Rap Sheet: A new album from Skarr Akbar, DJ Shawn Smallwood, and more

City Paper
  • After dozens of mixtapes spanning over a decade, Baltimore hip-hop veteran Skarr Akbar (pictured) is finally releasing a retail album. “Passion, Pain & Progress,” which was initially announced back in 2011, will be available in local Downtown Locker Room stores on Feb. 3. A release party concert will be held on Feb. 6 at The Circuit in Essex, Maryland. Ogun will host the event, and performers include Greenspan, Tha Profitt, and Great Scott, the duo of Al Great and Street Scott. Skarr Akbar released the album’s self-produced single ‘Errvythang’ in November.
  • The Exchange, a panel discussion series focused on “dissecting the history and state of hip-hop in Baltimore,” is returning to Red Emma’s on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The panel is moderated by Capri Shorter and will feature a mix of musicians, journalists, and academics.
  • DJ Shawn Smallwood and a step team are providing the music and entertainment for an event this Friday, Jan. 30 for The Point In Time Count Baltimore Homeless Youth Coalition. 16- to-24-year-olds who are currently experiencing homelessness in Baltimore City are encouraged to come to 901 N. Milton Ave. from 6-10 p.m. At the event, they can receive food, clothing, gift cards, and bus tokens, and be formally counted among a demographic that can only be better served if the statistics on them are more accurate.
  • MakeshiftDeluxe.com is presenting a monthly hip-hop showcase, Last Saturdays, at the Church St. Pub in Frederick, Maryland. This month’s show, on Jan. 31, features the local duo Minlus & McCracken, who released their second and most recent album “beLIEve” in 2010, but continue to perform and release new songs regularly. Other performers include LJ Heiss and J Scienide.
  • Love & Hip Hop 410, a weekly hip-hop open mic on Tuesday nights at Saint Mary’s Restaurant and Bar, recently celebrated its one year anniversary. Performers get a maximum of six minutes, and poets, singers, and comedians are welcome in addition to rappers. The event’s host, Big Guy Da Don, released his latest album, “Luv Vs Lust,” in September. Stream it on SoundCloud.
  • Several big-name hip-hop bills will be held at Baltimore Soundstage in the coming weeks. Those shows include PRhyme (the duo of Royce Da 5’9 and DJ Premier) on Feb. 18, Wale on Feb. 20, and Lil Durk on March 1.
  • Baltimore native Reina Williams, a rapper/singer/producer, was recently nominated at the OUTMusic Awards. Her single ‘Like Ooh (Ooh Damn),’ which like many of her songs features both rapped and melodic vocals, is nominated in the Best R&B/Soul Song category. The awards, which were due to be held on Jan. 19, have been postponed for a later date to be announced.
  • In September’s Rap Sheet column, I spoke with the rapper UllNevaNo and broke the news of his next project, “Confidence Is Everything,” a collaboration with the producer Illien. The nine-song collection was released last week, and is available online.


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