After the joy, the sorrow. The joy was Common Market, the first LP; the sorrow is Black Patch War. Recall the inscription on King Solomon's ring. The king was instructed to read it when in a state of joy or in a state of sadness: "This too shall pass." And so it's not the moods that matter (they come and go) but the art or articulation of those moods. The joy articulated in Common Market is impressive; the sorrow articulated in Black Patch War is even more impressive.

The rapper, RA Scion, and the producer, Sabzi, have created a work that's brought them closer to the region of hiphop greatness. This is no exaggeration. Black Patch War is a big step up for the duo. It contains some of Sabzi's best material, and though RA Scion's words are sometimes lost in the warm and sad sea of music, the force of his concerns is always felt. The global justice movement, fair trade, criticisms of American violence, the state of local hiphop, the state of the 21st-century rapper—all of the issues that were in the first Common Market record are further developed and refined.

The EP's core is made up of three tracks: "Oldham Era," "Watership Down," and "Red Leaves." The beat of the first owes a small debt to the genius of Jay Dee; the third owes a big debt to the numinous funk of Pete Rock; the second and middle track is all Sabzi. The sound of "Watership Down"—the choirlike loop, the high cymbal clap, the freaky runs on the electric piano—might very well be the future sound of Seattle.

Common Market play Fri May 9, Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $7/$8, all ages. With D.Black and Khingz.

Spectacles recommendedrecommendedrecommendedrecommended

Testicles recommendedrecommendedrecommended

Wallet recommendedrecommended

Watch recommended