by Samuel L. Chesneau

In an unlikely pairing of rural and street culture, NWExplosion will bring the emcee battles to Charlotte's Web territory as they showcase the NWXtreme battle series at the Puyallup Fair Thursday and Friday (September 18 and 19). In doing so, the NW crew will accomplish the previously unthinkable--bringing one of the most popular musical and cultural art forms to the event. The battle should be pretty cut-and-dried--emcees showing off their delivery, creativity, stage presence, and more to try and grab a $500 prize. I'll be curious to see if Bad Luk--the understated, hilarious mic master I mentioned in the column last week--can defend his title, and if the other emcees can live up to the instrumentals spun by B-Mello.

Speaking of Mello, he'll be rocking the Baltic Room this Saturday, September 20, with his Street Sounds counterpart DJ Scene at the second installment of Zero. I hit up this monthly party last time and it brought on a solid house-party vibe, with music that varied from straight-up hiphop to more dance-oriented grooves. The previous night (Friday, September 19), Seaspot.com is throwing a Virgo party at the Seahawks Stadium. Virgo should be a slightly slicker event, catering less to the Capitol Hill crowd (like Zero) and more to the throwback jerseys, definitely cultivating a strong eye-candy club vibe. I can't send enough shout-outs to Seaspot for having an important presence in the community. This is especially true for Jose Gutierrez Jr. , who pens the thought-provoking "Change the Game" section in his What the Dilly Yo? column, taking on issues of uplifting the community--most recently by telling artists to make sure to read their contracts so they can't blame the label when things go wrong.

Adding even more to your to-do list for the weekend, our nationally acclaimed local dance crew TURF! will be having a massive fundraising event at the Moore Theatre on Saturday night. The two-time Apollo winners will use this performance to help foot the travel bill for a big TV performance on Showtime at the Apollo in New York City at the end of the month. For anybody who hasn't seen TURF! (directed by Sonya Boothroyd and featuring several members of the Massive Monkees crew) yet: You are criminally sleeping. The four choreographed pieces they'll be performing this weekend are more polished versions of what you might see at a b-boy battle, incorporating more conceptual dance pieces of various styles rather than the raw, gritty street flavor that you usually see.

Time to empty the wallets again this Sunday, September 21, at the Showbox, when the king of funk, George Clinton, and Parliament/Funkadelic will bring heatery in what should be an incredible show. I've heard their live performances are nothing short of legendary, so you know I'll be seeing them this time around.

I also strongly recommend checking out a tour hitting up Chop Suey on the same evening, as two of California underground hiphop's finest return to Seattle. Abstract Rude is back in town promoting Showtyme, his new album on Battle Axe Records. The record will probably please Rude's hardcore fans, but I think it doesn't equate to Mood Pieces--my favorite release of his (and that includes all his side projects) due to its excellent production and straightforward hiphop lyrics. Taking the stage with Rude will be labelmate Sunspot Jonz of Living Legends/Mystik Journeymen fame, who's promoting his new release, Don't Let Em Stop You, an album that will more than please all the Living Legends crew fans. Neither album is wack, but they're both a little too average, as neither artist takes it to the next level like I'd hoped. That said, Rude and Sunspot always put on good, high-energy live shows, so expect them to transcend their new albums and rock it no matter what--especially because the lineup also includes Onry Ozzborn and Sleep of Oldominion. Expect the backpacks and sunblock to be in full force at this show.

hiphop@thestranger.com

REQUIRED LISTENING

1. Sly Boogy feat. Jake One, "Walk with My Dogs" (Bolo)

2. Lord Finesse feat. Big L, "You Know What I'm About" (Fat Beats)

3. Eightball & MJG feat. OutKast, "Throw Your Hands Up" (Suave House)

4. Compton's Most Wanted, "I Don't Dance" (Epic)

5. Wordsworth, "Not Me" (Fat Beats)

6. OutKast, "The Way You Move" (LaFace/Aquemini)

7. Iomos Marad, "Living in Foul Environments" (All Natural)

8. Mark Ronson feat. Freeway & Nikki Costa, "Here Comes the Fuzz" (Elektra)

9. DMX feat. 50 Cent & Styles P, "Shot Down" (Bloodline)

10. T.I., "24's" (Atlantic)

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