With Cut Chemist, every beat, scratch, juggle, and sample is hand-tailored, with an ever-present nod and wink to the classic hiphop mix tapes that circulated around Southern California in the mid-'80s. Many know Chemist as a member of both the underground West Coast rap-hero group Jurassic 5 and the Latin-funk band Ozomatli. He got his start with the Unity Committee and gained some notoriety with the B-side of their 1993 single "Unified Rebelution" before that act merged with another crew, Rebels of Rhythm, to form Jurassic 5.

In 1998, Cut Chemist debuted his first solo record, Live at the Future Primitive Sound Session, with Shortkut from the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. The only way to describe that album is off the fucking hook! There are so many outstanding beats, breaks, and samples cut up and smartly executed, but the record never strays from old-school roots. Though Cut Chemist's production skills have been highly influential to modern hiphop, he stays clear of studio trickery and emphasizes what can still be done live on two decks and a mixer.

Just when you thought he couldn't take it up another notch, Cut Chemist toured with DJ Shadow in 2000 and 2001, releasing Brainfreeze Mix and the Product Placement LP (only available for the tour). Chemist and Shadow were a crate-digger's wet dream, showing off just how deep into the recesses of dusty vinyl their love goes in order to bring you the most obscure funk/soul manipulations. There are plenty of obsessive vinyl collectors out there, but only a handful are actually in touch with the outside world enough to know what the hell to do with their finds, and these mixes are testament to that.

In order to help bring some festive cheer--and to maybe show us a thing or two on the wheels of steel--Cut Chemist will be lending a hand at the holiday party for the Ace Hotel, Rudy's Barbershop, and Neverstop Productions. NICOLAE WHITE

Cut Chemist, Tues Dec 10 at Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm-2 am, 21+. Very limited quantity of tickets available. Check out www.chopsuey.com for info.nicolae@thestranger.com

Support The Stranger