How does a once-popular-now-struggling New York rapper and his street-bred cohorts entertain a crowd comprised mainly of drunk dads at a wine festival? By giving them a heavy dose of nostalgia to supplement the booze. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. 50 Cent and G-Unit tried their best to entertain an overwhelmingly small crowd by performing hits from yesteryear, but nostalgia alone wasn’t enough to satisfy a buzzed audience.
The group, comprised of five members and a DJ, began its set with guns ablaze by performing some of its rowdiest hits first. 50 and company swung their sweat rags around their heads and splashed water on fans during “What Up Gangsta,” and “I Get Money.” The members appeared just as they did in their heyday—50 still sports a flat-brim hat and hulk-like stature, Lloyd Banks still bounces across the stage while rapping like a madman and Young Buck still provides comic relief by chanting “muthafucka!” every now and then. But the focus remained on 50. He was all smiles during throwback performances of “P.I.M.P” and “21 Questions” and he wasn’t afraid to hand the mic off to his buddies; Lloyd Banks yelled through his verse in “Beamer Benz or Bentley” and Young Buck squawked like a chicken during “Not This Time.”
Unfortunately, the energy was not reciprocated by the crowd, which in turn, hindered the momentum generated from the hits. Newer G-Unit material, such as “I’m Grown” and Rotimi’s “Lotto,” left the crowd nearly comatose. After a pointless outfit change and two-song encore, the crew returned to give two more lackluster cuts, closing the set on a weak note. Sorry, 50 Cent—not even your infectious grin could save this performance. ★★✩✩✩
Photos by Jesse Sutherland