The other day, I was at a friend's house, and we somehow started listening to the new Rick Ross song "I Wonder Why"—I wonder why? It wasn't nothing but his usual fire-and-brimstone money-church service, but dead in the middle of that: "Now I'm being followed by some creepy-ass cracker/Stand your ground, stand your ground/Stand your ground, you gotta stand your ground." I guess I was supposed to say, Yeah, Rick Ross, you speak that motherfuckin' truth to power. But truth be told, it left me cold. It felt more like the latest exploitation of Trayvon Martin, capped off with an explicit endorsement of the law that let his shooter off, not to mention an audio clip of Rachel Jeantel repeating the "cracker" line for Zimmerman's defense. Hey Officer Ricky, you crazy for this one—or at least an oblivious tool, hardly new. Some people would say I'm overthinking it—I love that one—or that I'm Hating™. Some of you would say that's probably because I'm not getting money (sad emoji); some of you can go to hell. Just a spare thought I thought I'd spare.

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Anyway, what the impending hell, people? It's August already, in this year of our Lord Are We Ever Fucked. It's like literally next week already. It's literally fall. It's literally next year, and I'm literally, actually dead. It feels like by the time you read this, Bradley Manning will be just 1/136th of the way through his life sentence, and Edward Snowden's hood pass to Russia will have expired, and he'll already be busy getting not-tortured back in the Land of the Free. Speaking of Russia, did you see Avatar Darko's video for "Kalashnikov Pt. 2," filmed entirely out there? It's pretty sweet—but I think the only Russian I know, I got from reading Colossus in '80s Uncanny X-Men comics. Bozshe moi! I actually learned all my life lessons from Marvel comics back then, which is why I know well that with great power comes great responsibility (and shitty reboots).

KnowMads, Raz Simone, Sam Lachow, and La (with hosts Spaceman and DJ Beeba) all play Neumos on Thursday, August 8, so you can see what's buzzing over there if you want. This will hopefully be a successful venture, with tank-topped "Young Seattle" turning up and rapping along. KnowMads—the only NW rap crew distinguished by an owl logo (that aren't named "Oldominion")—are people's champions, professional purveyors of posi-perseverance rap. Their trademarks are warm production and introspective lyrics that would resonate with any twentysomething in the Northwest, that is to say, any generally kicked-back weed smoker. KnowMads' Tom Pepe and producer Jesse Judd (you might know him as Jester already) dropped their own album LiveGood recently, honing well enough their crew's reflective backpack style. Check Tom and Jesse's "Kings Change" for a glimpse of La, an MC who habitually stands out the way you're supposed to, with flow and voice hitting on all cylinders. If you missed it, find his awesome one-take video for "Frank Hirata" off of his underappreciated Ocean Howell tape. Kick your feet 'til then, good luck out there. recommended