Welp, folks, City Arts Fest is back for its second year, and the hiphop is all the way up in there just like last year's historic Paramount show. First, on Thursday, October 20, you've got Mad Rad over at Neumos, with Katie Kate—it's the CD release for Flatland—and Slow Dance. (Hopefully, security doesn't take time out of their busy schedule to jump MR for laughs like they tried to do to Mash Hall during Block Party—no hard feelings, but how exactly the fuck do you mistake us for Mad Rad, short of a detached retina?)
Quick non-rap history lesson for you basement-dwellers: Factory Records was the legendary indie label based in Manchester, home to such influential acts as Joy Division, New Order, and my personal favorite, A Certain Ratio. It all sprung from, and was named after, a popular underground club night; that kind of reminds me of the MO (har-har) of local label Members Only. With Factory: NW Hiphop Redesigned, MO is throwing a one-night-only showcase of epic proportions at Fred Wildlife Refuge, a very ill and well-appointed arts space tucked away in the wilds of Capitol Hill. (Google is your friend.) Factory mixes and matches heads such as Fatal Lucciauno, Luck-One, Hollis, Scribes, Notion, and Lace Cadence with members of Metal Chocolates, Blue Sky Black Death, Malice & Mario Sweet, the Heartfelts, BAYB, and Grand Rapids. Not to mention producers like BeanOne, Mr.Hill, and Vitamin D. I know, I'm probably leaving 20 people out, but give me a break, kay? The 17-or-so "supergroups" that were pulled from a hat (hopefully not Pomz's greasy, Parmesan-smelling, likely overpriced hat) present the ripe and fragrant fruits of their labor—an original composition (from each)—on Friday, October 21, at 11:00 pm.
If, that is, you're not still down at the Triple Door basking in the glow you caught from Shabazz Palaces (fresh off a triumphant European jaunt), Metal Chocolates, and my guy DJ Riz just a few hours earlier. I'm telling you, it's a busy night—make that "weekend." The next evening, Ozomatli play Showbox Sodo with Theoretics and Dyno Jamz. And Blackalicious, Freestyle Fellowship, Hi-Life Soundsystem, and Don't Talk to the Cops! all rock the Showbox at the Market. It being a conflict of interest, I'll keep it brief, but: Blackalicious are longtime Seattle faves (they even released a live album taped at the Showbox, remember?) who haven't been here in a long time. The mighty Freestyle Fellowship—Aceyalone, P.E.A.C.E., Myka 9, and Self Jupiter—are no less than the godfathers of what is generally understood as the LA underground, from the Good Life to Project Blowed, whose deep catalog and pioneering vocal style have left an indelible impression on the art of hiphop forevermore. I really shouldn't have to explain that to anyone in this town's scene, where among a certain generation there is an almost cultish (and well-deserved, mind you) devotion to the Fellowship and their vast network of associated acts. If you haven't seen This Is the Life, I highly recommend it; if you haven't heard Innercity Griots, I highly recommend you get a fuckin' clue.