Offtop: Thursday, May 22, up at Chop Suey, you got a "Pre-Sasquatch Party" with Continental Soldiers. TREND ALERT: "Pre-" parties for events like Sasquatch! or SXSW, headlined by acts that aren't playing or even slightly involved with said event—that's sorta like a pre–Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction party headlined by Slipknot. Last time I saw the Continentals, I was most struck—not literally, thank god—by their giant, ornate, curved chain-link mic-stand sculpture that must've weighed at least 60 pounds. Do you have a tech for that? Does it get a seat belt in the van? Per diem? Also, yeah, they weren't good—but rest easy, as they've apparently added a live band. Come Friday, May 23, though, you'll find MIA-SEA MC JaWaan LaRue, Donte Peace, and Yirim Seck taking the Rendezvous stage, doing their Black Aries thing.

Tech N9ne and company are doing two nights over at Showbox Sodo on May 23–24, if that's what twists your bleached goatee. Not only will you find Tech and his Strange-mates, you will find one of street rap's choicest voices, the prolific Freddie Gibbs, who, with producer Madlib, made one of the year's best albums, Piñata.

Barring that, you can go for three sunbaked days and bestupored nights at the Gorge for Sasquatch! (May 23–25), where big things are most assuredly a-gwan. On Friday: OutKast. (The last time I saw them was at the Gorge, Aquemini era, and I was on toooo many mushrooms. They did an amazing show, for being a barely coherent blur of color.) Also that day: Chance the Rapper, Raz Simone, Sam Lachow, Gifted Gab, and the Physics. Saturday has M.I.A., Ryan Hemsworth, and Tyler, the Creator. Sunday has Fly Moon Royalty and the Flavr Blue, not to mention this Kid Cudi guy, but honestly, fuck Kid Cudi—in the space of a single interview on Arsenio not long ago, he made me sorry for ever changing my tune on him in the first place. (There are certainly more folks playing Sasquatch!, but they do not fall under my purview.)

I can't recall ever saying anything nice about Hoodie Allen (scheduled to pick up his check at the Crocodile on Tuesday, May 27), so I won't start now, except to say that he's going places. It's tempting to follow this with a quip (one I've probably used before) about all of rap going places as well—exciting, culture-rich places like the landfill, the toilet, the rat-infested shit-sprayed sewers—but I'll spare you all that because I don't quite believe it.

There's always new, crazily talented young acts coming up, ignorant of the rules, and there's always old heads (real and imagined) to feel insecure in the face of it, to hate on it. To spread salt on anything that doesn't cohere to your own tastes and principles. Especially without giving it a critical listen—and ESPECIALLY if it's making noise/money, particularly more than you happen to be. This is important. That's not basic-bitch-ass jealousy, good god no.

Also on May 27, be aware that Vegas's Dizzy Wright hits Studio Seven with his thoughtful raps—something like J.Cole but lighter on the ZzzQuil bars. Don't sleep. recommended