Local rapper Eugene “Black Nerd” Willis is not your prototypical modern MC. More concerned with lyrical content than production, and a staunch opponent of profanity, Willis peppers his music with pop culture references and stories of personal growth. Of course, this could all tank badly in less capable hands, but Willis’ early-Kanye-esque delivery and firebrand indie energy save his music from becoming a caricature of itself. In fact, live and on record, Black Nerd comes across as remarkably coherent, a refreshing boom-bap throwback in an age of Auto-Tune and Ableton Live. Electro-tinged Cleveland, GA funk-rockers Roshambeaux, who are slightly less successful at avoiding self-parody, also perform.
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