Also on the bill is the heart of California's underground scene and Project Blowidian Aceyalone. Aceyalone is definitely making heads take note with his new project, Love & Hate (Decon), a record that features half its production work by Def Jukie/one-half of Soul Position, RJD2, with several of Aceyalone's crewmates from PB guesting, a combination of skilled artists that could finally put Acey over the hump.
Rounding out the bill is the freestyle fanatic and reigning Blaze Battle champion (since there hasn't been one since he won it), Eyedea, who unfortunately won't be coming out with his life-partner DJ Abilities but instead will be holding the fort down solo. Eyedea & Abilities are almost finished with their next album, E&A, which should show a side of the duo that many were eagerly anticipating--but maybe didn't quite have their expectations met--in First Born. The new sound for the next E&A record is said to be a major step up from First Born and even the criminally slept-on solo album Eyedea, released under the moniker Oliver Hart. This show is definitely a can't-miss, as the caliber of performance to be expected from all three acts is worth the price of admission for just one alone.
With his recent signing to Roc-A-Fella records, Chicago's quickest tongue, Twista, will be hitting up what will more than likely be the last show that ever goes down at Northgate Theater, a rumor recently confirmed by the venue's management. It's been a real disappointment that the venue didn't become a success--it's a very dope place with a sketchy location in North Seattle. This will more than likely be a good finale, though, as the expected turnout should be strong thanks to Unexpected Arrival, who has definitely gone about bringing all the Eastside cronies to his shows in a major way, garnering support from media giant Clear Channel to get his songs played on a consistent basis and releasing a brand-new track featuring Twista himself.
Congrats go out to DJ Ace for winning the Northwest Regional DMC title. DJ Ace will be going to Washington, D.C., to compete with the winners from each respective region in hopes of taking the national title. We definitely wish him the best and I'm sure that he'll represent the Northwest proud and let fools know not to sleep on Seattle. One for sure thing is that this year's Battle of Bumbershoot will be one of the best yet. In other Northwest news, Spirit in Stone finally hits stores this week for Quannum crew Lifesavas, so be sure to support and enjoy this incredible album. Also, I want to give a major shout-out to the crew Lightheaded, who some of y'all may remember from when Mad N Mic took second to Clockwork in the rap competition. The Day By Day Entertainment group's new album, Pure Thoughts, crept out of nowhere and they are rumored to have a song featuring Lifesavas, produced by 9th Wonder of Little Brother, coming out on vinyl in the near future. I would definitely keep your eyes peeled for Ohmega Watts, Othello, Braille, and Muneshine, as these cats not only have some fun music going on but can also hold it down on stage.
On a closing note, the second annual Mayor's Award for Excellence in Hip Hop is coming up in a few weeks at the KUBE Pre-Summer Jam party on July 20 at Benaroya Hall. This year's award will acknowledge and honor community service and entrepreneurial achievement. My only critique of the award is that labels have to apply for this themselves. The whole idea of applying for an award is a wack concept. Recognition should come from others, rather than people having to nominate themselves. There are several individuals who deserve this award, and while last year's decision definitely raised some eyebrows and insulted many, hopefully this year the panel will reelect a knowledgeable group and recognize a true leader in our community. SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU
REQUIRED LISTENING 1. Black Moon, "Rush" (DuckDown)
2. C-Rayz Walz, "Battle Me" (Def Jux)
3. Gang Starr, "The Ownerz" (Virgin)
4. Lifesavas feat. J-Live, "Selector" (Quannum)
5. Panjabi MC feat. Twista, "Beware Pt. 3" (Sequence)
6. J-Zone, "Ho Kung-Fu" (Old Maid)
7. Busta Rhymes feat. Rah Digga & M.O.P., "Call The Ambulance Remix" (J)
8. KRS-One, "Ya Feel Dat" (Koch)
9. Lightheaded, "Lightheaded Anthem" (Day By Day)