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Ludacris and Nelly Bring a Throwback Rap Stew to the Mission Ballroom

Ludacris and Nelly Bring a Throwback Rap Stew to the Mission Ballroom


November 10th, 2019

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On Thursday, November 7, the Mission Ballroom in Denver was teleported back to the early 2000s via the nostalgic beats and rhymes of two of the most iconic rappers of all time, Ludacris and Nelly. The completely sold-out and filled-to-the-brim event was buzzing the moment you walked in. Bar lines were overflowing with the street-style savvy crowd decorated with sizable anticipation for the Hip-Hop legends to take stage. 

Denver’s OG Hip-Hop

The party started with DJ Squizzy Taylor, local DJ of Denver’s OG Hip-Hop radio station KS 107.5. DJ Squizzy Taylor showed his skills keeping the dancefloor moving and highly entertained with an epic blast from the past. He played top Hip-Hop hits spanning the same decade as Ludacris‘ and Nelly’s professional peaks. Keeping the crowd adequately stimulated, he warmed up the vast and packed Mission Ballroom for the dual headliners’ arrivals. One of the best things about this venue is that you can be at a sold-out show without feeling claustrophobic. Plus, you don’t have to wait too long in any lines, anywhere.

Midwest Legend

Signed to Universal Music Group in 1999, Nelly faced not only the challenge of winning over the label, but also as an emerging rapper trying to make a name representing the brewing Midwest. At the time, the West Coast, East Coast and the South dominated the Rap game. His undeniable talent was proven with his debut album release of Country Grammar in 2000, peaking at a #1 spot on the Billboard 200 and eventually hitting 9x Platinum by 2004. Nelly continues to be a name in Hip-Hop, frequently releasing new albums, and currently signed to Columbia Records. There is no confirmation either way of a release of another album since the release of M.O. in 2013. But there’s one thing for certain, his current tour will keep his fans swooning. 

Nelly Throwback

Once DJ Squizzy Taylor announced his outro and hyped the crowd up for Nelly’s approaching appearance, excitement grew exponentially. Soon Nelly took the stage with high spirits, joined by his brother, Lavell Webb, AKA City Spud, of St. Lunatics. The strikingly identical-looking half-brother duo rapped back and forth. They kept the pace flowing as they dropped banger after banger, starting with one of his first Billboard 100 hits “E.I.”

Also included in the set were top hits “Where the Party At?”, “Air Force Ones”, “Grillz” and “Hot in Here,” which had the Mission Ballroom LIT. And as to be expected for throwback shows, the fans chanted every word, to every single song. Nelly’s long time DJ, DJ Trife, ended the set with some heavy-hitting Rap classics. Then Nelly took back the mic to share his deep respect for the overwhelming support from his Denver fans before exiting the stage. It was more than just a dream.

Timeless Ludacris Classics

Contrary to the majority of Hip-Hop events, this one was surprisingly timely. After a little less than 30 minutes, Ludacris bounced onto the stage with his unfailing and heightened stage presence. Bringing that true Southern Hospitality, he jumped right in with “Welcome to Atlanta,” a nod to his home town. Followed up by “Number One Spot,” “Act a Fool” and then a shout-out to Denver for our city’s feature Grammy Award-winning song “Area Codes”; he had the crowd engaged appropriately. Luda took a pause between tracks to challenge the crowd to find out who had been with him from the start. Finally he dropped “Southern Hospitality” produced by The Neptunes, circa year 2000. 

It was undeniable, Ludacris had made a massive impression on the crowd over the past two decades as fans confidently chanted every lyric through the next nine solid bangers. The massive LED screen displayed voluptuous booties, instigating booty drops through a set by DJ Infamous. He played hits by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and surprisingly enough, “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. Although the iconic disco ball of the Mission Ballroom was dormant for the majority of the night, it finally made a special appearance for one of his final songs, “All I do is Win” by DJ Khaled. Ludacris doesn’t disappoint, dropping new music every single year since he started his career. His performance was nothing short of epic, powerfully slapping tracks from everyone’s “need to hear it” list.

One Night Only

Ironically, or maybe because the tale is true… Denver’s music scene leads that of many major cities in the country. But the fact is, Nelly and Ludacris are not on tour together. The magical reunion that we were blessed to experience is something each of their tours will rival, as the Mission Ballroom in Denver was their only overlap. Nelly will continue his solo tour to SoCal, Illinois, Texas, Utah and NorCal,  then will head off to Ireland, finally finishing off after nine more events in the U.K.. Ludacris, on the other hand, is at the tail end of his tour with only one remaining date scheduled for December 7th in Sacramento, CA. If you ever get the chance to see these legends of Rap again, you better squad up and ROLL OUT!

Photos by Roberto Loya

FIND NELLY ON: + YouTube + Spotify + Apple Music + IG + Facebook + Twitter

FIND LUDACRIS ON: + YouTube + Spotify + Apple Music + IG + FB + Twitter

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