MC Homeless mixes punk, hip-hop into unique blend

If you go

What: MC Homeless, Stillborn Identity and DJ Ludo

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Lemon Grove,

122 W. Federal St., Youngstown

Info: 330-301-0282

Place:Knox Bldg

110 W. Federal St., Youngstown

By John Benson

The genre of punk-hip-hop may seem like an oxymoron, but Liberty native Matt “MC Homeless” Greenfield has been merging these two worlds successfully for the past decade.

“I’d say it was just a natural progression,” said Greenfield, 27, a 2002 Liberty High School graduate. “It’s still the same energy. It’s still the same patterns of thinking, the same aggression. It’s youthful rebellion. I was about 17 years old at the time, and it just seemed right. My punk band broke up, and I wanted to do something solo. I was getting back into the hip-hop I had been listening to my whole life.

“A lot of early hip-hop and a lot of punk in New York City and the graffiti scene, there was a lot of bonding going on with that. The Clash was involved with reggae and experimenting with hip-hop beats. They are definitely tied together just because it’s underground music.”

After playing in grindcore bands during high school, the move to Kent State University as a student paralleled Greenfield’s journey into rap.

After getting local attention with his 2005 EP “Pink Unicorns,” the burgeoning MC released his 2006 debut, “Trapped Under an Ohio Sky.” The indie-minded music press gravitated toward the album, which in turn bumped MC Homeless from a regional act to a full-blown national touring artist. Greenfield never looked back.

“It’s been a lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifice,” Greenfield said. “When I started touring, I’d be losing money, and now it’s become progressively better. I just keep touring, keep myself busy with the music and never stop.”

Greenfield’s sophomore full-length effort, “27,” came out late last year. The album is the product of a friendship he struck up with French producer Zoen. In late 2009, the rapper toured Europe (Czech Republic, Holland and Germany), ending up in France where he recorded his latest effort.

Stylistically speaking, Greenfield paints his music as being influenced by the likes of Rakim, Freestyle Fellowship, Black Flag and ’80s hard core.

“I’d say with my first release, ‘Trapped Under an Ohio Sky,’ I was still developing my style,” Greenfield said. “I had a lot more political raps. The new one, it’s really a personal album to me.

“I was going through a dark point in my life, and I thought that would be the best way to channel my energy and put it down on an album.”

Looking ahead, Greenfield is optimistic the local music scene can continue to grow in his native Youngstown.

In fact, he feels young rappers now are taking a cue from the DIY punk movement by pressing their own releases and booking their own shows.

Speaking of the latter, this rapper is planning his second annual MC Homeless Birthday Celebration – he turns 28 – Saturday at the Lemon Grove.

Considering everyone will be trying to buy him drinks and whatnot at his birthday show, does Greenfield have a special request regarding what not to bring to his special gig?

“A bad attitude,” Greenfield said. “Nothing but positive vibes I’d say is what I want at that show.”

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