Ay, it's like a ritual

Join Nancy Wilson and the Seattle Symphony on July 9 for an evening of rock'n'roll streamed live from Benaroya Hall!

You been invited, let the mortal body

stimulate the place

With the grace, nevertheless, I stress

Let the music put a smile on your face

As for the ritual, when it comes to spiritual


You know I always leave you with the taste...

—Slum Village, "Thelonious"

RIP to Baatin—RAISE IT UP! My heart goes out to his friends and family, and to Detroit, one of the most creative spots on the hiphop map, period, not to mention one of the hardest hit by our economic downturn. In recent times, the D has lost some of its brightest, most beloved figures. The loss of yet another founding member of Slum Village (RIP, Dilla) hits hard to anybody who loves this music, as "the S" is one of the best, most innovative groups to emerge in the last 15-odd years. Baatin's spiritually minded mantras, for me, often took those earlier Slum songs to a lofty, underexplored plane (just as his dirtier raps helped SV wallow in a wonderfully prurient one).

He will be missed. Especially as Rock the Bells—going down at Showbox at the Market on Friday, August 14—was going to feature a reunion Slum Village performance; I'm sure Elzhi and T3 will hold it down for their comrade. RTB's lineup does not want for big-time talent, either: Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek (motherfucking Reflection Eternal) have reunited for the tour, not to mention Slaughterhouse (the hellfire-spitting supercrew of Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Royce Da 5'9"), Raekwon, Supernatural, Pete Rock, and recent Vancouver arrival Khingz.

Support The Stranger

I'm no region-hater, but you know damn well since the South assumed the top shotta breadwinner position, there's been no shortage of bullshit rap from the Dirty stutter-snaring your ears from every friendly radio station. Of course there's some decent-to-good shit coming out, too, between the usual big names (Wayne when he actually raps, Rawse when I can suspend disbelief, Bun B always), underground heroes like Huntsville, Alabama's G-Side, and underappreciated guys on the nationwide scene like Trae, Z-Ro, Killer Mike, and Atlanta's Gorilla Zoe. What I always liked about Zoe was his voice—a deep, molasses-over-gravel drawl. Interestingly enough, his new album, Don't Feed Da Animals, is reportedly Auto-Tuned the fuck out—didn't he get Jay-Z's (obvious, didactic, pandering-ass) memo? This doesn't really bode well, but even still, the Wayne-assisted lead single "Lost" is syrup-addictive—an aching, losing-oneself fame fable with that kind of old-soul emotional depth that is the domain of Southern MCs at their best. Oh, I can hear you now: "Aw, this motherfucker wastin' ink on Gorilla Zoe, what about my album?" Well, your album sucks, and I said all that to say this: Zoe is hitting the King Cat Theater (which should do more rap shows) on Thursday, August 13, with Logics, Dyme Def's Brainstorm, and Jay Barz.

While I'm pluggin local talent, allow me to direct you to www.sotaboys.com, where you can DL that new Shapeshifters mixtape from the SOTA (State of the Artist) boys, a promising trio of young MCs with good taste in beats and vibes. Free downloads are always recession proof. recommended

All Aboard: Sound Transit celebrates Pride Month
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