Wyclef Jean, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and more ‘90s music

Artscape attracts hundreds of thousands of people in a three day span every year. This year will be no different, but it seems as though the anticipation for this year’s festival is at an all-time low. The lack of buzz around the city is generated in part by the music lineup chosen to score the weekend: Former Fugee, three-time Grammy winner, and one-time Palin pundit Wyclef Jean; a '90s ska favorite Mighty Mighty Bosstones; and reggae legend Burning Spear, making his final performance in Baltimore on the last night of Artscape. Each day there will be a host of performances from regional groups like Jah Works and Bond St. District that speak to the depth of talent here in Baltimore, but these headliners feel like a particularly safe batch of picks. Wale in 2011 was the last time Artscape featured a young prominent artist on their ascension to stardom, and in the past, we've seen plenty of crowd-pleasing legends at least (Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Common, De La Soul, just to name a few). An especially weak lineup is no surprise—Artscape’s music selection often indulges respectability politics by trying to maintain a certain level of decorum that won’t scare tourists away. Still, a mix of young prominent musicians (Tate Kobang would've been an excellent headliner) not crammed into the middle of the day and instead headlining would help bring balance to the mob of adults lugging around lawn chairs. Wyclef Jean (July 15, 7:30 p.m.); Mighty Mighty Bosstones (July 16, 7:30 p.m.); Burning Spear (July 17, 7:30 p.m.), BGE Main Stage at The Maryland Institute College of Art’s Station Building, 1400 Cathedral St., artscape.org, free. (Reginald Thomas II)

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