There’s a glut of major rap shows this weekend in Columbus. Allow us to help you navigate them.
Affiliation: When he rapped as Tity Boi, his Ludacris-endorsed duo Playaz Circle scored a hit with Lil Wayne called “Duffle Bag Boy.” Since wisely changing his name, he’s become the most in-demand rapper in the world, jumping on tracks with almost every name on hip-hop’s A-list and signing to Def Jam.
Opening acts: A pair of immensely talented Columbus crews, Fly.Union and Exec Gang
What to expect: Loud, obnoxious, brilliantly comical and descriptive references to typical rap excess (In “Mercy,” he brags about owning a “coupe the color of mayonnaise” and a “chain the color of Akon.”)
Newport Music Hall
7:30 p.m. Friday, July 13
1722 N. High St., Campus
Affiliation: After nabbing a spotlight with the help of tastemakers like Damon Dash and Mishka NYC, the former basketball prospect signed with Rick Ross’ world-conquering Maybach Music Group. The Ohio native’s breakthrough mixtape “Lincoln Way Nights” was produced entirely by Columbus beatmaker Rashad; he also started his own crew called Blue Collar Gang that features rising Columbus rapper Vada.
Opening acts: Stalley’s appearance is part of Kingsrowe’s recurring #AnimalHouse party, also featuring the aforementioned Vada plus Chicago’s Chance the Rapper and Louisville’s Nemo Achida.
What to expect: Rugged-but-sensitive Midwest chest-thumping, with a healthy dose of beaming Ohio pride
Skully’s Music Diner
9 p.m. Friday, July 13
1151 N. High St., Short North
Affiliation: After rising to fame with the Lil Jon collaboration “Dirty South Soldiers,” the Memphis underground staple has worked with a who’s who of Southern stars like super-producer Lex Luger and Gucci Mane. After releasing a million mixtapes during the past decade, he finally released his official debut “Live From the Kitchen” via RCA/Polo Grounds Music in January.
Openers: Yo Gotti is headlining Martha’s Summer Jam, also featuring a slate of locals including DJ Hylyte.
What to expect: Hefty, hard-hitting trap music that splits the difference between Memphis titans Three 6 Mafia and thoughtful Southern stomper Big K.R.I.T.
Martha’s Soul Food Bistro and Ultralounge
8 p.m. Saturday, July 14
2600 S. Hamilton Rd., South Side
Affiliation: He’s best known for his days as one of Jay-Z’s top Roc-A-Fella lieutenants, a bond that remains tight despite an apparent snub from Jay at a recent press conference. He also did a short stint with Cash Money. Nowadays Freeway rides for Rhymesayers, the Minnesota underground hip-hop institution with ties to Atmosphere, Brother Ali and Columbus talents Blueprint and RJD2.
Openers: A slate of local talent including Yung Frost and Djcopasteticc
What to expect: The clever realism of underground rap, but with a flashy mainstream pedigree
10 p.m. Saturday, July 14
6115 E. Livingston Ave., East Side