When Del the Funkee Homosapien came to Slowdown a few weeks ago, I got plenty of shit about not posting anything about the show on my site. Fact is, I’m not a follower of Del’s. I barely know who he is. That doesn’t mean I don’t like hip-hop. Au contraire. I like hip-hop, I’m just excruciatingly choosy as to what hip-hop I listen to. You can count the number of hip-hop albums I own on two hands, and it’s mostly old school stuff by N.W.A., Ice Cube, Ice-T, Public Enemy, as well as some stuff by Brother Ali, Justin Warfield (years and years before She Wants Revenge), Danger Mouse and those old white guys, the Beastie Boys.
And Blue Scholars. I got a copy of their debut in the mail back in 2004 and reviewed it in the matrix, saying: “I don’t know a lot about hip-hop — that’s well documented. But I do know what I want when hip-hop comes to mind. Good, clean beats. The ability to understand at least some of the lyrics. A clear flow. I turn off bad hip-hop almost immediately. It better hold my attention. This did. It’s well-produced. I like them horns. Reminds me of Pharcyde. From Seattle, with attitude.”
I figured no one knew who they were, but I was wrong, as per usual. Blue Scholars have something of a cult following in the Pacific Northwest. Their songs are about life and living in Seattle; their name is a play on the phrase “blue collar,” which is what they’re all about. Their most recent full-length, Bayani, is a head trip rhymed in the language of a guy you’d meet riding the 49 Metro (Seattle’s equivalent to a MAT bus) cross town — with the same concerns and frustration of anyone just trying to make ends meet. Forget all the gangsta and bling-isms, Blue Scholars is honed, accurate social commentary from two very smart guys — DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic — who know their history and can tell you about it in a way that won’t let you to sit still. They were named the best hip-hop act in Seattle Weekly‘s 2006 Music Awards Poll. Their just-released EP, Joe Metro, charted on CMJ. I never thought I’d see them on an Omaha stage, yet here they come tonight, opening for Psalm One and Articulate at The Waiting Room. $10, 9 p.m. Go!
In other news:
At Saturday’s birthday party for Feirin down at Slowdown, Saddle Creek Records executive Robb Nansel told me that Slumber Party Records just signed a distribution deal with Saddle Creek that will dramatically increase the reach of that label, whose roster has included Capgun Coup (now on Team Love), Bear Country, April in Andalusia, Conchance, FTL Drive and Honeybee .
In addition to distributing their own products, Saddle Creek also distributes products for Range Life Records (White Flight, 1,000,000 Light Years, Fourth of July) and Team Love — all of which, are in turn, distributed by ADA. Go to the Saddle Creek online store and there’s already a link to the new Slumber Party Records online store. Nansel said the first release under the new distro deal will be Baby Walrus on Feb. 5.
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According to an item at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune website, Conor Oberst will be performing for three back-to-back nights at The 400 Club in Minneapolis — not as Bright Eyes, but only as Conor Oberst. According to the Trib article (here), “Word from 400 Bar management is that Oberst wants it explicitly known these won’t be Bright Eyes shows – i.e., he won’t be doing any of those songs! He will be playing new material with a different backing band.” Is that the band with M Ward or the solo project with Jake Bellows that Omaha City Weekly‘s Hildy Johnson referenced in last week’s issue (here, scroll to the bottom of the page)? Guess we’d have to go to Minneapolis Dec. 27-29 to find out.
Tomorrow: Domestica. Be here.
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