Young Jeezy at Celebrity Theatre, 8-26-11 + Video of Katt Williams Fight

BY DANIEL RAVEN Young Jeezy Celebrity Theatre Thursday, August 25, 2011

Young Jeezy may not know how to ride a beat or rap for more than ten seconds without losing his breath, but he was certainly able to keep it gangsta last night at Celebrity Theatre.

Rapping to a half-empty venue in support of his upcoming album, Thug Motivation 103, Jeezy delivered a set list packed full of gritty street anthems like "Trap Or Die", "Soul Survivor" and "Put On".

Although he couldn't replicate his studio delivery on stage and sounded more like an asthmatic amateur than a platinum-selling star, he still managed to exude enough confidence and energy to sell the audience on the authenticity of his lyrics.

Oh, and there was that unexpected Katt Williams brawl.

Because he built his career around his well-deserved reputation as a cocaine slinging, gang-affiliated bad ass and not around his skills as an M.C., the rapper's shortcomings as a performer did little to detract from fans' enjoyment.

Jeezy has been promoting the release of the same perpetually pushed back album since he came to town more than two years ago with Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy.

Since he hasn't put out a successful mainstream single in ages, the crowd was largely devoid of the well-mannered, suburban youth demographic that one would typically find at a big name rap show and the audience seemed a lot rougher and tougher as a result.

All that gangsta posturing on stage and around the venue reached critical mass about halfway through the show when an epic fight erupted in the V.I.P. Area as "I Luv It" began.

Comedian Katt Williams, a throng of his groupies and a pack of hulking bouncer types converged in a prolonged orgy of violence that lasted almost as long as the song did -- it's hard to say what exactly caused the throw-down, but these videos confirm the action:

After ejecting an angry, shirtless Williams from the show (who departed once his female companions finished recovering their wigs), a visibly irritated Jeezy ordered the stage lights off and outdid the spectacle of the fight by performing "Soul Survivor" almost exclusively by the light of the audience's cell phones.

This was probably the highlight of the show, although the rapper's monologues between songs about overcoming adversity by stunting on your haters were a close second.

All things considered, the show was a success, and Celebrity Theater is the perfect place for a show like this.

The layout is terrific, and while the stage unfortunately wasn't rotating for this concert, there aren't a lot of venues that allow a big audience the opportunity to get so up close and personal with a performer.

Jeezy may have sounded a little clumsy and uncoordinated, but he performed until sweat poured off of him and ultimately delivered the unique brand of realness that his fans appreciate him for, even going so far as to remove his diamond chains and wade into the crowd.

Critic's Notebook

Last Night: Young Jeezy at Celebrity Theatre

The Crowd: Flabby thugs with bloodshot eyes and women who look like they haven't seen a bar of soap in at least a couple weeks.

Overheard In The Crowd: "Is that Katt Williams or a backup dancer?"

Personal Bias: I'm pretty sure Trap Or Die is the best mixtape I've ever heard. If you download it and listen to "Pussy Ass Niggas" every day on the way to work your life will only get more awesome.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.