Positive Vibes

Last Tuesday at the 5 Seasons was a big night for the local hip-hop journal Bmore Vibe Magazine (which the author of this review has contributed to in the past). It was a release party for both their fourth issue and their first mixtape, Watch This! Of course, mixtapes are dime a dozen in this town, as are release parties, but it was a rare and impressive feat for the mag to get nearly every MC that appeared on the mixtape—with the exception of D.O.G. and maybe one other artist—to show up and perform, and that they got through those dozens of performances in the space of just a couple hours.The new issue's cover star, UnReal, was onstage when we arrived with Me'Aze "Bosslady" Millioni commanding the DJ booth for the night. But, with all due respect to old favorites like UnReal and Ms. Stress, our favorite thing about the show was finally getting to see some artists whose records we've been enjoying, playing live for our first time, including PenDragon and self-proclaimed "Bmore's #1 White Boy,"Tha Profitt, who bounced around the stage with more energy than most of the other artists on the bill combined. When he brought up a goth-girl dressed in all black with black hair and pale skin to rap a couple verses, we just about fell in love.The real revelation of the event, though, was seeing two women who've been by and large behind-the-scenes figures in Baltimore hip-hop take the spotlight for once. Amotion is at nearly every local rap show, often documenting it for her Deep Flow TV cable access series, or otherwise promoting the Deep Flow studio and label. It's at the point that it's sometimes easy to forget that she's also an MC. And for one of her rare live sets, she went all out, presenting her songs as a rough storyline, with segues explaining how her lyrics form a narrative. Then again, the story's arc never got more ambitious than getting high, going to a show, meeting a guy, breaking up, and then getting high again; she's not exactly making a rap opera yet.The other renaissance woman who used the occasion to remind us that she can also rap was Bmore Vibe's own editor and founder, Rogue, who's expecting a child in January. While she only managed a couple songs, it was still an impressive feat considering the size of her belly and that she'd already put a lot of work into putting together the magazine, the CD, and the show itself. And her state definitely lended an interesting subtext to that song about "baby father drama." But the fact that we may never get another chance to see a pregnant white woman rap was just one of many reasons the night was memorable.

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