July has been quite kind to the hiphop community when it comes to shows. For starters, Scion is still putting on that sly little monthly they've quietly been throwing at Chop Suey; you know, bringing in luminaries like Peanut Butter Wolf, Premier, and Jazzy Jay for free (but now by online RSVP--check www.scion.com/ metro). On the 20th, world-class DJs Craze and A-Trak came through, and as usual, my guys DJ B-Mello and DJ Scene set it off; so, pray tell, who's next up? You've gotta check the Scion site to find out.

The Infamous Mobb Deep will be blessing the Premier on Thursday, July 22, along with frequent collaborator Alchemist, who produced their best club single to date, "Twisted" (who knew Thomas Dolby could sound so gangsta?). Al, of course, first broke into the industry as part of the Whooliganz, that sorta-down-with-Cypress Hill group that strangely also included the son of James Caan (that's Sonny Corleone, homie). These days, he's known for consistently making bangers for the M-O-B-B and others. It's nice to see those guys getting their shit straight again; they kinda lost a lot of steam after Jay-Z gave it to Prodigy, and I always liked their bleak, dead-inside Queensbridge nihilism--it's fun!

All that said, the show I'm most excited about this month is happening at the Showbox on Saturday, July 24, as Houston's one and only Devin the Dude takes the stage. If you're not up on Devin, rush right out and get his eponymous debut album, released on Rap-A-Lot Records. The combination of his hilarious, smoked-out narratives on life, love, and bowel movements (with some fantastically funky production) makes for classic material. His 2002 follow-up, Just Tryin' to Live--which came out hot off the heels of his classic appearance on Dr. Dre's 2001, an album featuring Dre's production and appearances from Xzibit, Nas, and Raphael Siddiq--was tight, if a little uneven, and very much slept on. The Dude has a new album called To Tha X-Treme, which I'll be copping very soon. Opening up this show is the 206's own Byrdie, whose dope sophomore LP, NFlight, dropped this past spring--don't sleep! If ya didn't know, Byrdie is definitely holding the NW down properly, so go cop that one.

Rounding out July, on the 30th you've got the NW-weed-loving B-Legit up at Everett's Club Broadway. As part of E-40's Vallejo, CA crew, the Click, and someone who's synonymous with those extra-long blunts, the man will undoubtedly be serving up his potent strain of Yay Area Mobb music (a specific sound, not to be confused with the aforementioned Mobb Deep or Goodie Mob--stay with me here). At Neumo's on the 31st, we have Portland's finest, the muthafuckin' Lifesavas--who, for some reason, were dissed by the interim hiphop columnist at this paper. Let it be known, if you didn't already, that these guys are the highest-profile hiphop group from the NW for a reason. Peace.

hiphop@thestranger.com

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