The further removed a performer is from their scheduled show time, the better they must perform. Luckily, Terius “The-Dream” Nash was as good as he was late last night at SOB’s in downtown Manhattan. Arriving nearly two hours after the promised 8 o’clock start time, The-Dream took the stage in an Oakland Raiders snapback cap, black shades, a black varsity jacket, Jesus piece and Roc-a-Fella Records necklaces dangling from his neck. The first thing he did was thank the man who let him borrow that last piece of jewelry: Jay-Z. Hov and his wife Beyoncé quietly slid into the venue just before Dream took the stage for the opening night of his Kill the Lights tour.
Dream recalled the moment he got the phone call from a friend years ago saying that Jay was playing his first single, "Shawty is Da Shit” at the rapper’s downtown lounge The 40/40 Club. Then he launched into his breakout 2007 hit with his backing band. He’s grown plenty musically as an artist, adding syths to his bouncing piano-based production. Literally though, Dream’s a smaller man. The chub that surrounded his frame when the songwriter became a solo artist has mostly melted away thanks to a healthier lifestyle. And women in the audience took notice—one screaming that he looked hot after he rapped up his spiteful Love Hate record “Nikki.”
"You look good, too,” he answered. “You better stop fucking with me before I get off this stage. You ain't heard about me?" That’s The-Dream in a nutshell. He may not have the looks of R&B heart throbs like Trey Songz or Usher, but his sexual energy beams with the best of them.
“I may not be the best,” he’d say later. “ But I'm definitely the realest nigga in this shit." It’s a sentiment that didn’t take him long to prove, really. He brought a stunning woman up to the stage for the evening’s classic, if not cliché, sing to a cute girl moment. He began singing “Purple Kisses,” cooing into her ear. Touching her knees, running his hand up her thigh until she impeded its trip to the danger zone. She didn’t sign up for all that nasty.
Most singers would have coolly moved on and finished the song. Not Nash, who shooed her off the stage and replaced her with a more eager red-dressed substitute that was down for all the boob caressing and neck-licking he could bless her with.
“Don't be coming up on my motherfucking stage like you're too good,” he yelled at the first girl who denied his candid PDA. “I'm too rich to be fucking with half-assed bitches." It reads aggressive, but when it’s delivered with the kind of grin he wore while saying it, a bit of the blow is softened. And honestly, what did she expect?
Cuts like Hate’s "Falsetto" and "Kill the Lights," from his forthcoming Love IV MMXII album followed. As did a brief cover of a song he assisted on as a writer. “We just won a Grammy off of this shit,” Dream said as Kanye West’s "All of the Lights" rang out.
Then he ran through his version of Love Rance’s West Coast banger “Beat the Pussy Up.” As if someone asked for recommendations, he rapped, “And you can ask my ex. I beat the pussy up, up, up…”
“I never performed this record but NY loves me,” Dream said before his first live showing of fan-favorite “Fancy.”
Vocally, his is a voice that leaves much to be desired. As he said, Nash isn’t the best. His gentile falsetto is merely serviceable and best used for feel rather than showcasing skill. Nobody’s trying to sing like him. However, his lyrics and the way he delivers them—assertive like a man, but sprayed down with “Oh, no you didn’t, bitch” femininity—is a style that’s been picked up by more than a few newbies.
"I haven't done a show in two years,” he said during a pause in the action. “And since then there's like four niggas that sound like me. I’m just being honest." We’ve already established that Dream’s a fan of Canadian emo troupe The Weeknd and Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean. So who he’s talking about is up for debate.
What’s not, though, is how good Sunday’s show was. It, the first of his two sold out nights at SOB’s, was one not to be missed. Fittingly, he closed with “Rockin’ That Shit” as streams of green, purple and blue lights shot around him. Dream concerts are, oddly enough, better than some artists with better voices. You just can’t teach personality.
Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)