Burying the Hatchet: Bossman and Mullyman at the Black Hole Rock Club March 17
Mullyman and Bossman rock the house, mics
In 2004, a couple of local MCs named Bossmand and Mullyman began their parallel rises to prominence as two of Baltimore hip-hop’s brightest mainstream prospects. In 2005, they started throwing lyrical darts at each other in a series of diss tracks, for reasons that most people still don’t really understand. And in 2007, they called a truce, appearing on the cover of The Flywire magazine together and officially burying the beef. But it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that the two rappers finally collaborated on a song together, the remix of Mullyman’s single “Imma Be More,” giving fans what they’d been waiting nearly five years for. And on Wednesday night, Bossman and Mullyman erased any trace of lingering tensions with a celebratory concert at the Black Hole Rock Club in Dundalk, sharing a stage for the first time ever.
The show got off to a slow start, which is usual at the Black Hole, with the opening performers trickling onstage around 11:30 p.m.. The female rapper I.G. sent the message loud and clear that Baltimore has its first Nicki Minaj wannabe, and the group Rose’ Mo didn’t seem to grasp the fundamentals of rapping in time with the beat. Caddy Da Don and Legacy D. Don (no relation) both performed solid sets, although the latter’s was marred by the intrusive presence of a backup singer and noodling guitarist. Smash aka T-Mac’s stage presence was a bit goofier and more animated than I would’ve expected from his records, and TestMe played some new material that showed him finally beginning to find a voice of his own that doesn’t sound so much like a Lil Wayne impersonation. DJ 5Starr’s sets between performers were consistently well done, though, setting him apart as one of Baltimore’s few hip-hop DJs who not only spins many local records, but picks songs that actually sound good in the club. And he kept the energy in the Black Hole high with tracks such as Skarr Akbar’s “Bang” and a killer blend of the vocals from Comp’s “Whole Lat” over the beat from DJ Class’s “I’m The Ish.”
After a performance by 100 Grandman, DJ Booman set up his decks to DJ for the Bossman and Mullyman set (it was a good night for the “-man” suffix, apparently). It was 1 a.m. when the two former enemies finally took the stage, but they quickly made it clear that they weren’t simply going to do their one big song together and then send everybody home. In fact, their set began with the bold choice of having both MCs perform a bit of their original diss tracks against each other, first Mullyman with “Ready” and then Bossman with “Homicide.” Then Bossman started into his breakthrough local hit “Oh” and Mully responded with his recent MTV Jams staple “I Go Harder,” and the jams just kept coming from there.
For nearly an hour, the two rappers stood side by side, Mullyman in his Ravens hat and Bossman in his Orioles gear, and continued going song for song. Bossman ripped through his back catalog with bangers such as “Off the Record” and “Break Me Off,” while Mullyman busted out his own hits such as “Home of the Realest” and “She Hurtin’ Em.” All the while, they displayed a genuine rapport with one another, one playing hypeman while the other’s song was on, or admitting which songs they’d enjoyed even back when they were beefing. It was a great moment, and both were clearly relishing it. After a climactic performance of the “Imma Be More” remix, Bossman and Mullyman had one last surprise ready, last year’s posse cut remix of DJ Quicksilva’s “Where They Do That At?” that featured more than a dozen MCs, including both of them. Pork Chop, Skarr Akbar, Q, Tiara Laniece, and JP all kicked their verses, though Smash and 100 Grandman, who’d both performed earlier, had left by that point. Unfortunately, it was about 2 a.m. and the club ended up turning the sound off before Bossman and Mullyman could do theirs. But that was just a small disappointment at the end of a night that had already provided more than a fair share of memorable moments.