Music

Rap revival: Taking hip-hop where it hasn’t been before

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Inside looking out: Rhyme N Rhythm, on the House of Blues’ main stage
Photo: Ryan Olbrysh

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Rhyme N Rhythm aka RNR

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    Alternate Realities
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    Flip da Script
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    Get Loose
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    Hello Groove
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    Neon Knights
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    Ridiculous
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    Wave Your Hands!
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    What It Is

More on Rhyme N Rhythm aka RNR

Go big or go home—that seemed to be the prevailing attitude behind every aspect of Saturday night’s eNVy Showcase performance at House of Blues. Approached by organizer Mark Hornsby to headline a three-band concert, Rhyme N Rhythm said it would rather lead a night dedicated to hip-hop acts. So, the Vegas group brought together an impressive lineup of local beat-boxers, emcees and musicians, including Outside Looking In (OLI), Reallionaire Jream and JLC (Shamrock and HighDro).

“That we’re on this stage is a big deal,” said spoken word emcee Paria B, who performed with vinylist DUWOPRose.

“Some people and venues can be hesitant about booking hip-hop shows, especially since the Bill Young thing,” says Jerry Walker, one of RNR’s four emcees, referring to disparaging comments made in 2006 by then-sheriff Young urging casinos to ban hip-hop for promoting drugs, violence and hatred against women and police.

That the House of Blues and eNVy Showcase welcomed the five-hour lineup of hip-hop speaks volumes, Walker says. Another good sign: The audience of 600-plus, which did a lot more than buy a ticket to support local hip-hop and charity (the night raised $1,320 for local food bank Three Square).

The dedicated crowd screamed and danced, reaching dizzyingly energetic levels during the peaks of OLI and RNR’s sets—and who could blame them? RNR raised its performance to the next level by featuring a string and horn section, which brought an already full sound to epic new levels. Closer “Ridiculous” included a rock edge that almost had the crowd turning into a funk and soul mini-mosh pit. It was, indeed, ridiculous, in the best sense of the word—and the least you should expect from what is likely the first local hip-hop group to headline this prominent Vegas venue.

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