In nightlife, as in any industry, success often comes down to hiring the right person for the job.
Pure Management Group's programming department should get a pat on the back (or an extra night off) for its hiring choice this New Year's Eve — ghetto-gone-platinum rapper 50 Cent.
The New York-born rapper who broke onto the scene with hit-heavy album Get Rich or Die Tryin' got 2010 off to a thrilling start at the Caesars Palace nightclub with a pair of post-countdown sets that reminded clubgoers just how many chart-toppers the 32-year-old rapper has produced in his seven years in the music industry.
Lots. Enough for a greatest hits album coming in 2010, in fact.
Well before 9 p.m., a crowd of clubbers in sequins and blazers formed a line the snaked from Pure's front door along its outside wall and past the nearest street exit to peter out amid the slots. Having paid $250 per ticket to spend the last minutes of the '00s sipping cocktails inside the club and the first minutes of the '10s dancing to 50 Cent, some guests looked genuinely shocked to be standing sober under the casino's bright lights.
Tia Reason of New York, N.Y. said that she was very surprised at the line that placed her out of even viewing distance of Pure's front door. But she and four girlfriends weren't about to turn on their heels and give up on their New Year's Plans and pre-paid tickets.
"We're here because it's 2010, and what better place to ring it in together?" Reason said, smiling. "We heard Pure is the hot spot." The headliner didn't hurt either. Reason and her friends agreed that 50 Cent's name on the bill had helped make up their minds. "We should be able to vibe with this crowd," she added.
As the last hour of 2009 ticked by on screens around the five-year-old club, a steady stream of guests and VIPs poured into the venue. Dressed in a sleek black ensemble of shine and lace topped with a structured blazer and shoulder pads, 24-year-old songstress Ciara stalked the red carpet outside Pure with a crew of female friends waiting to accompany her inside.
"I never really go out that often," said the singer who is reportedly dating 50 Cent, "so I'm just excited to go out and have a good time and enjoy myself."
If she hasn't been devoting much time to partying, maybe it's because Ciara simply hasn't had the time. In 2009, the multi-platinum selling artist behind tracks "Like a Boy" and "1,2 Step" released her third album, Fantasy Ride, toured with Jay-Z and made commercial appearances. Ciara seems to have had a better 2009 than most. She summed up her year as "pretty eventful, pretty fun, pretty prosperous, pretty great." Sounds pretty rare, too.
50 Cent also seemed to have missed out on some quality time in Las Vegas clubs. The rapper was last in town in April when he spent time in the Palms recording studio with Dr. Dre and Eminem for his Curtis album. "We got the chance to go to the movies a couple of times, but we didn't go out and party," 50 Cent explained.
Consider New Year's Eve making up for lost time, then.
50 started his performance on the Pure roof deck, welcoming 2010 with his suggestively titled song "Have a Baby By Me, Baby, Be a Millionaire." About half an hour past midnight, the concert continued in the club's main room.
"2010! We gonna ring it in right," the rapper called from the stage, now out of the black brocade jacket he sported for his walk down the red carpet and wearing a white jacket and his standard issue Yankees hat.
Standing next to boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr, who obligingly held up a stack of cash, 50 launched into the first song of his roughly 45-minute set, "I Got Money." The pair played off each other throughout 50's 13-song tour through his hits with so much chemistry, Mayweather might consider joining the music man on his next tour. When 50 called out "I get money!", Mayweather held up his own pile of bills, fanning them out for all to see. It was like a beautiful interpretive dance, with Benjamins.
"In Da Club," "Candy Shop," "Magic Stick," "Hate It Or Love It," "P-I-M-P" and "If I Can't" — the set list read like a track list for his greatest hits project. Surrounded by bodyguards — getting shot nine times would make anyone paranoid — 50 Cent plowed through his four-album catalog, and all the while a dapper Mayweather danced alongside, flipping off the crowd and even making it rain what looked like $100s for a moment above the packed club.
After performing for nearly an hour, 50 Cent closed out his set in an auditory hail of gunfire with the sound of shots echoing out of the speakers, as if to remind the crowd of the street legitimacy behind the now wealthy musician.
"Party time," 50 said before the spotlight suddenly cut out and he disappeared into the crowd encircled by burly men in black. Who doesn't love a dramatic exit?