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The long-awaited DC arrival of Brooklyn rapper Theophilus London was finally realized Tuesday night at U Street Music Hall—the sold-out status of the show does more than prove his loyal following despite his lack of any actual albums.

Opening first for Theo was local MC group, Roll Wit Us All-Stars. If the applause at the announcement of their final song was any indication, the group failed to create any legitimate hype. With lyrics like “She’s bad… She’s bad… she’s badder than bad… She’s bad” and “I’ve got 27 b-tches in my Honda Accord; don’t sweat me, ’cause it’s all I can afford”—they could have just sat this one out.

Up next on the roster was Ninja Sonik, a duo also hailing from Brooklyn—they had much more to offer in terms of showmanship. The guys sample heavy from the likes of M.IA., to Matt and Kim, to Bobby Brown, but without coming off uncreative. They kept their energy at 100 the whole way through; jumping into the crowd, pulling some lucky Howard University girls on stage, and vibing off one another in a way that demonstrated a true partnership within the music. It was remarked by a friend who came with me that they could easily break off from one another and be great in their own rights, but the collaboration really makes them an act worth noticing. Initially, not having been familiar with them, I noticed comparisons to Kids In The Hall and The Knux, but by the end of the set, I definitely had only one name in my mind, and that was Ninja Sonik.

Theophilus London set the crowd in to a frenzy when he finally took the stage—everyone, and anyone, who’d heard of the rapper previously knew what kind of show to expect, and was beyond ready for his DC debut. Not relying on the traditional hype man, crotch grabbing, flow delivery of most other MCs, Theophilus London performs his own version of hip-hop. Taking notes the Calypso rappers of his native Trinidad, and injecting a swag unique to Brooklyn, he grooves to the music and forces the audience to join in with him.

Not ashamed to admit his love for the female, he played much into his lady-fans admiration—often reaching out, and pulling girls from the crowd to dance. That same sensuality was echoed in the crowd; if you were standing next to a lady, a single one at that, best believe it didn’t take long to notice a guy or two to show off their own version of the Theo.

Albeit an a-hole of a bouncer who found it necessary to be rude to all those in his vicinity, the venue was full of good energy. A perfect environment to hail in the 22nd birthday of this phenom of a performer, which the show just happened to roll into as the clock struck twelve. Theophilus London definitely provided one of the better shows for me of 2011 thus far, but then again, I’ve been a fan since 2008 and have been waiting for him to roll through DC ever since.

Setlist:
Why Even Try
Strange Love
Girls Girls $
Sorry to Interrupt
Flying Overseas
Groove Me
Wine and Chocolates
Accept the New
Always Love You
TNT
I Want You
Cold Pillow

Due to photography restrictions at U Street Music Hall all live photos by Vanache from a previous engagement.

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