If it ain’t broke . . .

By BRETT MILANO  |  May 26, 2006

In terms of hip-hop, Boston is still off on the fringes: we still think that rap should have an old-school sound and positive, socially conscious lyrics. This put us in line with hippies like the Black Eyed Peas, and precious little else that sells big nationally. This didn’t bother a crowd of thousands in Austin earlier this spring, where I saw local rap kingpin Mr. Lif do a well-received set at South by Southwest: Lif had scored the opening slot for an outdoor gig by Austin rockers Spoon, one of the prime showcases of the whole festival. Lif has had a banner year all around, making a recent single (“Storm”) with turntable wiz Cut Chemist and fellow local Edan, and releasing a politically charged album with Akrobatik and DJ Fakts One in their crew the Perceptionists to win the Best Hip-Hop category.

Some of us can recall when the Either/Orchestra was considered a fringe band; they’ve since become one of Boston’s most established jazz acts without reining in their eclecticism. Throw in a still-vital world-music circuit and a growing dance/DJ crowd, and you’ve got a local scene that hasn’t changed much since last year, and hasn’t needed to.
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