Another Artifakt Art Show is going down at the awesomely cozy Lo_Fi on Friday, June 13, and, among other things, it's the CD release for Tacoma crew Life Cycle, who are dropping their debut album, City of Rust. City is a mellow affair that's got a jazzy, late-'90s indie sound down pat. DJ Hanibal provides turntable support to the trade-offs of MCs Joshua Jay and Burn One's sober, hand-to-mouth everyman observances. The first thing that came to mind when I checked City of Rust: Philly's Mountain Brothers (the underrated crew CHOPS was in before he was making beats for Young Jeezy and Bun B). Sure, the MCs can use a little more seasoning, and the production perhaps a little more variety, but Life Cycle have a good thing going with their distinctive sound-bed and ground-level perspective. If you're looking for some brand-new local hiphop, City of Rust is a great place to start. Hit up their MySpace (www.myspace.com/lifecycle465) and hear what I'm talking about.

Noise for the Needy is going hard this year—this time to benefit Seattle nonprofit Urban Rest Stop. A good four days of shows is highlighted by an all-ages bill at Showbox at the Market on Sunday, June 15, featuring the world's number-one most mispronounced rapper, Talib Kweli. If you're not hip, Kweli is currently cookin' up the conscious-rap Best of Both Worlds—the album Party Robot by Idle Warship, a group consisting of Talib, Canadian rapper/singer Graph Nobel(?) and slept-on R&B singer Res. This kind of has my curiosity piqued, but then again they've already done a song with nerdcore icon MC Chris, so I dunno. Talib is also currently enjoying his "MCEO" status of his label Blacksmith, and actually appears to be putting out Jean Grae's revamped collabo LP with 9th Wonder, Jeanius. (Didn't she retire?) Her video for "Love Thirst" is a sexed-up traipse through Taxi Driver in which she doesn't really once rap. Still—not mad. Opening up is a dope bill in its own right—Common Market (fresh off the release of Black Patch War), Grayskul (fresh off a huge crowd at Rhymesayers' Soundset festival in Minneapolis), and Gabriel Teodros (just plain fresh).

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If you want a prefunk for all that, and you're of an open-minded bent, go slide into the Comet at 5:00 p.m. for Punk Rock Matinee featuring Champagne Champagne. "The Pain" make some sweet music together, an arty, ass-shaking house-party-friendly cocktail of MC Pearl Dragon and DJ Gajamagic (formerly of a li'l band called the Blood Brothers) that makes all the hipster ladies dance. This is a very fine line to walk, as you know, but Champagne do it right for my money, with a basis in real skill; Pearl is a deeply talented MC, and has been since his days in the Prophetics waay back. Their MySpace has a new jam, "Cali Bud," that features Jewel B from NYC's Fader-favorites Yo Majesty—I've been bumping it all morning. All rainy, gray-ass morning. Sigh.

hiphop@thestranger.com