I hear a lot of lip service, now I wanna see more faces! If local hiphop is in fact the most exciting thing musically happening in town, you're gonna wanna be at Chop Suey Sunday, January 14, for the third edition of Make It or Break It, where scrappy up-and-comers and lames alike have an opportunity to let their nuts hang. This time the evening features Scribes, Propa Godz, Biomecca, Locke, Notion, Muridian, and Avatar—who's already cut his teeth on the battle circuit around here, as well as dropping several street releases like the nails-hard Point Blank. All these acts will be judged on their music and stage presence, and will be vying for a chance to rock on some of Obese Productions' upcoming bills.

I got some upcoming bills myself, so help a brotha out and come check out a couple of Cancer Rising shows—first on Friday, January 12, at the Comet (that's right, the Comet) with the Nite Owls (Oldominion's Barfly, Mr.Hill, and myself) and Illegitimate Children member/Redwood suds slinger Murder Dice. Also, don't miss CR with Odyssey Deep at Fremont's Nectar on Sunday, January 14. New Year's resolution number one: more shameless self-promotion! Fuck that modesty, kid.

Seattle Young People's Project's annual MLK Day HipHop Show is going down on Saturday, January 13, with two of Seattle's best, Macklemore and Damien Black of the formidable Sportn' Life Records; also appearing is celebrated beat box Audio Poet, Scribes, and 1220. This show, also brought to you by the temporarily displaced (till late February) Vera is going down at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle (4408 Delridge Way SW, to be exact). Throw your dub in the air!

Nectar is hosting the hiphop on Wednesday, January 17—with Estrella, La Rue, and Grynch. Estrella formed in '04 in Bellingham, and these now-Seattle reps (MCs Taybot and Praxis, plus DJ Swervewon) ply their trade with positivity, passion, and political insights. They dropped their Good Mixtape in '05 and have been on the grind around town ever since.

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I know I've been hard on your man Talib Kweli before—partly cuz he's made a lot of shitty music ever since he and Hi-Tek put out one of my favorite 12-inches ever, "Fortified Live/2000 Seasons." But I can't be mad at his grind these days—having started up the BlackSmith label with his manager Corey Smyth, Talib went and signed Jean Grae, the (now Xzibit-less) Strong Arm Steady gang, and has expressed interest in signing Rakim and MF Doom. Now he's dropped a new EP-length mix tape, Liberation—entirely and very well produced by none other than Madlib. This strikes me as a move in the right direction for Talib. I've liked the chemistry of the two 'Libs since Kweli's cameo on Jaylib's "Raw Shit," in particular because the uh, rawness of the Bad Kid's beats brought out the best in him; it's a dirty, dusty, sample-based rap record and it's better than a million "Get By" knockoffs. Best part? The shit is FREE on the internets—go to Talib's MySpace and cop that.

hiphop@thestranger.com