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5 Takeaways from the 50 Cent Concert at PNC Music Pavilion

PNC Music Pavilion; Aug. 16, 2023

50 Cent onstage in a black button down and black hat and plenty of jewelry
50 Cent performs onstage at PNC Music Pavilion on Aug. 16. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of his debut album, and what might just be his final run of shows, 50 Cent’s Final Lap Tour hit Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion on Wednesday. It was a steamy night full of surprises. Here are five quick takeaways from the show:

1. With a little help from friends
A show only featuring 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Jeremih would have been good on its own, but there were plenty of friends on stage to help make the show more of an event. Busta Rhymes brought his hype man Spliff Star out for the duration of his set. From pretending to turn down the volume on Busta’s microphone to generally hyping up the crowd to Busta’s abilities, he was a welcome addition. 50 Cent hit the stage with pals Tony Yayo and Uncle Murda, but it was the surprise appearance by DaBaby that drew a reaction from the crowd.

Busta Rhymes (right) and Spliff Starr perform at PNC. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

2. Charlotte steals the spotlight
It’s been two years since Charlotte rapper DaBaby made homophobic comments at the Rolling Loud Festival. While he’s laid relatively low since then – after being dropped from numerous events – he’s slowly starting to make waves again. So, it was a treat and a bit of a surprise when DaBaby “interrupted” 50 Cent’s show to perform four of his own songs – “Suge,” “Shake Sumn,” “Pop Smoke” and “Rockstar.” I’m guessing it won’t be much longer before DaBaby has his name up in the headliner spot again.

3. A tale of two dance groups
Jeremih was the opening act and hit the stage with a few female dancers — one of whom showed her talents for pole dancing. The three drew most of the attention from the crowd as Jeremih’s singing was minimal. Performing over backing tracks, he offered a few runs and choruses, but it was all a bit lackluster compared to what was next. 50 Cent brought a group of dancers onstage with him, as well, though they helped make his set more of an event than just another concert.

Jeremih (left) with one of his backup dancers. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

4. Still Bustin’ Rhymes
Now in his early 50s, Busta Rhymes hasn’t lost a step when it comes to rapping as fast as humanly possible. “We are the special effects,” Rhymes told the crowd before spitting his way through “Look at Me Now.” It’s been decades since the talented MC was in the Queen City and fans can only hope he’ll come back through again for a headlining set of his own.

5. Going through the motions?
50 Cent shared his million-dollar smile plenty, but I couldn’t help but wonder if he was simply going through the motions. While Busta Rhymes truly appeared to be having a blast on stage, 50 Cent’s performance as a whole was a bit sloppy. I get it’s hip-hop tradition to have your friends out on stage with you, but the trio of 50, Tony Yayo and Uncle Murda didn’t quite have the timing down to bring the power to songs when they needed it the most. I’m not saying it should sound like the album, but the vocal performance didn’t match the stage show (or maybe I too recently witnessed the polish of Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa on the same stage.).

50 Cent onstage in a black button down and black hat
50 Cent performs onstage at PNC Music Pavilion on Aug. 16. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Be sure to check out Queen City Nerve’s Soundwave, Charlotte’s most comprehensive live music listing, so you don’t miss out on any shows or concerts coming up. And hell, if you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out our events page as well, which runs the gamut of things to do in Charlotte. You don’t ever have to be bored again. You can check out more of Jeff’s pics and live reviews here.

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