Dead Prez's Revolutionary Return, Erykah Badu's Decibel Bow
Oooh, that awkward feeling when the biggest rapper in the world is a reality TV star who dates another reality TV star, and compares himself in his raps to Israel, the head of the CIA, and, uh, G-O-D (kind of a lot). Who might be at this very moment rocking a leather kilt. Y'know, I would love to give you my take on G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer—but you could probably just go back and read what I wrote about Watch the Throne and pretend I'm talking about how much I can't stand Big Sean, too. (Hey, Big Sean fans, some advice: Stay in school, g.) Also, writing about Lord$ Never Worry a couple weeks back kinda fulfilled my quota of halfway-bullshit crew-album reportage.
The revolutionary Dead Prez are hitting Nectar on Wednesday, September 26, along with Project Lionheart and Fatal Lucciauno. It's been a minute since I've heard anything from the duo M-1 and stic.man; I didn't peep their Gangsta Grillz tape from a couple years back, but stic's 2011 motivational "fit-hop" album The Workout proved to be better than what I expected. I've always thought the two brothers were great, economical, and commanding writers, and their first two albums—Let's Get Free and Revolutionary but Gangsta—have seriously stood the test of time (except maybe Jay-Z's less than convincing ride-along on the "Hell Yeah" remix), even though actual commitment and consciousness are out of vogue in this post-skills, high-as-fuck era. The fact is, we need Dead Prez more than ever these days, and perhaps even more cutting and incendiary than they already were. Good news is that their newest album, Information Age, is due to drop in October. "Information Age is how the freedom struggle relates to the spirit," stic explained recently to XXL. "We're dealing with consciousness and all different forms of awakening." So necessary.
The beat-conscious among you are no doubt aware of the Decibel Festival going down this week, bringing some of the world's finest electronic artists to the town. What you may not have noticed is how wide-ranging the fest is this year, with sets from the Erykah Badu–fronted live-improvised beat collective the Cannabinoids at the Paramount on Friday the 28th. (Kind of fucked to have that going up against another Decibel offering at the Croc, with Ariel Pink and Dâm-Funk together!) The Badu is also doing a DJ set as part of the Red Bull Music Academy after-hours at the new Q nightclub on the 29th, also featuring Jason Justice & Atlee Treasure and B. Bravo, whose super synth funk happened to be my favorite slap by far at the last SXSW—get his and Teeko's slamming The Starship Connection EP straightaway. Whew.
For some all-ages, family-friendly joints for your stank kids, though, there's the City of Music Career Day at Seattle Center on Thursday, September 27, (more info and registration to be found at careerday.onereel.org), and 206 Zulu's Back to School Zulu Jam at Washington Hall on the evening of the 28th—free, of course, just like yo' ass... don't forget.