Saturday: Beanie Sigel and Freeway

Jan. 7

Hopefully this isn't news to you, dear reader, but Jay Z is a bit of a fraud. Like many massively successful pop icons, he gloms onto "lesser" artists, takes what he needs from them, and then leaves them languishing in semi-stardom at best. Back in the early 2000s, this is what Jay did to Philadelphia street poets Beanie Sigel and Freeway, of State Property, two livewire, brutally honest, and brilliant MCs. You wouldn't have introspective Jay without Sigel and you wouldn't have open-eared soul-screaming Jay without Freeway (also assisting this seachange: Kanye West and Just Blaze). But moving beyond the bitter, Sigel and Freeway continue to make really powerful rap music, all the while fighting health problems (Sigel's lungs were injured in a shooting; Freeway with kidney failure), so come and see them and cheer on two highly influential underdogs. 8 p.m., Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, baltimoresoundstage.com, $30-$50. (Brandon Soderberg)

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