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Music

Break it down: Anger Management

The rapping, crunking tour hits Tampa on Monday night. There's a lot of history to shake out behind the music.

By SEAN DALY
Published July 28, 2005


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There's going to be so much rap, funk, crunk, junk and bunk cranking from the Anger Management Tour stop at the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday, folks in Gulfport just might see the BOOM BOOM BOOM of the bass lines rattle their wind chimes. (That's hyperbole, folks - please put down the phone.)

Hoo boy, is this a wild 'n' woolly gig, one of the most anticipated shows of the year. Headliners Eminem and 50 Cent will raise a rap ruckus for sure, and a supporting cast of mayhem-magnets should tear it up, too: Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz ("crunk" artists with only the finest pimp cups in hands), Pitbull (Lil Jon's Cuban pal), D12 (Em's Motor City clique, including robust oddity Bizarre), G-Unit (Fiddy's East Coast posse), and Obie Trice (Em's wise-cracking crony).

Can't keep all the connections straight? Too many buds buzzing in your brain? As our chart here shows, the Anger Management Tour is virtually a family reunion. So herewith our version of rap's Cliffs Notes. We'll call them Spliff Notes (oh, just ask your kids):

Even though he probably won't be there, the ever-looming godfather of the tour is Dr. Dre, the mastermind behind gangsta rap progenitors N.W.A., the Compton crew that also featured Eazy-E, now deceased, and Ice Cube, now a kiddie-friendly movie star. After splitting from those (Blank) Tha Police-ers in 1992, Dre spent most of his time behind the soundboard, producing a signature musical style called G-funk, a wicked, bass-heavy blend of Parliament/Funkadelic (all hail Mothership captain George Clinton!) and street-tough rhymes (often performed by buddy Snoop Dogg). Dre would go on to form Death Row Records with the oft-imprisoned Suge Knight, rap's ultimate gangster, then break with a very, very unhappy Suge to start the Aftermath label, an imprint of Interscope Records.

Still with me? Good, 'cause we're gonna pick up the flow here.

The legend goes a little something like this: One fateful day, while digging through demo tapes in the offices of Interscope, Dre came across songs by a quick-lipped Midwestern unknown calling himself Eminem. Dre thought the kid was black. Immediately after meeting the young Detroit rapper - who, at the time, was performing with his hometown crew of rhymers, D12, and who was not black - Dre and the boy born Marshall Mathers started messing around with a song called My Name Is . . . It became a monster hit, and Em became a star.

Eminem would go on to sign oft-shot Queens native 50 Cent to Shady/Aftermath, his label with Dre. And 50 Cent would, in turn, introduce his NYC gang, the G-Unit (including Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo), to his new boss. Em also looked out for his own hometown friends: Obie Trice and D12.

As far as producer/performer Lil Jon is concerned, the King of Crunk was certainly influenced by Dre, too. If you're keeping score at home, crunk is Southern-born, slowed-down big-bass party rap, a state of mind as much as a musical genre. Not G-Funk, but definitely C-Funk. Perhaps fueled by his preferred beverage - crunk juice! - Lil Jon has also become a top-notch star-searcher of his own; his lucky finds include Miami crunker Pitbull and Hotlanta crunkette Ciara (she's not on the Anger tour, but she should be).

So there you go, there's your Anger Management breakdown. You'll be quizzed on this later, so stay sharp. If you're lucky, Em will pop up during D12's set; that group's carnival-esque hit My Band, a boy-band sendup featuring Marshall Mathers as a stuck-up frontman, was more fun than anything on the Detroit rapper's last album.

Controversy was bound to shadow this crew across the country, and wouldn't you know it, a couple of weeks ago, one of the tour buses - carrying Eminem's DJ, Alchemist, and rookie rapper Stat Quo (yet another MM discovery) - collided with a couple of tractor trailers in Missouri. Both of the performers were injured, and haven't yet returned to the tour. In the meantime, Eminem has been using D12's turntable man, DJ Salam Wreck, during his set.

From an artistic standpoint, this could be a thrill. Em forced to improvise and work double-time to sound smooth? Hold on to your wind chimes.

- Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or 727 893-8467.

PREVIEW: Eminem, 50 Cent and the rest of the Anger Management crew roll into town 7 p.m. Monday at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa. NOTE: The show has been moved from the Ford Amphitheatre, and ticketholders must exchange tickets for comparable seats at the Forum box office, which will be open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. today through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and at 8 a.m. Monday. Tickets are $53.50-$83. (813) 740-2446 or (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.

[Last modified July 27, 2005, 09:54:07]


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