Royce the Choice—whose trajectory has officially caught up to his stylish boasts—just dropped a very, well, choice five-track tape called Talk Ain't Cheap. Royce's effortless level of cool never betrays the work he's put into achieving it, and he has a way of spooling off lines about obscure colognes and rare game like he just woke up yawning on a pile of foreign currency. This is his best collection of music to date, so now is a perfect time to get into Royce if you haven't yet. Guests on this tape include names I don't know (A8Yes and DSkizz) as well as ones I do (Royce's Skymen cohort GMK, Peta Tosh, and Seattle's illmatic Porter Ray). The Choice can be made on Sunday, August 18, over at Neumos, where he plays with Spac3­man, Cam the Mac, Porter Ray, and Ye'D.

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Spac3man has been promising his Beyond the Stars EP for quite a few minutes now—check his Bandcamp page for two singles, the Justo-produced, Sonny Bonoho–featuring "She Don't Care" and the Marissa-featuring "Procrastination." If you missed it, Cam the Mac released his We$t Shit EP and the Moors stay dropping product, as Steezie Nasa also has had his Moor Militia release out for a sec, and newest member, West Seattle's skater/producer/MC MackNed, has his Ned's World release on Bandcamp. Ned has been busy producing vibey vocal/trap/cloud-laced tracks for his dudes Steezie (he's all over that Militia) and Thaddeus David ("Love Shit" off Thad's upcoming joint), as well as the entire Suicide Capitol release from his partner SneakGuapo. All of the above (sans Space's stuff and Thad's song) are focused on glamorous/dangerous living, drug abuse, and zero-trust/100-percent predation on the entire female half of the planet's population. There's only so much room for truly groundbreaking content within those strict parameters, but none of these releases are without their enjoyable moments. Chief among them are those emotive MackNed beats and the serotonin-low bipolarity found particularly in Guapo's work, full of what he describes well as "pain."

On Monday, August 19, the Crocodile Back Bar hosts Scarub of Living Legends. Rocking with him on these NW dates is Portland's MC/producer Tope—who has been grinding it out in the 503 for more than a minute as part of the groups Living Proof and TxE, and also dolo, 'cause YOLO. His newest release, TROUBLEMAN, is a thoroughly soulful suite of world-weary smooth shit, speaking on love, money, and music in a self-assured style reminiscent of a young but less awkward Evidence. Tope, no punk on the beats, raps with zero haste and a comfy-cozy cushion of chill that's way more smoke and leather interior than beer pong and tank tops. If you're keeping score in the NW, Tope is part of a vanguard of ill young PDX voices like, but not limited to, the ice-cold hustler music of Cassow and the indefatigable righteousness of the veteran Luck-One. Northwest, we all come up together, so salute and support your neighbors for best results. Stay stuck on yourself, and you'll be by yourself when you inevitably land on your face. recommended

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