So old people like myself will probably remember a little known NYC rap crew called Public Enemy and their fourth album, Apocalypse 91... the Enemy Strikes Black, which contained a gem called "By the Time I Get to Arizona." In 1991, Chuck & Co. were clapping back at the Copper State's governor, who controversially reversed the decision to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday—a move supported by your boy Senator John McCain aka Tiger-Cage Cane. Recently, Rethuglican governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona's latest habitual line-step, SB 1070, into law, granting state and local police a broad berth to enforce immigration law—i.e., brown gets clowned once again. (Good work courting the Latino vote, jackasses.) In response, Paul "DJ Spooky" Miller has updated "Arizona" to protest this unconscionable bullshit; you can download his take at www.djspooky.com. I was expecting a full-on new version with references to blowing up Governor Brewer's car and everything, but it's just a remix of the original—"The cliché that 'those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it' still holds sway in our hyper-amnesiac culture," says Spooky. Okay, word—go Los Suns!

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Let's bring our attention back home real quick, though—there's plenty of local product round here whose credentials require your scrutiny. SU student/producer Jack the Ripper recently dropped his LP Don't Look Back, featuring scores of NW talent on his tracks, which range from sophomore soul chops to more techno-laced radio rockers. There's good stuff here showcasing some dope MCs, such as Dyme Def's thoughtful turn on "One Way Road," Cash Clepto's fierce flow on "So Gone," Avatar Young Blaze's molasses menace on "New Ganja," or "Thanks," featuring the killer combo of Khingz, Sol, and Grynch—just to name a few. There's some unabashed pop-tart Auto-Tunery present as well, such as on the Sol, Scribes, and Prometheus Brown–­featuring "Don't Look Back," where the Ripper himself bares his soul on the hook, B.O.B.-style, and on "Callin (I Got It)," the lascivious Spaceman/Mic Phenom club joint you've probably heard live or on Space's Greetings Earthlings tape. There is some tepid rapping to be found, too, and the more-commercial turns on Jack's ambitious debut lack punch—but I wouldn't be mad, or confused, to hear that they were getting spins in the local Clear Channel Biebermix. As a production showcase, it's just solid; you're not quite left with a sense of JTR the beat maestro—even his LP art insinuates that he's still a student of the craft—but that's something earned over time.

Also on my pile is Seatowners Double Hockey Sticks' self-titled debut. DHS are producer Benny Beets and MC HawkinsBird, and they have a Puget Sound–populist, cipher-at-the-party, blunted-bro vibe—a slightly Sublime'd, out-kickin'-it feel that'll be comfy as the basement couch to many local listeners, but for my money feels kind of overstuffed and lumpy lyrically. Their best moments are the most laid-back and least cipher-rattish, such as "Next Girl" or "Seasons Change." Seasons certainly do change, too—about every two hours lately. Gotta love this town—or go crazy. recommended

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