MatisyahuThe great Matisyahu has spent a long and storied career building solidarity through his music with mega hits like "One Day" and "Youth," off of his 2006 album Youth, calling for young people to recognize their power in this world and demand peace. And these encouraging sentiments the Jewish American "gift of god" weaves perfectly within bouts of punk rock-inspired, musical euphoria. For a fairly serious reggae artist, Matisyahu expresses a deep-rooted sense of hip-hop throughout his music and especially in his songwriting.
On perhaps his most well-known hit, "One Day" from his 2009 album Light, he summons Bob Marley in a way that turned this song into an anthem for peace. With lyrics like "All my life I’ve been waiting for/I’ve been praying for/For the people to say/That we don’t wanna fight no more/They’ll be no more wars/And our children will play," there’s little wonder why "One Day" was such a massive hit. Now if someone could just let Trump and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu know.
Matisyahu, whose reggae is famously infused with themes of Jewish life and culture, has a strong fanbase in South Florida. Among the faithful is one notable acolyte, Kosha Dillz, who recently kicked off his American tour at Miami Art Basel — after which he played a house-party show in Fort Lauderdale before heading back to his new home in Isreal. Kosha can credit a lot of his success to Matisyahu, who took him under his wing early on and welcomed Kosha on tour as an opener.
Matisyahu, now 40, is still crushing grooves — he's playing two nights this weekend at the Persson Hall at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach as part of his Winter Vacation Tour. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 18 and Sunday, January 19 at Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach; kravis.org. Tickets start at $59.
Lil KeedIf you are looking for a haze-induced rap experience, Lil Keed is part of the next wave of trippy rappers coming out of Atlanta. He’s from the same neighborhood as Young Thug and has a lot of the same style choices and musical appeals as the slime god. "Oh My God," off of his 2019 album Long Live Mexico, is minimalistic in its production approach and Lil Keed rhymes on it well with aspects of the style that so often comes out of Atlanta. Or maybe a track like "Snake," where the video has Lil Keed dressed up in spaghetti-western garb — the weirdness doesn’t stop with Young Thug, he seems to be saying. There’s definitely something in the water in their old neighborhood. With Lil Gotit. 7 p.m., Friday, January 17 at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; jointherevolution.net. Tickets start at $35.
Kevin NovaThere will be plenty of bragging and boasting in West Palm Beach on Friday night because Kevin Nova, a young and aspiring hip hop artist (homegrown), is releasing his Destination: Heaven record this weekend with a party at Voltaire. Nova released a ton of singles in 2019 along with a couple of music videos. Like so many younger artists, Nova — whether knowingly or unknowingly — has been inspired by Drake, and that shit rings out for real on his 2018 EP Before It’s Too Late with a song like "Selfish." With DJ Slim. 7 p.m., Friday, January 17 at Voltaire, 526 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; sub-culture.org/voltaire. Pre-sale tickets are $10 via facebook or $15 at the door.
QueensrycheSo if you have been reading along here and thinking, I’m not into hip-hop, well then take your ass to Culture Room on Friday night to catch '80s metal band Queensryche. They can take you into a time warp where you can relive those outstanding moments from your pre-internet youth. Queensryche released an album in 2019 (really!), The Verdict, that will melt your face off — just like the good ol’ days. Except now, you have arthritis and you’re thrice divorced, but fuck it, Geoff Tate still has those outstanding pipes, so why not throw on those black jeans and grab the Aqua Net. Let’s go! With John 5 and Eve To Adam. 7:30 p.m., Friday, January 17 at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; cultureroom.net. Tickets are $33.
WordsworthAs a deeply addicted hip-hop nerd, that real rap shit has always reigned supreme with me. And if you have been keeping up with underground hip-hop over the past ten years, then you have most definitely come across the supergroup eMC. If so, you most definitely know Wordsworth.
A freestyle beast that has been ravaging MCs for over a dozen years, Wordsworth most recently dropped the album Champion Sounds with Pearl Gates (May 2019). And from the sound of tracks like "Live On Air," featuring Rasheed Chappell, and the title song featuring Kool G Rap and Spuddy Ranks, Wordsworth isn’t even close to done with slapping fools with his lyrical pimp hand.
Wordsworth’s wild flows tumble on top of one another as he unleashes effortlessly on any track he touches. The Brooklyn native is coming to C&I Studios in Fort Lauderdale this Saturday, and yours truly will be there to cover that “real elevated type rhyme scheme shit” that will most surely be on display. With Ben Phrases, 4 Heaven Sake, and more. 7 p.m., Saturday, January 18 at C&I Studios, 541 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15 day of or $10 in advance via eventbrite.com.