Not long after Lil Wayne's first-ever Manhattan concert Sunday night (July 22), he and fellow performer Ja Rule were arrested in separate incidents, both for allegedly carrying illegal .40 caliber handguns.
Even before the show began, NYPD presence was heavy outside the Beacon Theater, the venue on New York's Upper West Side. At around 8 pm, the police had road-blocked an area of 75th between Amsterdam and Broadway, just outside the stage door. At least two horse-mounted police were present, along with a police truck, several patrol vehicles and numerous officers on foot. Rappers Jim Jones and Juelz Santana - the latter scheduled to perform - were seen talking with the officers. At first, they were allegedly denied credentials and wristbands to enter the venue. "The city got a thing against me," a visibly upset Jones told VIBE.
A bag search, frisk and walk through a metal detector were required to enter the stage door, through which all performers, press and photographers had to pass to enter the theatre. When Lil Wayne took to the stage not long after 9:30, he told the sold-out crowd, "The way they treated me, this may be the only time you see me on a New York stage."
Ja Rule (real name: Jeffrey Atkins) was one of a handful of featured guests at the concert; they performed their duet, "Uh Oh," and "New York, New York."
According to the NYPD, Wayne (real name: Dwayne Carter) and another man identified as Derek Lawrence were allegedly smoking marijuana near a tour bus on 61st and Columbus, at around 11:30 pm, not long after the concert. After taking them into custody, cops allegedly discovered a pistol on Wayne, and charged both with criminal possession of a weapon and marijuana.
About an hour earlier, the car Ja Rule was riding in was pulled over on West End Ave for allegedly driving too fast. Officers arrested the car's occupents - Rule, Mohammed Gamel, and Dennis Cherry - after discovering the weapon inside the vehicle. All three were charged with possession.
Both Wayne and Ja Rule are in police custody. At press time, the Manhattan DA was preparing to interview the arresting officers, who have not yet been identified. An arraignment is expected sometime tonight, according to the DA's office.
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to read VIBE Associate Music Editor Sean Fennessey's review of the show.