This is a past event.
When: Fri., Oct. 23, 8 p.m. 2009
Price: $15-$20

A few people scratched their heads when spoken word poet IseLyfe switched over to hip-hop. In fairness, there's a lot of permeability between the two genres, and Oakland-raised Lyfe definitely had his foot in both worlds. But even the greatest monologists sometimes flounder in a scene that places so much emphasis on persona. As it turned out, IseLyfe -- like fellow poet Denizen Kane -- is better as an emcee than as a poet. It's not often that you hear a rapper who is not just a good talker but a fine writer as well, so Lyfe's literary skills separate him from the pack. His 2008 album The Prince Cometh recalls early Nas, with its elaborate story lines, odd bar flows, and meticulous detail. For anyone frustrated with the current state of hip-hop -- and spoken word, for that matter -- it was a reason to hold on. IseLyfe performs Friday, Oct. 23, at Maxwell's Lounge (341 13th St., Oakland). Nikki Thomas of KBLX will host. 8 p.m., $15-$20.

— Rachel Swan


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