Memo to those who are driving musical acts across Amerika's highways and byways: keep your fuckin' eyes on the road. In the last year plus we've seen a lot of rap cats on tour getting in accidents--on September 6, a van shuttling Twista in Pennsylvania crashed into the median and rolled over several times--killing his friend and bodyguard Arthur Dixon and seriously injuring another passenger. Condolences go out to Mr. Dixon's family. The other passenger is in stable condition; Twista was reportedly treated and released with minor injuries. Not a week later, Lloyd Banks' bus skidded off the road in West Virginia--nearly rolling off the hill it came to rest upon; thankfully, no one was injured. Yeesh.

In lighter news, recently Cali's Crown City Rockers (formerly Mission) dropped an LP called Earthtones. I wasn't a big fan of their stuff before but they're really getting their formula together on this; MC Rahsaan sounds good, but never overpowers the mellow, vibey live instrumentation. With appearances from Gift of Gab and Scarub from Living Legends, you know this is some uplifting, Sunday morning-type, Left Coast-ish sound, heavy on the sunshine and arguably hippie. Whatever the case, I dig it.

On the local hiphop tip, DJ Scene is keeping up his tradition of consistently beating us in the head with banging mixtapes--the latest, titled BumRush, is a real must-cop. Among those appearing on it is Bad Luk, who recently dropped a mixtape of his own on Stuck Records, Street Rotations. His surly, drunken everyman M.O. and hilarious punch lines have made him a local battle favorite, and after peeping this excellent disc I see his songcraft isn't slouching, either--which can't be said for many of the battle MCs out there. Also, I've been hearing some of the stuff the BlockBurners massive have been doing as of late and have to say it's sounding good--and plenty gully, doggie. Lut and Show are particularly standout MCs, but the whole crew shines over hot production from newjacks TrackHeads. A formal BlockBurners LP is in the works, I'll keep ya posted. I also received a CD from a cat by the name of RA Scion--his LP Live & Learn is quality, conscious hiphop; dude's delivery is on-point, while his content is mature and noticeably slim on the bullshit. The production is clean and knocking, featuring a couple beats from Sabzi of the Blue Scholars.

Oh, and before I forget--those fine folks at Scion are doing it real big again at Chop Suey September 28 with the legendary Mark the 45 King and DJ Revolution killin' it on the wheels alongside Scene and m'man B-Mello. You know the drill--free with online RSVP, check www.scion.com/metro.

That said, I have but one simple request--that y'all holler at me and let me know what you'd like to hear about here; no promises, but at the very least, I can figure out who's reading this crap every week.

hiphop@thestarnger.com

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