I got word that Keith Murray is hitting the Northgate Theater this Friday, June 13--let's hope the show doesn't flop like Raekwon's did. Murray, one-third of the Def Squad crew and leader of the Legion of Doom (L.O.D.), finally got out of the slammer and has a new album out called He's Keith Murray--with the popular singles "Yeah Yeah U Know It" and "Candi Bar" that've been getting major club and radio burn. While it's apparent that nothing will ever touch the debut he dropped in the mid-'90s, The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World, he's still skilled with the punch lines. I have no idea how he'll come off live--more than likely he'll bring the same raw energy that comes across in his videos. I'm definitely going to try and swing by to check out what the "most beautifullest vocabulist" has in store, but I can't front--back in the day, when I heard him spit out all the two-dollar dictionary words, I thought he was so intelligent, but going back and listening to the same early records as an adult, I realized he really wasn't saying a damn thing, he just sounded really good saying it.
A crew called Heiruspecs is coming out of the gate from Minneapolis. Currently on tour promoting their new record, Small Steps, they made a name for themselves when they accompanied Slug from the group Atmosphere at a Minneapolis show, which was later released as the widely popular Sad Clown Bad Dub 3 CD that Atmosphere sold on tour only. Their new album features Slug of Atmosphere and Qwazaar of the Typical Cats, and they'll be performing with other Northwest hiphop-influenced bands the Subdwellers and Quivah at the Vera Project this Saturday, June 14. Cancer Rising and Gone will round out the bill in what should be a very interesting show.
The Grey Area, Onry Ozzborn's new release on the Portland-based record label BSI, finally hits stores this Tuesday, June 17, and it features Luckyiam.PSC from the Living Legends (who will be performing at the Vera Project next Thursday, June 19 with Murs and Brother Ali) and Qwel and Qwazaar from the Typical Cats, along with the usual family members from the Oldominion crew. The more I listen to this album, the more I realize that quite frankly it's the best record he's ever put out. Ozzborn really comes off as a lyrical force to be reckoned with, and while I don't entirely understand what he's saying all the time, he sure as hell sounds great saying it. Mr. Hill, the album's producer, should make a name for himself with the success of this project, as he takes a huge leap forward and joins the elite ranks of talented Northwest producers like Vitamin, Jake, Bean, and others.
The DMC Regional Turntable Championships are going down this Wednesday at Chop Suey, and the real question is, will DJ Ace enter? It's pretty much his for the taking if he does, as he is well regarded by turntablists across the country as one of the best scratch nerds in the business: He won both Battle of Bumbershoot titles, has performed with the likes of D-Styles, and represents the Spinnovators crew. That said, one shouldn't overlook the emergence of other hungry DJs like Tre, Jonnie 4ourskin, Waystylez, Dyce, and the like, who definitely feel like they have something to prove.
The winner of this battle will again be flown out to the national finals in New York City to compete against winners from 12 other regions across the country. They're allowing DJs to compete in more than one region, so expect DJs who aren't shy about marking their territory--like last year when a brittle and whining DJ Dini from California lost to Scene. Should be an interesting precursor to this year's Battle of Bumbershoot, no doubt. SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU
REQUIRED LISTENING 1. De La Soul, "Ego Trippin' (Part 2)" (Tommy Boy)
2. Lifesavas, "Fever" (Quannum)
3. King Geedorah feat. MF Doom, "Fazers" (Ninja Tune)
4. MF Doom, "Nastradoomus" (Ninja Tune)
5. Common feat. Dug Infinite & No I.D., "1, 2 Many" (Relativity)
6. Skillz, "Off the Wall" (Rawkus)
7. Oddjobs, "The Shopkeeper's Wife" (Third Earth)
8. Freddie Foxxx, "Scram" (BBE)
9. Keith Murray, "Get Lifted" (Jive)