Metro Weekly

Shamir on the Regular (Review)

Hip hop artist Shamir made the basement of U Street Music Hall into his own kind of party


ShamirFive foot ten, about a buck twenty, Shamir flailed and gyrated to the opening band at U-Hall last week. Twisting through the crowd as if he owned the dance floor, he gave out hugs, took pictures, and kissed fans.

“He’s really come into his own this tour,” said Tara Chacón of Soft Lit, which opened for the up-and-comer. “This is our second time touring with him, and he’s begun to relax a lot.” At only twenty-years-old, Shamir possesses a preternatural talent and confidence that makes one continually question how old he really is.

Shamir had broken his headphones at his last tour stop, Montreal, blaming it on Canada’s lower drinking age. Drinking or not, Shamir still put on one hell of a show in D.C. Packed in the intimate basement of U St Music Hall, you felt almost as though he’s invited you into his own basement, listening as he jams out with his friends. His debut album, Ratchet, has a sound that is as enigmatic as the artist himself. Jumping from disco hip hoppy “Call It Off” to country twang “KC,” Shamir evades definition, mixing disco, hip hop and bubblegum pop lyrics. He played a few songs off his album, including “On the Regular,” and “Make a Scene,” but also offered up covers from artists he appreciates.

The mystery of Shamir is what keeps us coming back. It’s his lack of predictability and passion for the music that draws the crowds. At his core, Shamir is more than just his youth — he’s an artist who doesn’t have a care in the world except for music.

Opening for Shamir were Forever Lesbians, a group of teenagers that boast a distinctly unpolished, but not unenjoyable sound, and the aforementioned Soft Lit, which has a vulnerable and sweet quality to its music.

Shamir’s debut album Ratchet is now available for purchase on iTunes.

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