So, conventional wisdom holds that things get worse before they get any better. So far, we're on track. When Emperor Bush II's reign finally comes to an end this week, it won't be the end to the ills that assail us from the topmost down to street level. But its symbolic impact—a booster shot to the self-esteem and immune system of the entirety of this great nation—couldn't be more important. The import of this ain't lost on your friendly neighborhood hiphop scene either; we're looking at at least two Obama inauguration parties this week. To miss either would in fact be to let the terrorists—whatever form they may take—win.

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On January 17, Chop Suey brings us a Grynch-hosted, freedom-loving extravaganza featuring Cancer Rising and Fresh Ave (the combo of ace freestyler Know Choice, champ fader-flicker DJ Rise, and Grynch's evil bastard twin Akrish)—all headlined by L.A.'s very much up-and-coming duo Inverse (with a live band). Seattle heads, I promise you—you love Inverse, and you don't even know it yet. I kinda feel like they're lost cousins of Seattle hiphop; their soulful head-to-the-sky perseverance rap sounds to me like it could be straight out of the 206. Hell, our own DJ Hyphen, he of the awesome Audacity of Dope blog and of course KUBE's Sunday Night Sound Session, is their former DJ (and, like them, a Pitzer College alum). Of course, their sound benefits from the sunshine lacking in our own diets up here (we instead have to get our Vitamin D from the Pharmacy), giving their vibe a top-down breeziness that's hard to cultivate anywhere but Cali. Inverse just released their So True EP, which you can download for free online! Hit their MySpace page (/inversehiphop) and get in the know, bro.

On January 20, those traversing the pavement in front of the High Dive might notice the mellifluous tones of Common Marketeer RA Scion, as he's performing at another glorious Obama-rama along with electro-jazz group Vunt Foom (featuring MCs Distortion and I Adjust), and Tac-Town's 10th & Commerce, who've also got a free EP up on their 'Space page (/10thandcommerce). Speaking of the Scion, did you by chance peep the video Tobacco and Snow Covered Roads, the "Roxanne's Revenge"-esque answer record to the Blue Scholars' Coffee and Snow video? Both joints were written and recorded—then lensed by Zia "soon-to-be-more-famous-than-my-brother" Mohajerjasbi—during the Great Blizzard of '08. What the hell did you manage to get done while the snow choked the town? Anyway, both are dope, but the answer record is doubly interesting simply for showing RA's comical side. Recently, when I approached his coke-white stretch limo to ask him about the aforementioned show, he blurted out with a knowing grin, "Until I can cop a whip for less than 20 percent interest, it's fuck Obama all damn day!" Then, with but a word to his driver, he sped off into the night. recommended