Springtime in Seattle, baby—that magical time of year when you set your clock ahead an hour, the fuckin' flowers bloom and whatnot, and Seattle starts having some goofy-ass weather. Yes, meteorological schizophrenia abounds; so before you go out to kick it in that gorgeous sun, make sure you throw on the winter parka, it's freezing outside. Also, bring the umbrella for later, just in case. And maybe keep the snow chains ready. The hell?

Anyway, good time as any to soak up some new live music. March 22 at Nectar, one of Seattle's favorite poet/artist/educators Laura "Piece" Kelley Jahn is rocking, kicking her Street Smartz and much more, backed by a 10-piece band called the Queen's Ransom—catch her with Digital Vintage, the Knox Family, and Thee Satisfaction. The Knox Family are an Alpha P splinter cell consisting of MCs Jerm and Julie C with DJ B-Girl; their music is in a classic West Coast (specifically Bay Area) street/activist vein. Ever the multitasker, Jerm has also been part of one of my favorite duos in town for a minute, Helladope, a part of the Cloud Nice collective. Cloud Nice's Tay Sean and Mowglii also collaborate with another new fave duo, Thee Satisfaction, on their Tay Sean–produced space heater "Cosmic Voyage."

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March 25 at Nectar, catch the CD-release party for RIP: Re-Inventing Poetics, the debut album from EVT-er and fellow comics lover Ripynt, pronounced "repent" (Rip even has a song called "Rippin' It" dedicated to all those, like myself, who mispronounce his name on the regular). Poetics is a solid debut, with no shortage of passionate rhyming and topical diversity but while his fundamentals are in order, Rip's stiff rhyme style and overreliance on Slap Chop double-time raps show an MC that still needs more seasoning. My man says it himself: "I got a polished style, it just ain't polished perfect," but moments like the stomping album opener "Take It to the Top" let me know that Ripynt knows how to play to his strengths. One of which is his live show, and rocking with Rip on the 25th is one of his avowed influences, Oldominion senior partner Sleep—as well as Wizdom, DJ Swervewon, and your host Neema.

So my dude Karim, aka Nightclubber Lang of the big bad Boom Bap Project, just sent me the first album from the label he's heading up out in his native San Francisco (Myx Music Label), Keelay & Zaire's Ridin High. A blissful throwback, West Coast–minded bicoastal collabo between two talented MC/producers—SF-based Keelay and Virginian Zaire—Ridin' is clearly made for just that: its big grooves, soulful hooks, and laid-back spit make for some refined dashboard dope (no Saran Wrap, snow bunnies). Guest shots from cats like Blu, Cali Agents, Tunji, Phonte, Tash, Saafir, and many more make for a tape with heavy playability, playa. Throw a few bucks in the tank (and on the dank) and put it to the test—and if you got the number, holler at me, too. recommended