“We on five,” Jay-Z tantalized the crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit over the weekend. “Y’all wanna go for six?” Six, nothing—six was so Boston—Jay and ‘Yeezy were going for the all-time record. So even after the crowd screamed sufficiently for the half-dozenth rendition of hit “Niggas in Paris” during duo’s Motown stop on their Watch the Throne tour, Jay screamed “AGAIN!”—and lo and behold, a seventh time, a new tour benchmark. (We’ll say this—by the time of “Niggas” #7, the Auburn Hills crowd certainly had their parts of the call-and-response hooks down pat. They’ll never be able to hear the song on the radio again without yelling out “GAME SIX!” and “BATHROOM STAAA-AALLLL!!!”)
Of course, this all begs the question—what now? There’s still about two weeks of tour dates remaining in the Watch the Throne tour, can they just keep adding and adding to the NIP tally until there’s only room for one or two solo hits each for the rest of the show? Well, of course they can—they’re Kanye West and Jay-Z, coolness and logic comes to them, not vice versa. But it doesn’t seem terribly practical. We figure that if they’re going to stay on this path, eventually, they’ll have to mix things up a little. Some ideas:
- The Similarly-Titled Interpolation. How cray (only once this article, we promise) would it be if around the third or fourth time through NIP, when Jay or ‘Yeezy called for The Beat once more, the DJ instead dropped a cut that sampled (or at least heavily interpolated) the old jazz standard “April in Paris“? They can even change a couple lyrics around to slyly reference the new beat. (“Count Basie ain’t do it right if you aaaaask me.”)
- The Home-City-Specific Version. Kanye and Jay-Z do realize that there’s a city in the title of this song, right? Typical concert logic would dictate that they should then adjust the song’s content to be about whatever city they’re playing. “Niggas in Chi-Town,” “Niggas in Nawlins,” etc. Meanwhile, Jay can call adjust the “Chi-Town’s D. Rose” line about ‘Ye to be “L.A.’s Kobe,” “Dallas’ J. Kidd,” “Houston’s K. Mart,” and so on.
- The Fake-Out. Maybe after version #5, the duo do another WTT standard, making fans think the streak is finally over, only to return to NIP upon its completion. Better yet, the beat drops to “Gotta Have It” or “Who Gon Stop Me” for about half a verse, until it gets randomly interrupted by the screwed-down “Baaaalll soooo haaaaard muuuufuuuuckaaas waannaaa fiiiine meeee…” intro, and all of a sudden, NIP once more.
- The Fan Verse. Take a page out of the punk-rock playbook. After five or six times through this thing, everyone in the crowd knows all the words—if they didn’t already, which they probably did—so why not invite one or two of them up to perform the song’s first and/or second verse? How geeked would they (and by extension, the rest of the crowd) be about that? And after all, we’ve seen nary a lapdance at any one of these WTT shows—you gotta get the crowd involved at these gigs somehow, don’t you?
We greatly look forward to seeing where the duo take their tour’s signature song from here.