Hi there—if you found me here, you likely remember that yes I do "still write the column in The Stranger," so thanks for that, because most of my friends don't. (Not mad—it's easy to forget that anyone's been doing the same thing for so long.) That in mind, I'll do us both a favor and skip my usual ripped-from-last-week's-headlines bullshit.

Keepers of the faith will want to know that Living Legends stalwarts the Grouch & Eligh are coming to Neumos on Thursday, February 27, with Swollen Members' Madchild, Pigeon John, plus DJs Fresh (whose work I know from his collab album with the Jacka) and Abilities (who we all know from his work with the late great Eyedea).

A more contemporary California indie-rap champ, Dom Kennedy, is bringing his Get Home Safely Tour over to the Showbox at the Market on Sunday, March 2, with Angeleno growler Skeme riding shotgun. Kennedy's humanist superfly-everyguy rap and steady stream of releases have made him a verifiable underground star, and—as seems to be the best way these days—all without the assist of a label, be it major, minor, or in-between. God bless the rapper that got his own.

Speaking of, the So You Think You Can Rap battle over at Nectar that same night has been canceled. Condolences to its would-be participants, who presumably all do think they can rap, and hopefully—and this is key—other people agree. What I really wanna know is, do any of you think you can, say, manage? Do effective PR? Book tours, perhaps? 'Cause really, those are just a few crucial spots where we as a whole are seriously lacking here in the great Pacific Northwest—honestly, there are enough fucking rappers at this point. (I can offend a baker's dozen of 'em on Facebook by the time I finish this column.) Just imagine if there were as many folks in those positions as skilled in their lanes as we have skilled rappers in town today, maximizing their moves. Then we might really be working with something.

Now onto what we are working with, that quality you might've missed: first, the discerning NW rhyme hustler AD, who dropped the immaculate Intelligent Design last fall. ADiesel's always-pro-level writing is matched by Sean John sweat-smooth R&B hooks and samples (from Erykah to Bobby Brown) with a potent guest list in Big K.R.I.T., Nipsey Hussle, Devin the Dude, and Nacho Picasso, just for starters. Then, there's Fearce Vill's long-awaited solo album Let It Be—a chunky audio photo album entirely produced by the yung-soul OG BeanOne of course, and accompanied by one of the best promo items ever, the fine "Fearce OG" marijuana strain. It's been seven years since Dyme Def's Space Music, and Fearce the hungry young gun has grown into a clear-eyed father and son. His hard-fought self-sufficiency shines through as he speaks smartly on the scars that mapped his path to here, aided by sharp turns from guests Romaro Franceswa and Prometheus Brown. You can find both albums on iTunes—you can find yourself, too, but that's on you. recommended