“Mr. Lif headlined the first two years, and since then I’ve been trying to get Guru for this event,” says Edo of the Roxbury-born MC who died on April 19, after a fight with cancer. “We could never make it happen, but this time we actually signed paperwork with his booking agent and I was waiting on a call. That call never came, though, and now I know why. It’s sad, but obviously he won’t be forgotten by anybody there.”

Given Edo’s boot-camp rules, plus the positive nostalgia triggered by the loss of Guru (and the mutual respect that rose from the avoidance of a Unity Fest 3 melee), Saturday should be all love (and perhaps the BPD won’t have to fill the Paradise with swarms of not-so-undercover officers). Boston artists would be remiss to let things happen any other way — should this pop properly, bigger stages (and perhaps even more stage time) could lie ahead.

“My ultimate goal is to have Unity Fest at the House of Blues,” Edo concludes. “There would be more room, and beyond what I’ve been doing, I could finally bring more nationally recognized people who have done big things outside of Boston. Really, I would love to get Bell Biv DeVoe and possibly New Kids on the Block. Maybe we can even get Mark Wahlberg to come back and do his rap thing. You never know — it could happen.”

UNITY FEST | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | May 15 at 7 pm | 18+ | $25 | 617.562.8800 or thedise.com

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