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By all means, enjoy the whispy waifs warbling their sensitive indie ballads up and down the city during CMJ. But make time for some hip-hop while you do. Here are a few acts worth your time.
Mr Muthafuckin’ eXquire
Mr Muthafuckin’ eXquire has two big things going for him. Most obviously, he has the first truly great name for a performer since Dirk Diggler. It never fails to bring a smile to the face of people who hear it. Second, he has the skills to cash the check a name like that writes. Classic underground New York production (MF Doom-esque) meets a deranged rhyme-monster, strutting about the stage like a resurrected O.D.B. for the bath salts generation. ‘Huzzah’, and especially its Despot/Das Racist remix, deserves to be in your regular hip-hop listening rotation if it isn’t already.
Tonight, 11pm, Hollywood East – Leaders of the New Cool Showcase, S.O.B.’s
You probably won’t have more fun on YouTube today than you will with this Lil Kids song “Coitus Interruptus.” Imagine Dee-lite’s video for “Groove Is In the Hear”t hijacked by a chubby white dude in a diaper. Now imagine this dude has a dumb-fun ’90s hip-hop sound, like De La Soul collaborating with Asher Roth. It’s infectious, it’s absurd, and a good pallet-cleanser if you overdose on earnestness at any point in your CMJ travels.
Saturday, 8pm, Muchmore’s.
We know almost nothing about JoHnCon, except that he’s from Detroit, and shares his name (“John Conyers”) with a legendary Congressman from that city. But part of CMJ’s appeal is the serendipity of stumbling over something genuinely unknown that you dig very hard, and then champion (if only in your own headphones). JoHnCon’s “Lover Boy” is that kind of pleasant surprise, using a perfectly deployed sample from Queen to light up a stripped down meditation on a relationship gone wrong.
Saturday, 8:00pm, Muchmore’s.
Killer Mike, GZA, Death Grips, Flatbush Zombies, Action Bronson
We’ve already recommended each of these stellar acts. Go find them.
It’s a hard, fast rule around these parts: Any time Ghostdini plays a show in the city, you go. Because, at some point, he’s going to break into a mad scramble across stage with the 50 other goons up there with him during “Run,” the audience is going to go into a complete shit fit, and you will feel the rhythmic chaos of it all seeping into every pore. There’s not a better live moment in music than the three minutes of Ghostface performing “Run,” and you should always tap that vein when it’s available.