I still don't know who Mac Miller is. I suppose that a quick search of Google or YouTube could easily solve the mystery for me, but I have to say that after walking through Boston's 2011 Urban Music Festival which he headlined, I have little to no interest in finding out. My lack of interest stems from the vibe his (apparently abundant) fan-base was giving off. Some might try to attribute the negative energy coming from the crowd overflowing city hall plaza to race, or age (the crowd was predominantly white teens, from the suburbs of Boston), but I saw it more as a misguided representation of HipHop culture. It was like walking through a crowd of people who had seen a few too many Wiz Khalifa videos and the BET awards on television and then came out to imitate what they'd seen in a group re-enactment (to any teens reading this who are now angry, I say with affection, Hi Haters). I was also turned off by the amount of cigarette smoke. Since when do Boston-area youth smoke like they were extras on the set of Mad Men? I digress. In the past, this music festival has had old-school HipHop headliners like Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. The event drew some of the most wonderfully diverse crowds (in terms of age, race, gendre, class, etc.) I've seen in the Bean. I have witnessed everything from spontaneous b-boy battles, to family reunions at these festivals, but somehow this year's event took a serious wrong turn. This city is often hesitant to host HipHop events, conflating race, rap and violence. Apparently though, there was quite a bit of violence at this year's festival (and none to speak of at the recent show featuring Jill Scott, Doug E Fresh and DJ Jazzy Jeff which brought out most of Black Boston), so let's take the race card off the table going forward, shall we? Again, I digress, but I hope that the city gets its act together for next year's fest (I hear Lauryn Hill is touring and performing a lot these days...HINT).
On the real though, on behalf of my city, sincerest apologies to Goapele. We'll have to bring you back to Boston for a real show sis, packed to the gills with your Beantown fans who steady rock with you.