If I recall correctly, my first show as a 21-year-old was at Neumos—well, it was at Moe's to be exact—Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, and the Beat Junkies. Great show, and I only saw one other person wearing the same Black Star shirt I was wearing. Damn near 15 years later—yikes—this very same lineup is coming to the Showbox at the Market on Wednesday, July 9. It's also presented by KUBE, which is pretty funny considering how much airplay they've given those artists (Sunday Night Sound Session being the well-known exception, of course). And yes, this show is also 21+... I mean, how many 15-year-olds are trying to see J5 who aren't related to any of them? (Which reminds me, big ups to Snubnose Frankenstein from the ATL collective Two-9, whose dad is actually J5's Akil.)
The all-ages program for those heads would be up the road in Belltown—as Ryan Caraveo plays the Crocodile's Back Bar the same night. Slightly brotastic but not egregiously so, Caraveo puts words together in a fashion that sounds confident and cool—his cut "Schlager," for a song titled after a frat-ass liquor, is pretty fun. (Don't start touring with Mike Stud or Chris Webby, though. Go the other way if at all possible. Think Mac Miller, just without the opiate addiction. Or don't listen to what I say.)
Masta Ace—the only rapper who was actually on "The Symphony" that people younger than me still fuck with—is coming to the Crocodile on Thursday, July 10, solo dolo and with his crew eMC, which also includes turn-of-the-millennium hopes-of-the-underground Lyricist Lounge stalwarts Punchline and Wordsworth. This show's high point, besides some good rapping, has to be when Ace pulls out the classic Sittin' on Chrome hitter "Born to Roll," whose video you should watch right now.
That same night, wild boy Avatar Darko performs at Neumos, celebrating the release of his long-awaited Soviet Goonion 3—a real return to form of the smacked-out smirk-faced hard-spitting Av we know so well, maybe even his best music to date. So yeah, he's still the most consistent. I really do hate the chart-topping onslaught of terrible white rappers we're currently enduring, but never get Av confused with any of that—fuck the bullshit ("I buck the fullshit" as he says) and hyperbole, his shit can stand up to anybody's. Like I been saying, he's really ready for that national move. If and when that happens, it'll be something to see. The all-ages lineup that night also includes a bunch of other guys with impressive recent releases: my guy UGLYFRANK from ILLFIGHTYOU (the Bobby Hill EP), Key Nyata (Cosmic Dad), and Mackned (Aquarian God Form), plus your host Nacho Picasso.
On Friday, July 11, go take in a rap show at the Rendezvous (or Barboza Jr. as they seem to be now), where local Hella Maze is headlining. A contemporary of members of the Physics, Champagne Champagne, and Macklemore, Maze has been on the scene on the low for years now with a DIY Mac Dre vibe. End transmission.