Yes, yes, y'all... more good local shit keeps comin'. I'm currently enjoying the new LP from 206 artist Macklemore, entitled The Language of My World. Dude is one of my favorite cats in town with his sharp observations and keen sense of humor. He never takes himself too seriously and is a master at the fine art of self-deprecation. You might even detect a distinct vocal similarity to Atmosphere's Slug—minus the self-loathing and a tad more upbeat—recast as a Seattle-area b-boy. Lean on bullshit, Language is based in reality, but probably won't catch that nebulous tag of "reality rap." "My inspiration was honesty," explains Mack. "I wanted to capture every element of my life regardless of how I'd be perceived. Hiphop—and just music in general—seems to be in a state where artists are afraid of being human... whether it's fear, insecurity, ego, struggles, or happiness, I wanted to put it all out on the line. All of it. From addiction, to penis size, to white privilege, I chose subject matter that I feel people overlook in general." My joint right now, "Claiming the City"(which sports a choice appearance from Abyssinian Creole), is an insightful snapshot of Seattle's quickly changing landscape. It cites racial politics and exponential growth as reasons you might not recognize Seattle in a few short years. Get up on this one, I'm telling you.

How geeked was I to receive Blackalicious's spank-new LP, The Craft, in my mailbox? A good bit. Times like these remind me I'm supposed to be some sorta music journalist... or am I the journal? Anyways, Blackalicious's fifth release (!) is a sparkling addition to their already stellar discography. The whirlwind pyramid lyricism wielded by Gift Of Gab on his 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up album is intact and limber as ever; Chief Xcel's ah-fuck-it-throw-the-kitchen-sink-in-too production ethic is as fonky and fleshed-out as he hinted on the Maroons project from last year. Though maybe not as sonically ambitious as '99's Blazing Arrow—which was pretty fucking ambitious, mind you—The Craft nonetheless swirls with Bride of Funkenstein-type vox, dubby sound effects, and higher-level thought. It's a winner. While we're on the Quannum tip, lemme remind you to check Lyrics Born, Pigeon John (who shines on The Craft's "Side to Side"), RA Scion, and Abyssinian Creole at Chopper City, I mean Chop Suey, come the 19th. Oh, and peep for some major news from RA Scion soon.

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Okay... New Orleans. Words couldn't possibly suffice here—but God bless all y'all out there, and everybody who got people out there. Stay strong. Everybody else, figure out how you can help—since the ones who are supposed to are sluffin'... well, suffice it to say, the tragic repercussions of Hurricane Katrina have exposed the ugly truth. You better believe Kanye was right—and to think y'all put him on the cover of Time, thinking he was safe. Now what! n

hiphop@thestranger.com