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Church // Boston, MA // December 21
A full moon was hazily brightening up the sky, and what could be a better sign for the evening’s “Merry Lifmas,” a Mr. Lif signature holiday event packed with local hip-hop talent? By the time Pat G appeared as the opening act, a decent crowd was starting to build. After his relatively short set, the audience was getting into a good mood for the night.
Fill-in host announcer for the show (a still on-the-mend D-Tension had to bow out) was Nabo Rawk. The self-titled “sexiest man in Somerville” strode onstage wearing a white wrestler’s pullover hood complete with black facemask, his “championship” belt, and a season-appropriate Santa hat, stoking the crowd for the second act, Moe Pope. A veteran of the local hip-hop scene, Pope did not disappoint as he and guest Chris Sheehan rocked the enthusiastic crowd with material from his recent Rain-produced work, Life After God.
Next up, and also celebrating the release of his Skipp City CD that night, was Skipp Whitman. Another homegrown artist, he received an enthusiastic welcome from the by now boisterous throng in front of the stage. More call and response audience reaction ensued and later on in his set a bevy of beauteous young ladies joined him onstage, dancing free form to the music…some sight to behold.
But this night had been gearing up for the main event, Mr. Lif, who had just returned to Boston following some extensive touring. Against a video screen backdrop of the album-cover seal from his most recent release, I Heard It Today, Lif broke his set up into three sections. First introducing guest and producer/collaborator, Willie Evans, Jr., he then ripped through several solo pieces, including “Earthcrusher.” A quick costume change into dress shirt and tie for his anti status-quo rant, “Live From the Plantation”; then he and Willie teamed up for the rest of that segment, aided by coordinating video presentations on the screen behind them.
Last but not least, Akrobatik finally emerged onstage sporting football shoulder pads, and finished off the remainder of the set with Lif. The two Perceptionists hammered the crowd into submission with old favorites such as “Black Dialogue.” A new joint, “Serpentine Flow,” was premiered live for the audience, and finally Mr. Lif topped off the night with his nod to the history of Boston’s hip-hop scene, “Retrospect.” Afterwards, as always, he graciously greeted and talked with his fans at the merchandise table.
It was a milestone night, and everyone at the club left with the satisfaction of experiencing a great collection of local talent. Following a show like this one, Boston can hold its head high and be proud of its place in legitimate underground hip-hop.