Forever 29

Lyrical’s birthday bash, Harpers Ferry, January 10, 2007
By MATTHEW M. BURKE  |  January 17, 2007

With its tradition of blues and jam bands, Allston’s Harpers Ferry isn’t the first place you’d expect one of Boston’s most promising hip-hop artists to celebrate his birthday. But times have changed, and a week ago Wednesday it indeed was Harpers Ferry that played host to the Lyrical birthday bash, a party/show to celebrate one more year in the life of the Lowell-bred rapper.

Clad in a sport coat and a button-down shirt, Lyrical took a break from mingling in the crowd to announce that he is “forever 29.” The tall and skinny enigma of a rapper (a/k/a Pete Plourde, by day a business-management and mathematics professor) is the first to admit with a smile that he was also 29 last year and will still be 29 in 10 years. “If Sylvester Stallone can be 50 when he’s 60, I can be 29 when I’m 59. I got an album called iNFiNiTi. . . it’s timeless.”

Inspired by hip-hop’s golden era, Lyrical emerged as the voice of X-Caliber in the late ’90s, and he did a stint in the group Invasion before going solo. iNFiNiTi (D.i.M.E.) dropped in ’05 and was voted Album of the Year in last June’s first annual Mass Industry Committee Hip-Hop Awards. He plans to keep pushing the disc (available on iTunes and Rhapsody, as well as at Underground Hip-Hop on Huntington Avenue) till August of 2008, when he’ll release a follow-up.

At Harpers, Lyrical freestyled about the Big Dig and Saddam Hussein and performed only a couple of iNFiNiTi tracks with backing from the mellow jazz/funk quartet Velvet Stylus. But he shared the spotlight by inviting a group of racially diverse MCs to join him on stage for a freestyle symphony of everything from gangsta rap to suburban backpack rhymes before slipping off stage and back into the crowd. That left Rebel Love, Chaos, Doe Boy, Metaphorick, and Carbon on stage to trade bars over the Wu-Tang classic “C.R.E.A.M.” and Capleton’s “Wings of the Morning,” with grooves by Velvet Stylus.

And Harpers Ferry general manager Andrew Wolan? The 27-year-old sat at the back bar working on his laptop. “I love hip-hop,” he enthused. “We try to do a lot more hip-hop to help the scene grow.” It certainly seemed to be doing the trick for 29-year-old Lyrical.

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Hip-Hop and Rap, Music,  More more >
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