Music » Livewire

The Best Damn Rap Tour

With J-Live, C-Rayz Walz, and Vast Aire. Wednesday, June 1, at the Grog Shop.


He doesn't have any high-profile Hollywood appearances to his credit, but otherwise, J-Live might be described as the poor man's Mos Def. Both are Brooklyn-born MCs who debuted in the mid-'90s; they share a consciously literary bent, a gift for intricate wordplay, and a taste for expanding hip-hop's reach by embracing other genres.

But while Mos Def thrived, J-Live's career languished for several years in a textbook industry horror story, as his aptly named debut, The Best Part, was kept in limbo for years. Since it was finally freed in 2001, he's been making up for lost time: His fourth solo set, The Hear After, is due this month.

J-Live will mark the release by headlining the Best Damn Rap Tour, a collection of below-the-radar heavy-hitters. The outing boasts a decidedly Def Jux feel, with Cannibal Ox MC Vast Aire and C-Rayz Walz, a New York rhymer who recently released his sophomore effort, Year of the Beast.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.