Janae Jones

Okay: RIP to all of the Tucson shooting victims, peace to Representative Giffords and all the other survivors, and middle finger to Officer Ian Birk, currently defending his lightning-fast shooting of a deaf guy trying to carve a piece of wood. When he eventually gets off, what then? Trending topics? Righteous rap songs? Rants like this one?

Okay, okay, for now let's handle the small stuff... like what to do come Thursday, January 20; there is a ton of awesome shit going on this evening, but I'll just limit it to things rap-related for the sake of my rap column here. Let me get the usual conflict of interest out of the way real quick. Mash Hall are screening House Party, as in the movie, at Central Cinema; after that is a hype new-jack-swing party with djblesOne on the wheels, a '90s dance/gear contest with free red Kool-Aid, courtesy the clean-living folks of Poor Life Choices (and, yes, even a performance from Mash Hall themselves). The same night, Neumos is sporting a clean and classic lineup with Freeway and Jake One delivering their heavy one-two combo of deep-tissue slaps and nimble nunchacku flow. The Physics set it off in all of their jazzy, homespun glory—and say a little prayer (there might be an app for that) that they let their backup vocalists Malice & Mario Sweet do their single "Speed of Light," aka "the best song in the world right now." (Seriously, go find it now online.) No less a selector than the great Vitamin D will be manning the vibe via turntable as well. Meanwhile, last but far out of earshot of least—Champagne Champagne submit their triumphant return from the road (having headed out with Mad Rad) that night at High Dive. Not to mention that it's the CD release for Onry Ozzborn's latest (and I'd say greatest) album, Hold On for Dear Life, as well, which also features the PDX's triple threat Sapient, plus Mr. Hill (currently readying his album Smirk) on the ones and twos, and Candidt as host.

On Wednesday, January 26, hit up Neumos and check the debut performance of Shaprece, whom you might've seen/heard with Gran Rapids, Fresh Espresso, and State of the Artist. She's doing her thing as part of "I'm Coming Out," a Cafe Society event also featuring the most excellent Fly Moon Royalty (formerly Sugar Water Purple) and DJ Action Jackson. All I got to say is check for Shaprece's "Lift," produced by Gran Rapids' Jay Battle; that is some vintage neo-soul with a modern twist. I'm loving this new crop of female talent in the mix, man, and so should you if you know what's good for you. Add to the list of what's bueno: the new, free online release from OC Notes and Rik Rude (the sparkling grease-drops of their all-improv Dope Fiend Jazz), M.I.A.'s Vicki Leekx mixtape (fuck a blogger backlash), and Ghostface's Apollo Kids (which is the best GFK since The Pretty Toney). See? Still hope. recommended