Y'all remember American Gladiators? You know, those juiced-up overtanned thyroid cases lunging around, hitting people with pugil sticks, flying down zip lines and shooting tennis-ball guns at hapless contestants? American-flag spandex? God, that was great, wasn't it? While the DMC American Battleground regionals at Chop Suey (Thursday, July 6) might not be quite as gruelingly physical, you're definitely gonna see some local scratch gladiators get their Maximus on; and they'll all have way cooler names than Nitro, Blaze, and Viper—plus better shoes!

You know who's got some good shoe game is those Mash Hall kids. Don't sleep on their Mash Hall Love Family Thicker Than Blood LP if you like that raw ish. Mash Hall are doing a show with Michigan's mighty One Be Lo at Nectar on Saturday, July 8. Dubbed "Massive Meltdown," this is some shit you're gonna wanna see; Mash Hall's belligerent b-boy irreverence, plus the top-tier rhyming of honorary Massive Monkees crew One Be Lo, and the dope stylings of DJ Bles One, are for sure gonna rock that motherfucker right.

That same night, Chop Suey's hosting the CD-release party for the self-titled LP by Choklate. (See Charles Mudede's rave feature elsewhere in these pages for a thorough analysis.) Now I realize that when I was telling y'all about this excellent R&B/soul release recently, I failed to mention my man Bean One was a big contributor, as well, so consider me now corrected. Choklate will be performing along with fellow soulstress Ms. Karter, and big choons will be spun throughout the night by DV One and the Tall Homie Vitamin D. Now what's fuckin' with that?

Oh yeah—can't forget to shout out the CD release for Optimus Rhymes's beautifully titled School the Indie Rockers at Chop Suey Friday, July 7. Clinton Fearon and Big World Breaks will also be rocking.

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I recently had a chance to converse with Seattle's hungry young production squad the Dream Team, and I'll tell you what—they're definitely doing their thing. This past year, they laced a track for up-and-coming NYC MC Rover, who made it his single ("Make It Pop")—his DJ Green Lantern–helmed mix tape, The World Thru My Eyes, shipped off over 3,000 copies. Also, LRG is using their beats for an upcoming skate DVD, so if you see two white dudes all LRG'd to the socks all up in the club, you'll know that's them! Besides that, the fellas have licensed a grip of tracks for VH1's upcoming reality show Ice-T's Rap School, so keep your ears peeled when you're not watching for Paul Wall cameos on Hogan Knows Best, champ. Lastly, the Team is doing some production work for the rap debut of infamous NYC downtown club promoter/tastemaker Oxy Cottontail; from what I heard, that shit is gonna be bananas. There's a lotta other shit in the works for these grinders, so keep your eyes open for the bubbling local talent right under your nose. Can y'all even still feel your nose?

hiphop@thestranger.com

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