Live

Hoodie Allen, J-Phenom

When: Sat., May 12, 8 p.m. 2012

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I wonder what it's like to be a 16-year-old rapper from Portland. After listening to J-Phenom's new mixtape Topic of Discussion, it seems a lot like being a 16-year-old anything else, except your intense realization of independence mixed with depression is exposed and promoted, not being hidden away behind closed doors. J-Phenom reveals his drive for personal progression with playful antics ("Oh wait, I'm still young/Maybe that's why I'm so dumb"), but also uncovers a darker side, as in the introspective hook for "Lost Ones": "I think you're wrong if you don't think I wonder why sometimes/Why sometimes I'm livin'/Laying down looking at the sky up high/Damn I think I'm trippin'." From party rap to more emotionally stirring themes, there's definitely some potential here. Also, having your first show—outside of sweet 16s and pep rallies—at the Roseland with college-bro favorite Hoodie Allen doesn't hurt. ROCHELLE HUNTER

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