Anybody who knows prolific teacher/poet/singer/MC Rajnii Eddins knows what an upstanding, conscientious, and positive soul he is. So why did the SPD frisk him, cuff him, and stuff him in the back of a cruiser last week? For the same reason that SPD beat on DV One—because he was trying to find out why they were arresting a child, in this case, a classmate of one of Eddins's drama students. Police claim that he ignored requests to back up; Rajnii says otherwise. I personally believe anybody with a lick of sense is gonna follow an order from police, seeing as how failure to do so, as we all know, can swiftly get you fucked up... so I've got my doubts on the "official" version. That said, Rajnii was charged with that old po-po chestnut: "obstruction." At his hearing last week, he pleaded not guilty in front of a courtroom reportedly packed with supporters. Much love to Rajnii and his family in this struggle. His pretrial date is set for May 29, so be sure and show out if you can. As the man himself says, "We as a community will determine the depth of this movement leading toward policy change." (While we're on the subject, DV One's trial is postponed, likely till May. Stay tuned, true believers.)

Peace to slimy promoters—I keep getting word about a cat named Javier, who promotes as "The MFJ." After a Chicharones/ Ricky Pharoe show at Neumo's a couple weeks back, dude allegedly bounced without paying any of the acts! Bad look, homey. Karma is very real.

I have yet another favorite album of 2007, and it ain't even a album. I'm talking about the new Royce Da 5'9" mix tape, The Bar Exam, hosted by DJ Premier (mixed by the very underrated Statik Selektah), and boy lemme tell you, after a day straight bumping it I'm as happy as a pig in shit. The King of Detroit—fresh out of jail from his DUI arrest—goes harder than ever before, absolutely slaying a string of originals and classic beats ("Nas Is Like," "A Million & One Questions," "We Gonna Make It") with his signature, complex, multi-rhyme flow. The Bar Exam proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that dude's a contender for the illest out, up there with Lil' Wayne or whoever the hell else you got. But Royce has been scary-good for years now—and yes, I've been an unabashed fanboy the whole time. Maybe this tape signals that he'll finally deliver an album that properly reflects his consummate skill—and hopefully that's the long-promised LP Street Hop, executive produced by DJ Premier. I'm pulling for Primo to just say fuck it and do Gangstarr 2.0 with 5'9"... yo it could happen! Having penned the number-one single "Tell Me" for Diddy and Christina Aguilera, his name is ringing bells all over again, and there's a lot of talk of Nas signing him to his new Def Jam imprint, The Jones Experience. Whatever, get the album out!

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Last, but not least, a huge RIP to Kurt Vonnegut. Now go read a book! recommended

hiphop@thestranger.com