Eminem, Cardi B tap on guest stars at Coachella

Eminem and Dr. Dre perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on April 15, 2018.
Eminem and Dr. Dre perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on April 15, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Eminem and Cardi B may be at different stages of their careers but the two rappers have one strategy in common - when playing Coachella, go big.

Both Eminem, who playfully acknowledged concerns about his continued relevance, and the pregnant Cardi B, whose first album just opened at number one on the US chart, kept a dizzying pace with a stream of surprise guests on the final day of the premier music festival.

Closing the three-day bash on Sunday before thousands of often scantily clad revellers in the California desert, Eminem offered a disconcerting trip to 8 Mile - a stage replica of his blighted hometown Detroit, cast in an even harsher light through special effects of rain and then arson.

Eminem brought out 50 Cent, joining in the New York rapper's birthday anthem In Da Club, before the crowd erupted on sight of the elusive Dr Dre, Eminem's mentor.

Dr Dre, the gangsta rapper turned Apple executive, united with Eminem for several classic tracks, including late legend Tupac Shakur's California Love.

Eminem, by far the most successful white rapper of all time, found a new political voice on last year's album Revival as he lashed President Donald Trump, although it mostly received poor reviews on its musical merits.

Eminem confronted the criticism as late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel came to Coachella by video for a special edition of his televised segment on celebrities reading "mean tweets".

Faced with a tweet that said "No one's (sic) has been paying attention to you since 2003", Eminem faulted the Twitter user's spelling but added: "I'm not mad at that. He's kind of got a point."

Cardi B was one of the most avidly awaited performers at Coachella, not only because she is rising quickly in hip-hop but because the 25-year-old - engaged to fellow rapper Offset of Migos - also recently revealed that she is pregnant.


Cardi B performing at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, US, on April 15, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite her visible baby bump, she briefly squatted to twerk to the beat, comfortably getting back up to finish her dance moves.

The Bronx native has quickly found stardom with unsentimental rhymes about her rough life, including her stint earning a living by stripping.

She saluted her former profession in her tight, half-hour set as dancers stretched acrobatically on strippers' poles. She also brought out her own celebrity guests including Chance the Rapper.

After the hard edges of her breakthrough song Bodak Yellow, Cardi B has shown greater musical versatility. Her debut album, Invasion Of Privacy, brought in energetic, street festival-style horns on the track I Like It, which she performed live at Coachella.

 

Cardi B has demonstrated striking candour about the finances of playing Coachella - arguably the most watched festival in the world, especially this year with Glastonbury in Britain on a scheduled break.

She told satellite radio SiriusXM that she spent US$300,000 (S$393,000) of her own money to develop a worthy set for Coachella, where she will earn only US$140,000.

That sum - presumably reached before Cardi B's recent meteoric ascent - also includes a performance this weekend, when Coachella reconvenes for a second edition with an identical line-up.