Folk tributes to hip hop certainly had me intrigued, and even a tad anxious. Could this keep me entertained for four whole hours? The answer: YES. Folk the Police returned to The Blind Pig for its fifth year this past Sunday. Over four hours, 16 artists performed two songs each, all paying tribute to the great artists of hip hop. Covers included songs by Tupac, Eminem, Missy Elliot and Jay-Z.

The night began with a few remarks by the event’s creator before he introduced the first band. The Way Down Wanders opened the show with a reimagined version of Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” They set the bar high with both talent and energy, and the remainder of the lineup kept the party going.

Iggy Shevak brought a gritty and growling cover of “Fancy,” and a crowd favorite, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song. Following was Mike Vial’s awesomely hilarious redo of “The Real Slim Shady.” The spirit of modern hip-hop remained solid through Dave Menzo’s “99 Problems,” the better-than-the-original “Ignition,” Keri Lynn Roche’s “Fuckin’ Problems” and her “Lose Yourself.” Between each set, D.J. Cataclysmic spun some solid tunes. Kanye, Beyoncé and a slew of danceable beats kept the crowd going during some of the lengthier set changes.

A young Olivia Millerschin stole the middle of the show with the minor “M” sharpied on both her hands and a white shirt blazed with “Bitches” across it. She brought the crowd in for “It Wasn’t Me” and took all the ’90s kids back to childhood with Ciara’s “Goodies.” She set the bar high once again, but The Accidentals came in and brought down the house with a shouting cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?”

It seemed like eventually the bands couldn’t get any better, but Folk the Police continued to raise the energy into its third and fourth hours. FTP veterans Anna Lee’s Company and Nicole P’Simer came later in the evening. Anna Lee’s Company sang some old-school hip hop with Naughty by Nature’s “O.P.P.” and a dirty south favorite, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp.” P’Simer brought some fun twists on Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass” and Missy Elliot’s “Work.” These two were clear crowd favorites, and their experience showed tremendously throughout their sets (not to mention that P’Simer got a bra thrown at her).

As hip hop always does, the night took time to pay tribute to social issues. Abigail Stauffer led a short “Black Lives Matter” chant as a lead into Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up.” Stauffer and her bandmates’ harmonization on “Since a man can’t make one / He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one” was emotional and powerful, to say the least. It was especially important to see these artists not only pay tribute to the music itself, but also the culture of hip hop.

Finally, Scissor Now re-energized the post-midnight crowd with a loud and rocking “Bust a Move,” before The Euphorics closed out Folk the Police with an awesome throwback to The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the Love.”

Some of the band members were in high school and some of the crowd were definitely longtime members of AARP. Folk the Police offers a welcoming environment for everyone to come and enjoy hip-hop music through the lenses of local artists.

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