A blood clot big tune dat.

—Korry Deez, "Ol' Time Killin'"

Big Tunes, the baby of Vitamin D and J. Moore, is now called Red Bull Big Tunes. A head-to-head, track-for-track producer battle, it began in summer '05 and quickly became a must-see, a monthly you could count on to be packed with producers, MCs, DJs, heads, accountants, you name it—doing their damndest to boo, cheer, or straight clown the contestants' best efforts. Loudly. It went from a rowdy local favorite to a type major situation, with star-studded editions in cities from San Francisco to New York (and all featuring the all-stars of 206 tastemaking: Vita, Moore, Jake One, Marcus Lalario, and DJ DV One). This Halley's Comet of heatrocks is swingin back through its ancestral home—Seattle's own War Room—on August 31. In addition to its plethora of producer pyrotechnics, it features a bevy of bangin' live talent on display, namely those bad brothas you know so well—Dyme Def, as well as Sportn' Life's young buck J.Pinder. Attendance is mandatory.

Oh, what's that? Why, yes, that J.Pinder mixtape Backpack Wax is in fact super tight like Bun and Pimp. Back to front, don't front, Wax is an exercise in immaculate, slick bars from Pinder and perfect backdrops from DJ Vitamin D, who (on the mic, behind the turntables, and on the tracks) sounds like he's having more fun than he has in years. Pinder is the star of the show, but his lyrical charm and easy swagger are totally complemented and damn near overshadowed by Vita's handprints; Wax is blessed by that same trademark dusty, soulful, thoughtful touch that is so recognizable from seamless projects like Table Manners and Do the Math. It's damn near a primer on how to make town collaboration sound effortless—don't sleep on the cameos from Macklemore, Grynch, Choklate, Darius Willrich, and Chali 2na. Some of my favorite moments come when JP is joined in the booth by Vitamin and Maineack Tubman, aka Tha Stahi Bros.; when the pimpish trio go in over Kendricks's super-saucy "Intimate Friends," it's classic material. The tape's guaranteed to stay in the deck for a hot sec, and the full-length The Backpack Theory can't come soon enough.

While we're on the subject of backpack, come through Nectar on September 3 and peep the Visionaries' own LMNO (once part of Ice-T's Rhyme Syndicate; who knew?) and Oldominion quadruple-time spitter Sleep. Also on the bill is Seattle's own Abadawn, who recently dropped the Unfamiliar Ceilings EP and a collection of B-sides called Unfamiliar Unreleased. Aba's chosen style is dark, introspective, grim; vocally he falls somewhere between Buck 65 and Cool Calm Pete. If that's you, check it out, live on Nectar's newly extended stage. Which was overdue—how the hell did they get Vast Aire's big ass up there before? recommended