As you know, we lost some legends recently. RIP Isaac Hayes. I will forever honor the one and only Black Moses. His music, his presence, and his swag were a huge influence on me, as well as all of black music. Never Can Say Goodbye. RIP Bernie Mac. He was absolutely one of the finest and most truthful comedians to come down the pike in the last couple of decades. He will be missed. And as Mac said it, I live by it— I ain't scared of you motherfuckas.

But you motherfuckers of the half-ass variety should be scared of Die Already, the debut LP by the Gigantics ("Onry Ozzborn's five-man production team," ahem). Die Already's ambitious thematic conceit is the pairing of local MCs with some of the brightest stars of the national independent hiphop scene. No, really. Aesop Rock, Murs, Swollen Members, P.O.S., Mr.Lif, Eligh, Awol One, Vursatyl, Pigeon John, and Qwel are just a few of the cats rhyming alongside damn near the entire Oldominion collective, not to mention Vitamin D, Silent Lambs Project, Cool Nutz, Macklemore, Cancer Rising, plus Sapient, Gold, Iame of Sandpeople. The Gigantics' production runs a bloody mess of styles—bruising, buzzing synth washes; crusty vinyl leavings; bizarre vocal snatches. MC-wise, not a soul phones it in, making it all the better when the homegrowners shine next to stiff-ass comp. As a matter of fact, Die Already—likely a future indie-hop cult classic—is the single best yardstick I've yet heard of what local talent has to offer the national sphere. So, you should cop you one—try the Die Already CD release party on August 21 at King Cobra. In addition to Onry and the Gigantics, you get Cancer Rising, Step Cousins, Sonny Bonoho, Candidt, Rudy and the Rhetoric, comedian Brian Neufang, and DJ Maze Live.

Another local release: Tomorrow Handles That, the debut LP from the Let Go, who consist of Type, Kublakai, and sole producer Captain Midnite. Their CD release is at Nectar on August 27, with Louis Logic, Animal Farm, DJ 100 Proof, and the Kid Espi. Handles That's premise is simply the healing power of time, and Type and Koob give their everything with raps both heartful and tongue-in-cheek. Midnite's pitched-up soul, while lacking on the low end, suits the best moments perfectly—the baby-come-back plea "Standing Back," the Josh Martinez–assisted "No I Didn't," the hopeful "Searching for Sun." Unfortunately, comedy-rappish layovers ("Like a Western," "Booty Fiend," "Party Crashers"), beat-to-paste imagery from the local lexicon (coffee, depression, rain, sunshine), and an inconsistent vision all serve to derail the overall quality train of thought. Both MCs have done more inspired work separately, so while Handles That is a definite solid effort, it could and should have been a breakthrough and elevation for all concerned; of course, the Let Go's very point is perseverance in the face of adversity—so they ain't goin' nowhere yet. recommended