Your Extensive Boston Hip-Hop Unity Fest Primer

If I tried to write about every one of the 30-or-so rappers set to collectively slap Unity Fest at The Paradise next Thursday, I wouldn’t have time to fuck around on Facebook and Twitter all day. It would also be a waste of time considering how much I’ve already written about so many of the marquee artists.

Firs of all - and I never would have predicted this considering the big "fuck you" letter that he wrote to the Boston rap community after hosting last year's throwdown and dealing with everybody's shit backstage - D-Tension is back to keep knuckleheads in check. You might know D from his work with Effect as Los Wunder Twins Del Rap, or from his WFNX show, Yo! FNX Raps?, on which I make bi-weekly appearances.

At the top of this year's Unity bill is Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan - a group I fancy enough to get its logo branded on my forearm. I haven't written anything specifically about Chef Rae for a minute, but he made a cameo in this Wu-Tang show review from Lupo's and last summer's Rock the Bells recap. Also - if you want to check some tracks from his upcoming Only Built for Cuban Linx II - go here.

As a bonus headliner, we get The King (King Magnetic) and the Cauze (Reef the Lost Cauze) straight out of Philly. (That's right - this unity thing extends to other cities, too.) Listen to me closely - THESE ARE TWO OF THE BEST LYRICISTS IN HIP-HOP. In our archives, Reef turned up in my SXSW coverage, and King Mag swung through the studio during the making of this highly controversial Jedi Mind Tricks feature.

Though Special Teamz has been dormant for a minute, the squad of Slaine, Jaysaun, and Edo G brings one of Boston's toughest sets. Of course, it helps that they have some of the best cuts the Bean has ever seen. If you don't believe me just check this video from the 2007 Unity Fest, or these reviews of Jaysaun at the Joe Budden show and Slaine opening for Necro.

The Gang Starr Foundation will be represented by Big Shug and Krumbsnatcha.  I you're unfamiliar, peep this this profile that I recently wrote about Shug, and this video with Termanology, Reks, and Krumb in which I make my acting debut. Riding alongside them, I'm sure we can expect to hear from M-Dot and Singapore Kane, both of whom you might remember from my 2009 Spring Hip-Hop Preview, or from the former's On The Download showing.

Another OTD veteran donning the bill is Vice-Versa, who I'm sure will be accompanied by The Architype - his producer who turned up in this article about Kabir a few months back.

Holding down the northern suburbs are The Dunnas (Dese of The Camp plus Oak Lonetree), who I profiled for next week's Phoenix; also - coming in from Brookline is ASN, who, as noted in this Stuff magazine feature, will break you like Ivan Drago.

Expect firey sets from the City Slickers, who I'm told just signed with Brick Records, and J the S (formerly Jake the Snake), who's had his share of shine in these pages. And where the Slickers can be found, rhyme horse Dre Robinson is sure to be there too; after a brief hiatus, the Roxbury MC recently popped up on Shuko's album and the latest Edu Leedz compilation.

It won't surprise many that the artist I'm most excited to check is Moe Pope (formerly of Project Move, Electric, and the Crown City Rockers). Moe's disc with Headnodic was my favorite rap album of 2008; if you missed the feature I did on them - or the blog post about the free remix download - then take a minute and go back.

Next to last but never least is Akrobatik, who has turned up in El Phoenix more times than just about any Boston-based MC beside Esoteric, who, along with his off-and-on producer 7L (also of The Bladerunners), finesses his way into the paper almost every week, and who will also hold things down for unity.

The bill also packs in Blob, Sarita, D-Stacks, Da Green Team, Jimmy Marsh, and Vixen - acts who I haven't covered yet, but will be sure to check. Here's to hoping that they rip some serious sets (I know I can expect one from G-Eyez, who's overdue for some coverage); fuck knows I need some new MCs to write about in this bitch.

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