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Review: Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa give Tampa a powerful contact high at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

22

July

"I don’t know about you,” Wiz Khalifa told the crowd of 12,000 at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Thursday night, “but I came here to get high as f---.”

Judging from the puffs and tufts and billows emerging from the crowd, he wasn’t alone. No surprise there, as Khalifa’s stagemate on the second night of the High Road Summer Tour was Snoop Dogg, only the most famous stoner in popular music.

The West Coast legend and his chart-topping Pittsburgh protégé – at least in the weed department – left the Amp in a haze of hip-hop hits and sweet Mary Jane (or maybe that should be Merry Jane, the cannabis lifestyle brand that serves as this tour’s title sponsor).

Blunts were puffed and passed to and from the crowd as Snoop and Wiz – “the new Cheech and Chong,” Snoop rapped on That Good, one of many weed-themed joints on the night – gave the Amp a buzz to remember.

There was a time, of course, when Snoop, 44, was perceived as a proper Left Coast gangster, actually accused and acquitted of murder, and not the cuddly dope-tokin’ Pee Wee football coach the world knows today.

“1996, I beat a 187; 80 million sold, and I ain’t checked the records,” he rapped on Legend, from his new LP Coolaid. And he wasted no time with a history lesson, striding out clutching an utterly gargantuan blunt and opening with vintage cuts The Next Episode, Nuthin’ But a G Thang and B---- Please.

Then it was Khalifa’s turn, and he dropped his trappy smashes Bake Sale and We Dem Boyz, which got a huge response. Then it was back to Snoop (I Wanna Rock), then Wiz (Ass Drop), then back to Snoop (Caviar, Gin and Juice, 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, with repeated shout-outs to Tupac), then Wiz again (Mezmorized, with an impressive a cappella run in the middle; Ink My Whole Body; Bout Me).

The back-and-forth, give-and-take approach worked well in the early going. The rappers’ divergent styles gave the night a nice ebb and flow, from Snoop’s lubed-up purr to Khalifa’s blunt bark, Snoop’s laid-back demeanor to Khalifa’s limber-limbed energy.

But it was all a tease for the main event. Midway through, Snoop and Khalifa joined forces on stage and mostly stayed that way for the rest of the night, stripping off their shirts and feeding off each other’s energy. How about this epic run from the middle of the set: A kinetic cover of House of Pain’s Jump Around into Snoop’s Drop It Like It’s Hot, then Khalifa’s Black and Yellow into Snoop’s Who Am I (What’s My Name)?, then Khalifa’s On My Level into Desiigner’s Panda.

And then there were their many collaborative tracks. They ventured up to a B stage for Cush Ups, but also did That Good, This Weed Iz Mine, French Inhale, No Social Media, You and Your Friends and closer Young, Wild & Free. How is it these guys have never released a joint mixtape? Seems they wouldn’t have much trouble coming up with a theme.

The only thing missing from Snoop and Khalifa’s set were cameos by their strong slate of openers.

For all Wiz and Snoop’s combined star power, it was Kevin Gates who brought the night’s most of-the-moment hit, the spring and summer smash 2 Phones. The controversial Baton Rouge, La. rapper moaned and croaked through trap anthems like Arm & Hammer and John Gotti, though his low-key delivery lent a simmering intimacy to rumbling relationship confessionals Strokin’, Thugged Out, Satellites and Posed to Be In Love.

Slinky singer Jhene Aiko warbled sensuously through a rippling half-hour of new-school bedroom groves, singing and rapping through the entrancing Stay Ready (What a Life) and Higher. It was a hypnotic soundtrack, as she got real on the silky yet vengeful B’s + H’s, raised the energy on Omarion’s Post to Be, rapped dreamily on Bed Peace and The Worst, and even spliced in a couple of tracks from her downbeat Big Sean collaboration twenty88. It was a measured, textured set that felt almost too high-class for this party-hearty package tour.

Onetime Odd Future henchman Casey Veggies had the misfortune of performing first, as the sum was still dropping and fans were still arriving. Coming in tight and hot on the mic, he delivered a yeoman’s effort before a crowd that was only halfway into it, particularly on the bright, inviting Tied Up and honey-drenched psych-rap haze of Wonderful.

Wiz and Snoop could’ve been kind hosts and invited those three cats up for an inclusive, we’re-in-this-together jam like Khalifa’s record-setting hit See You Again, though the audience might’ve drowned them out anyway. As lighters and phones lit up the crowd, the song offered one of the night’s few emotional moments, as both Snoop and Khalifa professed the love for their “family” in the crowd.

“Gay or straight,” Khalifa said, “we got love for you all.”

Maybe it was the blunt talking, but he really seemed to mean it.

-- Jay Cridlin

[Last modified: Friday, July 22, 2016 8:22am]

    

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