Rap's preeminent storyteller and one of the form's most classic voices, Slick Rick the Ruler, hits Neumos on Wednesday, May 20—go run Rick's discography and find flaw, crumbs. MC Rrrrricky D will have fine, energetic support in the form of Jarv Dee, Gifted Gab, and Kung Foo Grip—all three of whom are making some of their best stuff right now. Come Thursday, May 21, local MC 3rdegree (also of the Nightcappers) celebrates the release of his album Fast Forward at the Croc; Black Magic Noize, Bryce Bowden & Prospect, Imprints, and Filthy Fingers United all play as well. Fast Forward is a serving of inoffensive but wholly unremarkable local underground rap that sounds exactly like it could've come out a decade ago.
Northwest Folklife is this weekend. I'm scheduled to be DJing at it and also appearing on a panel about the history of Northwest hiphop—the cultural focus of this year's festival is on "Beats, Rhymes, and Rhythms." News came down this week that the Moor Gang show that was going to be part of Folklife is now canceled. Mind you, this show had been booked and promoted for weeks. Curious. This year's festival will still feature plenty of quality hiphop that could be considered "family friendly"—Draze, Sista Hailstorm & Julie C, and FFU, for instance. Meanwhile, you can satisfy your hunger for the beats, rhymes, and rhythms of the Moors—including their breakout star, one of Seattle's most popular rappers, Nacho Picasso—by going to their Rhino Room show on Sunday, May 24, with DJs Rocryte and Vega. It was going to be the after-party. Now it's just the party.
I keep coming back to one of the most telling quotes about rap from the last few years: When Earl Sweatshirt's estranged father (South African poet and activist Keorapetse Kgositsile) admitted that he didn't like listening to most rap because all he heard was "young people saying they're hurt." Maybe if somebody had actually stuck around and listened, the tune would be a little more to their liking. Either way, that cancellation is a shame, what with both Nacho and Jarv having released well-received projects recently—Nacho and Ultra 88's The Witchtape and Jarv's Satellites, Swishers & Spaceships. It would've been an epic show for a bunch of young fans who weren't able to go to Sasquatch! to see Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Run the Jewels (not to mention Porter Ray and Sam Lachow and THEESatisfaction). Just the thing that could've brought new energy to the festival. But you know, Seattle gon' Seattle. Anyway—see you there!