R.I.P. Big Hawk. I hate starting off like this, but damn if somebody don't get killed every other week. Hiphop's most recent loss is Hawk, a member of Houston's Screwed Up Click and a beloved figure in the H-Town rap scene. Remember when you could count the number of slain rappers on one hand? What the fuck is going on? Except, you know, the same old shit?

Experience music on the meadow! Final ZooTunes lineup announced!

If you're up on the NYC mix-tape scene, doubtless you've heard of rotund rapper Gravy. While headed into the Hot 97 building to do an interview with Funkmaster Flex, Gravy got shot once in the ass; undeterred, the BK MC did his whole interview before being rushed to the hospital. Hmm. Did anybody see Treach (of Naughty by Nature) do the same shit on The Sopranos a couple weeks ago? Now wouldn't you rather hear Treach rap than you ever would Gravy? Yeah, me too.

You might see 206er J-Mar Da Sik around town hawking his new CD, Go Get It. While rough, the disc has its moments, such as the title track. The unpolished production sometimes recalls the melodrama of Eminem's boardwork; J-Mar's unflinching gangsta spit surely needs more honing, but sometimes his flow can surprise you with its forcefulness. Also, dRED-i is back with a new EP, Code dRED; this sophomore outing improves on the production values and lyrics of their first joint, Revolutionary Crunk Muzik, with MCs Moorpheus and Han Solo setting it on police, "backpackers, and black crackers," over West Coast production handled mostly by Roc'phella. On "Real Pioneers," Unsigned Hype winner Moorpheus cuts loose, letting the doubters (and even Sir Mix-A-Lot) have it. I also received a three-song sampler from the young Sportn' Life Entertainment crew Dyme Def that perked my ears up off the bat with their distinctive, charismatic flows and crispy production. After the first listen, I bumped their cut "Nothing Is Impossible" until it pissed my girlfriend off, ya dig?

The Living Legends' Eligh and Luckyiam.PSC will be doing their left-coast thang at Chop Suey Saturday, May 13, in what will be an early show, also featuring One Block Radius, Writers Block of the Visionaries, and Pickster One. Later that evening you can catch Digital Underground, along with Velvet Jonz, Sonny Bonoho, and Damian Black. Hard to believe that DU's classic Sex Packets came out 15 years ago... damn, I feel old. Well, my old ass will be hosting a show fulla youngsters at Chop Suey on Sunday, May 14... Obese's second Make It Or Break It show is going down, people, featuring upstarts Tulsi, Mash Hall, LifeCycle, Kublakai, Estrella, Damian Black, Anthony Sheers, and Page One. Come through and check out what is sure to be a fun night of local shit.

Lastly, bugged Beantown rep Edan, who put out one of my favorite rap albums last year (Beauty and the Beat), will be at Chop Wednesday, May 17, opening for Prefuse 73, in whom I still can't muster a single iota of interest... is that so wrong?