What is this shit? Ice Cube and Snoop playing the Paramount on Wednesday, July 14, aka the day after my birthday? Two total icons of hiphop, decorated pillars of West Coast rap, keeping Califas from sliding into the Pacific's azure, touring together? Meanwhile, where am I gonna be when my all-time favorite rapper—you know, the guy on the cover of the new Wax Poetics, dishing about the making of his game-obliterating solo debut, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, with the almighty Bomb Squad—comes to my town? The land of my childhood: Los Angeles. Ironic much? I guess I'll live—if the Roscoe's and Johnnie's Pastrami don't kill me. Props to the Paramount for looking past the past and booking Cube again—we're a long way from the craziness of his legendary last appearance there in 1992 (incidentally, the year I moved here, give or take a week). I'm sure the most troublesome thing that'll happen this year will be the merch guy forgetting the power cord to his credit-card swiper.
But back up, back up, 'cause it's on—ya boy Neema is having the CD-release show for his long-awaited The Essence at Neumos on Friday, July 9. The album took a while, but I see why—it's totally Neema's best work. While I was never a huge fan of the guy's raps, his grind and personality couldn't help but endear him to me. It's clear that being kinda written off as an artist by local tastemakers over the years took its toll and gave Mr. 30 Thousand Out the Trunk the eye of the tiger to make an undeniable album, and damnit, he did it. Cocky as he wanna be, running some clean double time without relying on it, spilling actual charisma over some slick production—yeah, if you call yourself a fan of Seattle hiphop, you need this one (even though Neema's bum ass is from the Eastside). Hit the show and I'm sure you'll see dude giving his all, so buy him a lemon drop. Also playing are Clockwork, Eighty4 Fly, Billy Patron, and your host Grynch.
I see the Coup are playing Neumos on Saturday, July 10, with Sol, Canary Sing, and DJ Funkscribe. So—there's that. I don't think I've yet mentioned in the column that Sol's Dear Friends, Volume II (available for free download at www .solsays.com) is his strongest work to date, blending his scrappy young-gun "I'ma do me" raps with a slickly produced, radio-ready pop sensibility—all without being fuckin' gross, tempering his mellow stoner tendencies (the lovely "Cruise Control"), or sacrificing his natural earnest charm. His Jack the Ripper–produced "Not the One," for one, deserves to be spinning on sold-out-ass, evil, commercial, cancer-ass Clear Channel radio stations coast to coast. In a good way, though.
Sunday, July 11, 21-and-uppers take note: My dude Kevin Hulett, liquor rep and well-loved good-time guy, is having his b-day party at Moe Bar with Mash Hall, Fatal Lucciauno the fuckin' great, Filejerks, and DJ Gajamagic from Champagne Champagne... there might be some surprises, too. It's free, so spend it on making Kevin's next morning terrible.