Talib Kweli is coming back to the Showbox this Sunday after hitting us with a dope show a few months back. This performance sort of came out of nowhere, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it--even the more than likely (but hopefully absent) CD player filling the time gaps between Boom Bap Project and Kweli's set.... House of Blues definitely did it right booking the next best (if not better) VA replacement for the Clipse in Skillz at the 50 Cent show next week (May 12-13)--although Skillz is suffering from the Gang Starr disease of having his album pushed back more times than Lil' Kim went down on B.I.G. Speaking of Gang Starr, The Ownerz album release date got pushed back yet again, from this week to June 23. I guess we're going to have to keep on waiting, so expect a new Gang Starr joint in my top 10 every week until the album finally drops. Primo can do no wrong.

The heads at Lyricist Lounge didn't completely forget the Northwest on their new compilation highlighting West Coast artists, Lyricist Lounge: West Coast, as Jake One and Smoke of Oldominion each have a track on the new album. The white van music man (Jake One) produced the song "Super Educated Pt. 2" with Arcee and Encore, while Smoke's music was blessed by Luckyiam.PSC of the Living Legends. Speaking of PSC, he'll be touring with fellow crewmate Murs and Brother Ali of the Rhymesayers, hitting Seattle June 19 at the Vera Project on the My Way and the Highway Tour. And speaking of the Murs and Ali, both have managed to start new beefs with their comments recently: Murs on a song off the compilation A League of Their Own, and Ali in an interview off hiphopsite.com. Murs called out Common on the track "They Still Call Me MURS," ridiculing the Chicago native's attempt to re-create the Hendrix Experience. Meanwhile, in a more deserved dis, Brother Ali clowned a certain redheaded pretentious rapper from Maine who thinks he's too good for hiphop now that outsiders have embraced him and inevitably abandoned him. Some of you reading this may like sole and think he's dope. That's cool--keep reading, we agree to disagree, and have fun rocking your Birkenstocks and sipping lattes at Cafe Solstice.

Tuesday, May 6, will mark the return of the b-boy from Beantown as Def Juxie Mr. Lif comes through to rock a phat set at the Norman CD release party at Chop Suey. I've mentioned already that you definitely should not go without purchasing Norman's new record, Polarity, as it's one of the best conceptual albums to come out in the past few years. Besides winning over the crowd opening for the Streets, the Norman duo of Onry Ozzborn and Barfly has been hitting up a big chunk of the U.S. with Mr. Lif to support their CD, which features this week's number one on my required listening chart. Also performing will be Sleep, who recently came off a tour with Josh Martinez and Bishop I, and JFK, along with an opening set from Portland's Quivah. Up-and-coming newjack and Garfield Bulldog DJ Kitman will be the night's selector on the wheels of steel. Speaking of Oldominion, big ups to them for getting on the Frank 151 mix tape entitled That Grown Man Volume 2, which you'll more than likely be hearing at your local chairlift or skateboarding shop.

I want to close this column with a public service announcement. To all the artists, bookers, managers, DJs, promoters, journalists, etc.: Please read this and understand I write this with utmost sincerity when I say I am not your publicist. So please don't view me as such when seeing me at the club, the latest show, or even via e-mail. It's not my responsibility to talk about what you eat for breakfast or how many home runs you hit in little league. Nor is it my duty to create a Pollyanna viewpoint about you and whatever it is you think needs a plug. I could like your music, think you're a great performer, enjoy going to shows at your club night, have a beer with you, watch the Tyson fight, dance with your girl, share personal problems, or even be your friend--but that said, I do not intend on reporting anything but the truth, despite our relationship (or in some cases lack thereof), and I'll do my best to never hold anything back. So don't take it personal, I poke fun at myself all the time, and what makes you think anybody else would be above that? The moral of this column is to think for yourself, because I'm not trying to think for you. If you have a problem, hit me up on the e-mail; I don't want to discourage you from continuing to do your thing, just let me do mine. SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU


REQUIRED LISTENING 1. Norman, "Weastwick United F. C." (Under the Needle)

2. A Lighter Shade of Brown, "Viva Zapata" (Polygram)

3. Ghostface Killah, "I Love You" (White)

4. Kanye West, "I Came Back for You" (White)

5. Supastition, "Built Like That" (Lost Colony)

6. Kid Frost, "No Sunshine" (Virgin)

7. J-Live, "How Real It Is" (Coup d'Etat)

8. Non-Phixion, "Caught Between Two Worlds" (Uncle Howie)

9. Gang Starr feat. M.O.P. & Fat Joe, "Who Got Gunz" (Virgin)

10. Freddie Foxx, "Pain" (BBE)