''Thug life, this is thug-o-nomics!" thundered
Cena, with his collaborator Tha Trademarc, sucked every ounce of love out of his sports-jersey-clad, tattooed fans, who periodically erupted in anti-Yankees cheers. The show was more like wrestling theater than hip-hop, with Cena taking the stage amid a crescendo of sound effects and flashing lights, and WWE cameramen swirling around him as he performed. Even if Cena executed his rhymes with more shouting than finesse, his performance was enthralling live entertainment.
Between almost every song, Cena urged fans to cheer louder, saying things like, ''This may as well be an average crowd -- I thought I was in my hometown!" Then he'd shove the microphone out into the audience. By the end of the set the screams had reached ear-splitting levels. Cena's goading, combined with theatrics such as removing his shirt to reveal his iron-pumped abdomen, successfully diverted attention from insubstantial lines such as ''We keep it underground like the basement door" and ''I'm a bad man, I'm a bad man."
If not particularly clever, Cena's lyrics had serious local charm. For his encore, he performed his next single, entitled ''Right Now," a low-key, summery jam with references to the Green Line and Cena's family members. The audience went wild.
Raydar Ellis, followed by 7L & Esoteric, opened for Cena. 7L & Esoteric, with MC Beyonder assisting, were a smooth and witty treat, feeding off each other with improvised free associations.