Best of the Best 2012: Fabolous, Meek Mill, Ace Hood Make Some Noise on Memorial Day

Photo by Alex Markow
Meek Mill salutes the crowd. Two times.
See the full 51-photo slideshow from Best of the Best 2012.

Best of the Best 2012
With Fabolous, Meek Mill, French Montana, Fat Joe, 2 Chainz, Ace Hood, and others
Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park, Miami
Sunday, May 28, 2012

Better Than: If you know what this was better than, "MAKE SOME NOIIIIIISE!"

The occasional drizzle extinguished neither piff, nor spirit. These were no ordinary concertgoers. These were the Best of the Best.

On Sunday at Bayfront Park, a near-capacity crowd got ten hours of music. There was everything from dancehall to reggae and hip-hop.

However, it was a flawed affair that was forced to drop at least two artists due to time constraints, even as DJs babbled on about themselves and their friendships with the artists.

Photo by Alex Markow
YMCMB and We the Best spitter Ace Hood.

Yet with sizzling pots of meats on offer and tiny shorts made from the flags of various island nations, Best of the Best 2012 was as much a cultural festival as a music festival. And in that regard, it was a success. Much of the music was excellent too. Although, some was hardly the best of anything.

The biggest names were part of a non-stop hip-hop superset that began with Ace Hood and 2 Chainz proving why they're on the cusp of true stardom.
For his part, Hood hustled through his songs with the sharp intensity of a local hero in a freestyle battle. Meanwhile, 2 Chainz (wearing way more than two chains, BTW) seemed like a star mostly because he appears comfortable letting the audience do the work during shows.

Photo by Alex Markow
2 Chainz chillin' while his hype man and the crowd do work.

Recently, Kanye West claimed that since signing with his G.O.O.D. label, 2 Chainz commands $100,000 per verse. Perhaps if Best of the Best tickets had been $100,000 instead of $55, he would have actually rapped instead of letting the crowd handle his verses. Instead, for their money, the audience got to hear themselves, a hype man, and the DJ track.

A short time later, 2 Chainz ceded the stage to Fat Joe, who seemed like something of an anachronism. His most enduring songs are built around hooks sung years ago by now-absent women. He has never had a nimble flow or particularly witty or insightful lyrics. But he always had a menacing bluster that could push his songs through to a point where they were worth listening to.

He's lost considerable weight since his peak. And maybe, while sweating to the oldies, he also lost whatever it was that made him a compelling performer.

Photo by Alex Markow
Fat Joe, minus 100 pounds and some charisma.

In between songs, Joe recited a conversation he claimed to have had, leading him to be in Miami for Best of the Best. It included this exchange:

"Joe, we need you in Miami but you might not want to go."


"Because the weather's real nice."

Either Fat Joe's bellow doesn't lend itself well to sarcasm or he is incredibly susceptible to reverse psychology. If that's the case, then we say, "Hey, Fat Joe, whatever you do, don't release any relevant music after 2006, okay?"

Photo by Alex Markow
Fillin' the stage with French Montana.

Next, French Montana took over the Best of the Best show, with Fat Joe describing him as his "little brother" and saying, "He look like Illuminati, got pyramids and shit all over his chain."

Ever since Kendrick Lamar rapped, "Who said a black man in the Illuminati/Last time I check, that was the biggest racist party," and Rick Ross figured out that "Illuminati" rhymes with "Bugatti," there's not much left for rappers to say about that particular secret society without sounding like the equivalent of a suburban housewife going on about her "bling bling."

But let's not punish Frenchie for the sins of his ersatz older brother. Given the humidity, he opted for a towel over his head rather than his usual array of scarves. He similarly tailored his show to the hits, launching straight into "Shot Caller," which has the dubious distinction of a Lil Troy-derivative chorus and some of Frenchie's least focused verses. His two-song mini set concluded with, of course, the monster that is "Stay Schemin'."

Photo by Alex Markow

It was an obvious and correct inclusion. But it's good to remember that it's Rick Ross, Drake and The Beat Bully who are what is truly good about "Stay Schemin'." Hearing the French Montana version live is like going to a Max Weinberg concert and getting ten minutes of the drums from "Born to Run."

Frenchie is an unusually voiced and charismatic star who didn't really show off why he's achieved so much success. But perhaps that wasn't his concern. He's still really fun. And in contrast to the rest of the day's generally weak crowd interaction, Montana got a pretty great response from his pretty great line, "All the bad bitches say 'Owwwww!'"

Location Info


Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Music

Bayfront Park

301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: General

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I laughed my butt off at your review! Great job B. Caplan! "Is New York in the house?"

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