Get down. Put your hands up. No, these ain't the funk music or hiphop-show exhortations you know, these contradictory instructions were the last things Che Taylor heard before Seattle police killed him. Chief Kathleen O'Toole's SPD moved extra quick to make sure that everyone knew he was a felon, thus even less deserving of breath than Black people are usually thought by them to be. There's so much more to say about this, and so many more names to remember, and I'm so sorry, but I'm as tired as you are.
I pray his family gets the answers they deserve. I pray for the safety of all the least protected of us—from those institutionalized and robbed of rights, to Black women, to my Muslim brothers and sisters, to my LGBTQ and particularly my transgender folks fighting for basic needs, to the swelling numbers of people without a roof of their own, to those living with a disability, to the intersections of all these.
Wednesday, March 2: New York's Riot Boi Le1f hits up the Crocodile—his beats often bang, his performances reputedly go hard, but his actual recorded rapping still rings dilettantish and off, a throwback to the hipster hangovers of what ol' Eric Grandy used to call "gallery rap" (think Spank Rock, think Amanda Blank, and then think happier thoughts). The best moment on his latest belongs to a couple of fellow NYC fixtures, Junglepussy and House of LaDosha, who decisively make Boi's "Swirl" their own.
That same night, Long Beach's extraordinary Vince Staples—responsible for one of 2015's best rap tapes, the transcendent Summertime '06—bounds through the Neptune Theatre with South Sider Romaro Franceswa (whose underdog-champ LP Balance from last year still holds up), as great a pure rappin' ass rap show as you're gonna catch that night. No really, 'cause the only other rap show that night is the abysmal Mike Stud (Neumos)—who's really the white rapper you should hate the most.
Thursday, March 3: Shabazz Palaces click up with labelmates Helio Sequence and Hardly Art's Gazebos at the Tractor. Meanwhile, slow-burner journaler Porter Ray plays out his "Glass Dreams" with Ca$htro, Bruce Leroy, JusMoni, and Nate Jack over at the Crocodile Back Bar.
Friday, March 4: Pusha T has had cornrows since like 9/11, and for the last few years, the unenviable task of trying to make po-faced, punch-line-heavy coke rap sound impressive without trap beats or Auto-Tune- dependent singin', two of our holiest holies. As a soloist, King Push lacks an essential element of wit and fun that made Clipse one of the more enjoyable rap groups of the last two decades—it's all sneer, no smirk. Having some of the Neptunes' most ambitious production helped too, I guess—I wish there was a comparable vision. He plays the Showbox with Lil Bibby and G Herbo.
Saturday, March 5: GoldLink and Sango at Neumos could easily be the most fun show this week. Sango's favela-informed funk is nimble and infectious, endlessly listenable unadorned but also pure MC candy, by far one of this city's most exciting exports. While lucky dog GoldLink takes to such up-tempo genre-blind shit as a duck does to water.
This should go, you should do the same. Just get home safe with your heart intact, 'cause the world needs it.