This week's column starts with a big rant on the wackness of House of Blues. The national concert promotions company should do a better job of outreach in the hiphop community to understand the important nuances of putting on a hiphop show. When Talib Kweli came to town a few weeks back, they had the Boom Bap Project open the show without a house DJ or a host--which are the foundations for any hiphop-related event because they keep the vibe of the show consistent between acts. While getting a quality opener is a step in the right direction, it's unrealistic to have both an opener and a headliner perform in front of a cold crowd. Hiphop is a participatory art form, not a spectator sport. Also, it feels like HOB is just throwing the local hiphop community crumbs because they're not employing people involved in local hiphop culture. My suggestion to HOB is to invest in the Northwest community rather than treat them like puppets, and to hire people who know and understand the respective market. Just because you listen to KUBE don't make you an expert on the culture, so get a clue and recognize none of your staff has one. Discounting the local hiphop scene caused a House of Blues boycott in Chicago a few years back, and don't think that can't happen in other cites.

On a more positive note, my man Samson S. wasn't playing when he said the best song of the year came from Vitamin D. His track "Pimp of the Year" is definitely the highlight on the new Sport-n-Life compilation, which drops at the end of the month and has too many gems to name right now, so I'll spread them out over the upcoming weeks. I'm really excited to see the release of this album and definitely think it deserves everyone's support when it drops--I mean it's got Narcotik on a track, for goodness sakes! It's hard to just jump out and say this is the best Northwest compilation ever because of my allegiance to growing up on the Tribal Music hiphop classics Do the Math, Untranslated Prescriptions, Word Sound Power, and Classic Elements, but Devon, Emory, and the brilliant and slept-on producer Bean One definitely deserve major praise for releasing this project. I just hope to see this record get some shine outside of the Northwest, where other compilations in the past have not.

Ever since Last Emperor blazed the comic-book tales of "Secret Wars" and laced the grand finale verse on "C.I.A."--outshining KRS-One and Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine--heads have been waiting for an album to drop from the man. Everybody thought he would be the next big emcee from the underground to achieve critical acclaim when he signed to Dre's Aftermath label. Unfortunately, things didn't work out there, and he's been on hiatus ever since. Well, rest assured: He just signed to New York City-based Raptivism Records and this next record should be a great one, as he retains complete creative control and will enlist the production skills of the legendary Prince Paul as well as Ayatollah and the Beatminerz. Raptivism has had a lot of success with its last project, Zion I's Deep Water Slang V2.0, one of the best releases to come out in a long time, and a step above their debut, Mind over Matter.

Hiphop's first porn star, Son Doobie, finally released his first solo album on Battle Axe Records up north in Van City. Since breaking in on the scene with Funkdoobiest and the Soul Assassins crew in the early '90s, he's managed to come through with a few bangers and crank out la leche. Son Doobie is a standout artist from the True School era who does a good job showing his personality throughout on albums like Funk Superhero. The production on Funk is excellent, and be on the lookout for Kemo, who brings heat with a Latin funk sound on that one. With Sazon Diamante, Moka Only, Prevail Wonder of Swollen Members, and Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm making guest appearances, this album is definitely one to check out, especially if you like Son Doobie's hit-or-miss voice. With me, it's a hit, but the real question is, when's his next movie coming out? SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU

REQUIRED LISTENING 1. Vitamin D feat. K-stiell, "Pimp of the Year" (Sport N Life)

2. Son Doobie feat. Sick Jacken, "Blood" (Battle Axe)

3. Redskin & the Blockburners, "Never Seen" (Sport N Life)

4. The Diplomats, "The First" (Roc-a-Fella)

5. Heiruspecs feat. Qwazaar of Typical Cats, "Traction" (Interlock)

6. Mista Ock, "The Coldest Winter" (MadPassion)

7. Mos Def, "Universal Magnetic" (Rawkus)

8. Gang Starr, "Work" (Virgin)

9. Mr. Dibbs feat. DJ T-Rock, "Porntablist" (Rhymesayers)

10. Blueprint, "Time Management" (Weightless)