This week's column is brought to you amid the American Horror Story: the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray, who somehow had his voice box crushed and 80 percent of his spine severed while in the back of a police van. See also: the off-duty officer found not guilty of shooting and killing Chicago woman Rekia Boyd while she walked to the store with friends—because, after all, they were apparently making too much noise. You know black folks! Always asking to get murdered by making too much noise, or by sagging their pants—which mentally ill Baton Rouge man Ervin Edwards was arrested for, before he was literally tased to death in his cell. (This was in 2013, but the video has finally surfaced, putting doubts on the numerous lies local police told in their account.) Ticktock.
Smoke about it for now. The long-awaited third installment of Curren$y's Pilot Talk series more than does justice to his premier strain—an invigorating hybrid of jazzy, stylish cool with an understatedly triumphant braggadocio. Since gracefully falling out from both the No Limit and Cash Money empires in the 2000s, the self-made Jet Life kingpin has amassed an impressive DIY empire and rabid following, not to mention a mostly flawless and deep catalog of aspirational stoner rap. Spitta's coming to the Neptune on Thursday, April 30, with Corner Boy P, Archie Bellz, Mr. Hi-Def, and Keezy.
Friday, May 1, I'm hosting the Folklife pre-party at the Crocodile with Gabriel Teodros, Porter Ray, and avant jazz Stranger Geniuses Industrial Revelation. And in that room the next evening, you'll find Buck 65 and Astronautalis. Owuor Arunga, the "Sultan of Swag," brings his trumpet and a cast of friends including Kore Ionz, Otieno Terry, Black Stax, and Malice & Mario Sweet to Neumos on Sunday, May 3.
Today's a new day: The Diplomats (that's Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Freekey Zekey) have reunited for the sake of freedom, love, and hiphop—and will be bringing Harlem to the Showbox on Monday, May 4. All signs point to this being an ecstatic rap-along—I really mean it.
And even though Governor Jay Inslee just majorly overhauled medical marijuana in our state, you can keep chiefing with a couple new must-have homegrown releases. Stay High Brothas dropped the fantastic new High on Wax—with OGs Vitamin D and Maineak B blending high-powered game and humor over the straight turntable-based production. Vitamin remains the Town's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, our champion in a few different leagues. Also, my guy Jarv Dee dropped his three-years-in-the-making sophomore album, Satellites, Swishers & Spaceships—a dark, militant day trip through the mind of a SeaTown original. Among the hook- and message-heavy LP's highlights is the Moor Gang posse cut you've been waiting for: "Meet Me at the Bank," featuring Nacho Picasso, Kris Kasanova, Thaddeus David, Cam the Mac, and Gifted Gab. Both albums can be acquired on Bandcamp. Your freedom is possibly worth more than "pay what you want."