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Friday, February 17, 2012

DJ Scream took the Museum Bar stage for a crowd content to text and grind at the same damn time

DJ Scream rubbed his eyes. Two rows of people stood in front of him on stage, nearly still. Some wore caps, one was still wearing his earbuds. They blocked his view of two girls wearing phoenix masks, gold sequined bras, and tight black shorts, who circled a pole installed on a square platform, showcasing the few dollar bills tucked inside their cups and waistbands.

Inside Museum Bar's basement, on this particular Thursday night, they were the only sight worth beholding.

DJ Scream signed to Maybach Music last August. HOT 107.9 added his Sirius XM Hip-Hop Nation show, Hoodrich Radio, to its Sunday lineup two weeks ago. He's won over Rick Ross, and he's worked on mixtapes for Young Jeezy (1000 Grams), Travis Porter (Music, Money, Magnums), and CyHi da Prynce (Jack of All Trades, also hosted by DJ Spinz) among a dozen others. The New York Times didn't mention his involvement in Rich Forever, but the venerable publication still loved how the mixtape turned out.

But this particular crowd of close to 150 people at Museum Bar's Mardi Gras event "Masquerade" didn't need him to dictate their tastes — especially the handful with white earbuds on. They didn't mind hearing Future's "Same Damn Time" twice, the second time when HOT 107.9's DJ A-Plus took the stage after Scream. For every one female there were five males just standing there, spectating, maybe holding a Corona Light, and occasionally leaning back. Hardly anyone drank; then again, hardly anyone looked old enough to do so. If a girl walked up to a guy, turned her back toward him and thrust her vibrating ass into his hands, he stood and held on tight. Still, even though colorful lights rapidly circled and scanned the floor, Museum Bar's most noticeable glow came from iPhones. Whether standing on or seated off of the dance floor, bodies slumped into cushions as if they'd been watching TV for hours. The crowd texted, tweeted, Instagramed. More than an hour into DJ Scream's set, one of Museum Bar's hired dancers even started to check her phone; her right thumb texting as her left hand held onto the pole.

DJ Scream cast out songs like "Spend It" by recent Def Jam signee 2 Chainz and the aforementioned "Same Damn Time" by Future — mind-numbing chorus after mind-numbing chorus full of boasts about wearing Gucci, wearing Bali, riding around, getting money. This was all the Museum Bar's Mardi Gras crowd wanted — to hear these ambitions, over and over, to the same damn beat. That, and to watch the other hired dancer climb up the stripper pole like a gymnasium rope, then slide down quickly into a sideways split on the platform. Again, and again, and again. But even when they got both — yes, at the same damn time — Scream could barely see, much less tell, why he couldn't inspire a Thursday night party from what felt more like a high school dance, with girls literally handing their asses over to otherwise clueless guys.

Members of DJ Scream's crew, including HOT 107.9's DJ Spinz, cast out questions into their mics that started to feel like a necessary interrogation as the night wore on: "Make some noise if you graduated high school!" Later, "Raise your hand if you were born in the '80s!" A few people yelled back while texting. However, after they asked for security to come to the stage — once, then twice, then three times — Scream's crew looked directly to their side, at the two rows of people standing on stage with them, staring past the platform and toward the back walls at the bars. "We need this stage to clear out," they said. But no one moved.

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