Rainier, Constitution, back down to Lafayette/I been on my grind since '99 and they ain't stop me yet... —A1

One of Seattle's favorite MCs, Devin the Dude, is coming to the Showbox Friday, August 10, with a selection of the town's brightest: Dyme Def, D. Black, and the Parker Brothaz. A name you might not recognize on that bill is I-Gang. Made up of MCs A1 A$E and Ca$h Da Hustla (formerly of North Illadelph), the Intracite Gang reps B-Town, aka Brem City—better known to you as Bremerton, Washington. If you doubt the streets they rep, just peep their anthemic title cut from their upcoming debut album, Welcome to Brem City, for their cheery guided tour: "Home of the navy niggas/parties at Bayview, nigga/come through my city stuntin', niggas'll play you, nigga!" and "Remember '06, we had the highest crime rate." You been warned. The I-Gang also claims membership in the Ghetto Prez—founded Block Teamsters Union, a newly formed coalition of local hiphop figures, and will be releasing their Brem City on his Sea-Sick Records this summer. It's dope NW-bred grind-rap with a distinct East Coast influence—their soul chops remind me, off the top of the head, of the underrated State Property clique. The rough joints I heard on their page and that of their producer Andre show real promise (these dudes do care about lyrics—definitely not your average ones trying to pimp a mic, thank god), and a convincing swag. I'm gonna be checking for these Kitsap County cats, so you'd do well to do the same.

On the other side of things is Talib Kweli, gearing up for the release of his third solo album (fourth if you count the Reflection Eternal LP, and I do), entitled Ear Drum. I know I've gone hard on Talib for a while—damn, he's made some boring-ass music since Train of Thought came out—but Ear Drum seems to indicate he's headed back in the right direction, actually investing emotion into songs that call for more than his usual sloganeering and poetry-slam hyperbole. Good, 'cause I actually want to like dude's music again; god only knows if his old Black Star patna Mos Def will ever recover from his own creative tailspin. Kweli is coming to the Showbox Wednesday, August 15, and opening up is Common Market, whose MC RA Scion has a similarly literate flow as Talib, and is currently working on the follow-up to the hugely popular CM debut with Mass Line Media's "Cornerstone" (get it?) Sabzi.

B-Boys! B-Girls! B-People! You simply can't miss Next-n-Effect 2 going down at the Vera Project Saturday, August 11, presented by ace djblesOne and JessFX (the Brangelina of the b-boy set), aka the New Jack Hustlers. There's a grip of battles, celeb judges, professional b-boy photos by Vivian Hsu, a raffle... there might even be a damn petting zoo. It's cheap (six boodles, five with a Vera card), it's ill, and it's all for the kids, man, the fucking kids!! (Those few who don't love Ice Cube as much as I might think I'm being unnecessarily profane. Those few can suck it.) recommended