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Pop Music Review

Lyricist Lounge Tour Hits High Point With Slum Village

September 19, 2000|SOREN BAKER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Established in 1991 as a showcase for talented unsigned rappers, the Lyricist Lounge has developed into a successful national tour highlighting some of hip-hop's up-and-coming artists.

Despite a few rocky moments at the beginning and the end of the four-hour event, this year's edition Sunday at the House of Blues was enjoyable. Slum Village delivered the concert's knockout performance, ripping through a number of selections from its first national release, this year's spectacular "Fantastic, Vol. 2."

During the Detroit trio's 25-minute set, rappers T3 and Baatin stayed animated, maintaining a fever pitch for their entire set. (Producer-rapper Jay Dee records with the group but doesn't go on tour.) Slum Village, who has collaborated with D'Angelo and Busta Rhymes, reached the evening's crescendo with a rowdy rendition of the pulsating "Raise It Up." Other acts offering quality sets included Bahamadia and Talib Kweli.

The former is a critically acclaimed Philadelphia rapper who has released two albums. Her precise delivery patterns, which seemed effortless despite their complexity, enhanced her reputation as a quality rapper. Saluting the values of positivity and education, Bahamadia was able to uplift listeners as she entertained them. The same could be said for Talib Kweli, whose rapid-fire raps about self-empowerment were delivered with a ferocity that matched their potency.

On the other end of the verbal spectrum were Punch N Words, who, despite their raunchy subject matter, delivered the evening's most stinging punch lines. Headliner Mos Def delivered a rather unremarkable concert-closing set despite being joined onstage by George Clinton for a rendition of "Flashlight."

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