Fabolous will forever remain a second-tier rapper, and what of it? He’s a true rapper’s rapper: There’s no one in the country better at appropriating someone else’s song for 16 bars and making it his own. And that he is not a star has ceased to surprise—few MCs thrill in the mechanics of the art; even fewer listeners do. But last year’s From Nothin’ to Somethin’—which featured the scientifically engineered hit “Make Me Better,” with Ne-Yo—was a reminder that Fab can be a reliable rainmaker on his own (well, if you don’t count Ne-Yo, Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, T-Pain, and the whole roster of guests he’s carrying along with him, that is). Sometimes hosting the party is as much an art form as the party itself. At 9, Blender Theater at Gramercy, 127 East 23rd Street,, $31 JON CARAMANICA



Feist is undaunted

The Starbucksian chanteuse Leslie Feist—avatar of what one critic dubbed the “Age of Accessible Hotness”—caught an iPod-commercial-fueled backlash last year that did nothing to derail her omnipresence. Since the release of last year’s The Reminder, she’s been photographed by Annie Leibovitz, collected both Juno and Shortlist music prizes, and gone gold (not to mention placing 11th in this publication’s most recent Pazz & Jop critics’ poll). Tonight, a mere $31 will buy Feist fans a spot in the one room in the nation where her detractors won’t follow. Expect adoration. With Hayden. At 7, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 212-485-1534, $31 ZACH BARON



Author Jhumpa Lahiri dazzles again

If anyone was in doubt of Jhumpa Lahiri‘s star power, they aren’t any longer. It’s rare that a book of serious fiction should leap to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list within two weeks of its publication. But that’s just what happened with the Pulitzer Prize winner and Brooklyn-based author’s latest book, Unaccustomed Earth, a wonderful collection of short stories about the Indian-American experience that follows her acclaimed 2003 novel, The Namesake, which was turned into a Mira Nair–directed film last year. Tonight, she’ll be reading and discussing her new book and signing copies at the Strand. (Expect a long line.) And if you can’t make it for that, catch her May 8 at BookCourt (163 Court Street) in Brooklyn. At 7, the Strand, 828 Broadway, 212-473-1452, free ANGELA ASHMAN