Cast your minds backward in time to recall last week's column, wherein I mentioned how fuckin' dope Avatar Young Blaze's The Iron Curtain is. I'm now here to tell you that you can see Avenue Avatar live onstage, opening up for no less than the Snowman himself, Young Jeezy, at the Showbox at the Market on Friday, September 2. All the dope boys, feel free to go crazy. But there's a fundamental flaw with the idea—probably best evangelized in Jeezy's Thug Motivation series—of upward movement (purely financial) through self-destruction (selling crack to your own stressed-out, marginalized people). Nonetheless, it sounds great played loud as hell (see his recent The Real Is Back mixtape), and it's always fun to reimagine the hook to his "Ballin" as a much-needed dis to the only phylum of folks thirstier than rappers: You think you ballin' 'cause you got a blog!

If you haven't got enough blockbuster-Top-40-coke-pop-rap in your veins by then, you can skate (or just pretend to skate) down to the White River Amphitheatre on Sunday, September 4, to see Lil Wayne and Rick Ross (not to mention Keri Hilson, Far East Movement, and Lloyd). Between all that star power in town, there should be at least 16 "official" afterparties from here to Tacoma. Choose wisely and stay thirsty, my friends!

That's not even mentioning the fact that it's Bumbershoot time again, and there's a ton of great hiphop—fuck, just great music—to catch. (Check the Bumbershoot guide in this issue.) A good deal of you are too young to know Hall & Oates—who am I kidding, those kids aren't fucking reading newspapers, they're browsing the swaggerclones on 2DopeBoyz to see what kind of varsity jacket they should buy on Karmaloop. In that case, I recommend you go fuck with somebody more contemporary at the festival, that being the newest and loudest voice of Compton, no not The (fucking) Game, rather the dude Kendrick Lamar. Now I thought homie had some joints, but also some duds—and was maybe not quite the savant that people were making him out to be over the last year and a half. (I have a similar take on his currently much-jocked crew Black Hippy, but the Jay Rock album might be helping to change my opinion on that—more on that later, maybe.) With his latest tape, Section 80, though, I can't front at all. Breaking away from the swag pack, Lamar really made a collection of songs that's uncommonly soulful and timeless—I hope his newish association with Dr. Dre can produce something to match it. His is a wise- intelligent worldview and a coiled cobra flow that not only mesmerizes with its easy spaciousness but strikes with an impressive double-quick venom when agitated. If comparisons of Lamar to Nas haven't been made by now (I imagine there've been more than a few), then allow me: His skill is only matched by his project-window eagle eye. He, better than most, does as the greats do, as soul music instructs, as Section 80's sampled narrator commands: Show your pain. recommended