Review of Boston’s 2011 Hip-Hop Unity Fest

[Originally published in the Boston Herald. All kinds of people caught feelings about this one. Oh well.]

The world didn’t end on Saturday, but a rapture of a different kind swept over hip-hop heads at the Paradise that night.

The fifth annual Boston Hip-Hop Unity Fest had emcees from multiple styles and stages of notoriety rocking the same stage, with famed producer DJ Premier closing out the night in tribute to Gang Starr comrade and Roxbury-born wordsmith Guru.

The rap marathon’s massive lineup almost proved too stacked, as the lengthy roster ran long and Premier was forced to shorten his 90-minute set to just half an hour.

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Concert Review: Bell Biv Devoe at Showcase Live

If time warps exist, that would explain the events at a sold-out Showcase Live last night.

JAM’N 94.5 DJ Hustle Simmons spun a series of classic disco, funk, r & b and hip-hop tracks to open the show.

Boston rap legend Edo G popped onstage for a live rendition of his old school hit “I Got To Have It.”

And Boston’s own Bell Biv DeVoe delivered a 70-minute set that transplanted the early ’90s into 2010.

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Mobb Deep’s artistry missing

[Originally published in the Sun Chronicle on May 11, 2006]

Fans who came to Lupo’s Tuesday night looking for the Mobb Deep they know are probably still on the hunt.

In their guise as new members of the ever-expanding G-Unit posse, the Mobb — composed of rapper Prodigy and rapper/producer Havoc of Queens Bridge, N.Y. — delivered not so much a performance, but a cross between a marketing plan and a late-night party.

Goal No. 1 of the plan: Promote their new album “Blood Money,” which was released on May 2.
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Concert review: Maxwell good to last drop of sweat

[Originally published in the Boston Herald on September 3, 2009]

A lot of Maxwell fans went home disappointed on Wednesday night. Not because of anything the sexy r & b dynamo did.

A free Maxwell show at the House of Blues billed as part of the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush concert series resulted in a line stretching the length of Lansdowne Street by the afternoon. Eager fans – desperate may be closer to the truth – stood waiting in hope of gaining entrance.

Unfortunately, the entire mob couldn’t squeeze into the 2,425-capacity venue – and having a ticket didn’t guarantee access.

Those who did get inside found the three-level venue stuffed with women waiting for their personal serenade, watchful male chaperones, and other men who came on their own, possibly looking to glean some tips on how sexy is done with style.

Maxwell likely satisfied all of them.

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Concert review: Ke$ha fans get sleazy, and then some

[Originally published in the Boston Herald, April 14, 2011]

Barring a drastic makeover, newly minted pop star Ke$ha will never be accused of displaying class. Her worshippers wouldn’t have it any other way.

The 24-year-old’s Get $leazy Tour stopped at a sold-out House of Blues on Tuesday. There wasn’t much to figure out beneath the blue lipstick, American flag tunics and glittery leotards. If it’s lewd, crude and nonsensical, Ke$ha’s most likely made it a part of her repertoire.

The 85-minute show opened to the sounds of “Sleazy,” with Ke$ha perched inside a diamond-shaped light frame on the second tier of the stage wearing glow-in-the-dark goggles. She remained trapped in her music substation for the first four songs, pressing buttons that set synth riffs in motion and tapping on percussion boards with glow-in-the-dark drumsticks. She finally skulked front and center stage for “Blow” and brought the confetti guns with her.

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