8ball and MJG (but pictured MJG and 8ball)
8:30 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $15 adv.
For the first time in years, Juneteenth came and went in Little Rock without a concert showcase of national rap and R&B acts. Though the names might not be quite as big they were in years past (or on the bill slated for Alltel in June that got done in by the economy), Summer Explosion looks to fill the void. Mostly upstarts fill the line-up. South Florida MC Ace Hood was the first to sign to DJ Khaled’s We the Best Music. The names of his two albums, “Gutta” and “Ruthless,” serve as good descriptions of the tone of his songs. Detroit’s Teairra Marie started out, several years back, with Roc-a-Fella as the “Princess of the Roc.” It didn’t take. Now she’s with Warner Bros., which is slated to release her new album, featuring the Kanye West-assisted “Diamonds,” later this summer. Dallas’s B-Hamp is the man behind the massive dance hit, “Do the Ricky Bobby.” St. Louis native King James II recently graduated cum laude from Jackson State. Now he’s riding “The Train,” a dance track that appeals mostly by mimicking a whistle pull. K. Michelle is yet another voluptuous R&B singer who sings about empowerment and heartbreak. Dallas MC Dorrough has made some noise with the singles “Walk that Walk” and “Ice Cream Paint Job.” In sharp contrast to the rest of the line-up, Memphis’ 8ball and MJG have been one of the South’s most respected acts for the last 15 years. A host of local acts open the show, too.