre seemed to be doing the Pool Palace dance.
"Snap your fingers, do your step," Jon rapped as the crowd joined in en masse.
"I'm just here showing love to the kids in the community that gave their time and effort to clean the community up," Jon added backstage. "That's big. It make me feel real good because the kids are sometimes looked at like they get into a lot of trouble or they're not doing what they're supposed to do. But they're out here giving time in the summer, cleaning up their community, just for a ticket to the concert. That's why all the artists came out here, saying thanks for giving a damn."
"Kids are important, period," Lil Wayne agreed backstage. "They are our future. I'm young myself — I'm 23, so I know how important the future is. When I see anybody younger than me doing something positive or accomplishing any goal, I'm with it."
Wayne and his Atlanta friend Young Jeezy definitely caused the most ruckus with their respective sets, which were filled with street hits and radio smashes.
The Game also caused quite a stir with his G-Unit-slamming verses in "How We Do" — the lyrics can't be repeated here, but he's recently added Mobb Deep and Mase to the list. The crowd sang along.
On a more humble note, the Game took time out during his set to pay respect to some of hip-hop's finest, including T.I. manager Philant Johnson and the late Tupac Shakur: Friday marked what would have been the rapper's 35th birthday, and his mom, Afeni Shakur, came onstage briefly to thank the crowd and share a few words about her son.
Big Boi and his Purple Ribbon All-Stars closed the night. Big and company performed several new concrete bangers, including "Kryptonite," and he even dug deep into his stash of Outkast hits as well as the duo's new "Mighty O." Big had to do those records by himself, though — Andre 3000 was nowhere in sight.
After the show, Big said doing the records without his longtime partner is not a problem, adding that fans should expect more of the same when he and the Purple Ribbon crew go on tour this summer.
"I'm going," Big said of the tour. "I don't care who calls me. We been doing it strong [without Andre] since the last LP. If my man ever wanna, you know, get back out here, he's welcome — we got a mic for him. But until he do that, we gone. Ain't nothing gonna stop this here.
"Ain't no beef or nothing," he clarified, "but ain't nothing stopping this here."
Last year, artists such as Fat Joe, Remy Martin, D-Block and Fabolous performed at New York's Radio City Music Hall at the first RockCorps concert. The foundation has another New York show lined up for September, although no lineup has been announced yet. There are also two brief RockCorps tours planned for the summer, one featuring Ghostface Killah and Rick Ross, the other with rockers Hawthorne Heights.
"It's hard to do Radio City Music Hall, but down in Atlanta, there's such a sense of community," RockCorps CEO Stephen Greene said. "To see all the artists come in and grace the stage — that energy, that community feel, is definitely next level from what we had in New York. The proof is in the pudding tonight."
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.