Stereogum Does CMJ: Kevin Federline @ Webster Hall

Oh, come on. Like we weren’t gonna go to this! We’d ask you guys what you thought of the show if you were there, but we already know you didn’t go. How have we deduced this, you ask? Well, for starters, there were around 100 people on the floor — we shit you not. Webster Hall packs in around 1,600 on its floor and balcony. There were around four rows of people pressed against the stage … and that. Is. It. The upstairs balcony had a good forty or so, too — but those people were label heads and the like, so they sure as shit don’t count. So, the law of probability says you weren’t there. And then, there’s your impeccable taste; you wouldn’t be caught dead at a K-Fed show, now would you?

But after a week of the greatest in obscure indie rock, we had to end it with a dose of a pop icon. Balance it out. Keep it real. We saw The Knife’s first States side show in the same Hall a few days earlier, so it was high time to check in with the Yang to their Swedish Yin. And just how dinky is K-Fed’s Yang? Let’s just say we weren’t in the house much after these pics were snapped.

K-Fed was joined by a hype man in a pancho and shades and at times had a couple of girls dancing behind him. He joined on occasion, but that shit was sad. Seriously — what the fuck happened to him being a background dancer? Wasn’t that supposed to be the one thing at which he was actually good?

To the music, then. We didn’t listen to the record before going to the show because, um, we wanted to have a fresh set of ears (yeah, that’s it). So what did we absorb from our first exposure to Federline-as-artist? Well, his beats are fine; nothing you’d seek out or remember, nothing that makes you want to gouge at your eardrums. But we learned a couple of things about our man. For one, he’s the “pimp of all pimps,” and enjoys asking young teenage girls to dance with him onstage. And that’d be a cool character to play, married or not, if he wasn’t famous for being a husband.

But whatever. He’s America’s Most Hated, and he’s milking it. Like any good self-marketing hip hop artist, he’s identified the recipe: Create a nemesis and rail away! Dre had Eazy-E (post-NWA), Tupac had Biggie, Nas had Jay-Z, LL-Cool J’s mama told him to knock Kool Moe Dee out, and most significantly, here, Eminem had the media’s hatred.

So okay, Federline is gonna appropriate Em’s cross to bear. But when he asked the hundred of us at Webster “why the media gotta be hatin’ on me?,” it wasn’t a rallying cry; it felt sorta like he was actually asking, a little shocked, and a little confused.
But see, K — if we may call you that — the media isn’t hating on you for having written inflammatory, border-line brilliant, seditious social commentary guised as rap. The media is hating on you ’cause you suck. Do you see the difference?

But hey, at least we cringed less at that query than when he asked the four rows of people on the floor “How many of y’all have my album?” He received about four rows worth of screams. “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

Nah, see, that’s what we’re talking about.

See? Now you’re bummed you missed it.