First things first: Let's talk a little bit about Avatar Young Blaze's new album, The Iron Curtain. Av's whipped nothing but A-1 yola from the jump, over the course of the seven or so mixtapes and a single LP—but this is a clear step up for him. Iron Curtain's sound is cutting-edge, banging, and grimy (no, really, just peep the murkfest of "UK Grime"), with his bars just about as ruthless and witty as anybody you could name these days. "Good golly, Danny Darko he be getting off/But he rap too gangsta—y'all just hella soft!" Really, though, all gangsta shit aside, Avatar doesn't get enough praise for his seriously impeccable rap writing, just as capable of nuance and dark humor as it is mobbed-out menace. If this sounds like just what you need to get you charged (let's hope not with a crime, though), then I very highly recommend you hit up www.AvatarYoungBlaze.com to go get you that. This is, without a doubt, Seattle's finest street music. Nap time been over.

There's street music, and there's road music: rap from tour-hardened indie MCs trying to make a buck doing what they love. Along those lines is the No Knees Tour, hitting Nectar on August 24, with Tulsi, Jonny October, Type, and my far-away favorite of the bunch, Slow Dance. The Dance is Murder Dice and Rudy—and between the two of them, they channel some demented party vibes and VHS pop-culture kitsch; their IRL hipsterization of the Fremont Troll a couple months back also points to a knack for cheeky self-promo.

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On August 25, Nectar hosts the latest edition of Hip Hop Kitchen. What is a Hip Hop Kitchen, you ask? To some, it's a fridge containing a half loaf of bread and some SpaghettiOs, but in truth it's been an invite-only dinner affair with a lively selection of Seattle hiphop figures, spearheaded by MC/singer Dice. Tonight's Steppin' Out Edition at Nectar features Dice, Stahi Bros, Xperience, Willie Joe, Nu Era, the one and only Vitamin D on the decks, and is hosted by Luck-One. By the time you have read this, Luck, incidentally, will have dropped his boldly named King of the Northwest mixtape. This is the other release I'm going to tell you NW hiphop fans to get in your life immediately—because Luck, already clearly way talented judging from his album True Theory, got even better, with a much-needed dose of swing and looseness. One listen in, I can say he's clearly shitting all over this tape. (Kudos must also be given for the great appearances from Fatal Lucciauno on here.) Hit up www.LuckOneConscious.com, duke.

Come August 29, if you're looking for some live shit, your choices are kind of, well—at Studio Seven you've got Kansas City's acerbic Mac Lethal (along with Sadistik, Sarx, JV the Kidd, T11, and Gab Q), and over at Nectar you'll find MC Frontalot (with Random, aka MegaRan and Klopfenpop). Looking at these shows, it seems like there's gonna be a few people who will actually be torn on which one to hit. I wish them the best on their journey. recommended

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