Traveling around this country in a big-ass black van makes me miss Seattle, but also makes me think hard about it. On one hand, it's blessed to have money in its corner, and scads of it—some of this country of ours I'm seeing looks beaten to the curb, abandoned, sucked dry. Our city is a vital, shining metropolis in comparison. But on the other hand, it's also well on its way to becoming another soulless corporate whore to the rich and unimaginative, policed by jackbooted, accountability-free servants of outside interests. This is happening everywhere, even within hiphop. Whether it's condos, parking lots, blogs, or rap media, there's a homogenized, regionless one-world-order-ass perspective emerging (via trust-abusing "content providers") that obeys money and has generally agreed-upon rules of conduct. Fuck that! Keep the spirit of this place alive. Stand in the place where you live, chump. As big bro from Shabazz Palaces said: "Do not go to where all these followers are leading you."

Hiphop culture is so mainstream, it's got its own reality-show stars. Look at Joe Budden—11 years ago, thanks to a great mixtape and a hot Just Blaze–laced single, I was hype on this dude ("10 Minutes," off his disastrously sequenced debut LP, will forever have my respect). About a million Beijing spray jobs on his beard line later, I'm off that—now he's in the modern-day Coliseum that is the reality-show reunion special, getting punched in the back of his head by Consequence, hiphop's MVP weed carrier. Welcome to your culture, y'all. Anyway, he's at Neumos on Thursday, May 9.

Support The Stranger

Go see a performance that will make you immensely happy, like Teddy Riley & Blackstreet at Showbox Sodo on Friday, May 10, with DJ Kun Luv. Support this so that Mr. Riley doesn't have to rely on making K-pop to keep his name out there, no dis to any of my friends who are killing it in the Korean pop world (shouts to Cha Cha Malone).

Machine Gun Kelly is probably going to pack out the Neptune on Sunday, May 12. You can be there if you like, and if you do, then smash this 64-ounce Red Bull first, bro! YEAH! EXTREME! What the drilly with that though? That ain't bangin'. In other words, save your shekels for one of rap's greatest groups—the infamous Mobb Deep. I gotta salute Havoc and Prodigy for owning up to the falling-out they had last year; it's real to acknowledge that instead of trying to play it out via PR reps on some Twitter-hack bullshit. All that is behind them in time for their 20th anniversary tour, coming to the Crocodile on Tuesday, May 14—so what better time to properly appreciate the icy chamber of dead-hearted criminal-activity rap that they refined in the best years of the 1990s and beyond. They promise rare album cuts in the mix, too—I hope they're looking at a couple hours stage time. Joining them: the "Blackhearted" CD generalissimo Fatal Lucciauno, and heavily buzzed-about but rarely seen or heard young Seattle MC Porter Ray. I'll be fresh off tour for this one, so kindly buy me a Hennessy, then leave me alone? Jokes, people—I drink Jim Beam. recommended