Royce is worth the wait at Underground Arts
Royce | photo by Matthew Shaver |

We all know the saying “Good things come to those who wait.” Royce da 5’9 is definitely one of those good things. The modern hip-hop landscape doesn’t have much room in the spotlight for an old school, battle-rap MC, so having one of the best around show up is cause for celebration in the indie circles.

So, we waited.

….and waited

*Checks watch. Start to become panicked over work in the morning*

and waited…..

6 openers graced the side stage of Underground Arts on Thursday night, not a bad MC in the house. But still, it was a bit much. The festival sized lineup included a smattering of rappers from across the east coast: NY, Philly, and Baltimore were all in attendance. Each one excitedly prepping the crowd for Royce’s arrival, only to announce the next in rotation instead. I’d heard whispers that his voice was in peril, a repeat of the last time he was in town with PRhyme, and I’d feared that all of this was a stall tactic boiling up to a cancel. 11:15 rolled around, and all prayers were answered, the man showed up, and despite any issues, sounded great.

Touring behind Layers, his first solo album since getting sober, his spirits were high, as he lifted me out of the growing anxiety of the time, and put us all on our feet. He’s an MC’s MC, apparent by his in-demand ghost writing. A master lyricist on tape, and on the mic. He brought along fellow Detroit rapper, and younger brother, Kid Vishis, who seemed to pick up some of the slack if he was indeed struggling. Queens rapper Grafh, Philly native Frankie Vado, Passport Gift from the Bronx, and Baltimore rapper Lonnie more were more than capable of filling in the time before Royce came out. A lot of emerging talent, representative largely of the same style and era. A long night for sure, but a great one for the hip-hop heads that stayed out.

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