If Big K.R.I.T. is the “King of the South,” as announced in his first song at The Sinclair last week to a beyond-adoring audience, then Michael Christmas can claim to be the Crown Prince of Boston. Christmas, a transplant to Los Angeles from Boston, was awash in hometown love the whole night. When I saw him before the show, Christmas was looking for his dad and giving dap to the freezing/excited fans queued outside the venue. Of course, the track “Michael Cera” got thunderous applause as his final cut, but it was Christmas’ voracious banter that was truly magic throughout the whole set. He joked about reading bedtime stories to his sister, proper placement of a mic stand, and the desire to have Boston well-represented as a city for hip hop (which it is). When he eventually brought Cousin Stizz on stage for “Shoutout,” followed by sharing hugs with hometown cat Moe Pope after the show near the bar, you got the sense that Boston is getting its due and proper as an incubator for solid hip hop.
Having seen Big K.R.I.T. in venues small (Middle East), medium (Paradise), and large (TD Garden), I was eager to see what energy he would bring to a free show like the Rubber Tracks series hosted by Converse. I’m not sure why I doubted him, considering K.R.I.T. pummeled the mic with all that good county shit, and even a little Cadillac space fantasy. Thematically, the paring of Big K.R.I.T. and Michael Christmas makes sense, though, with just a little thought given to the matter. Both men have large shoulders, built strong and more than able to carry the weight of their communities while presenting it, and their music, to a nationwide audience. Given the reception by the hyped up crowd last week, there’s nothing to suggest they aren’t.