Why? at Lincoln Hall

This spring, when teenage rapper and buzz magnet Kitty Pryde threatened to infiltrate every think piece about white female MCs, I couldn’t help but think of another MC with outre leanings: Yoni Wolf, front man and driving force behind Oakland-via-Cincinnati indie-rap act Why?

I could hear Wolf’s unusual vocal style—a monotone drawl that sounds like it’s coming from the back of his sinuses—in Pryde’s lackadaisical flow. Pryde is an outspoken fan of Why?, having covered the band’s “Good Friday” (retitled “Hood Friday“) and called Wolf “my biggest influence and the love of my life.”

Pryde is hardly alone in her adoration for Why? and Wolf; the slightly unshaven front man was greeted by gleeful shrieks from a sold-out crowd at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night. Not that it’s weird for people to cheer for the band they paid to see, even at first sight, before the first note—but I’m still surprised to see that kind of devotion directed at a guy whose new album opens with lyrics about mumps and enlarged genitalia. Why? played that song (“Jonathan’s Hope“) and some others from the forthcoming Mumps, Etc. (Anticon/City Slang), but by and large the set seemed designed to underline the versatility of the group’s six-piece live lineup, not to focus on any one album.