This week, two legends of ‘90s East Coast hip hop play the city: Mobb Deep, who rose from the Queensbridge Houses along with Nas and others, will play B.B. King’s, while Wu-Tang’s RZA takes over City Winery (a strange venue-artist match if there ever was one). It’s also Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, and if you’re worried about spending it alone, we recommend checking out a stacked Planned Parenthood benefit at Music Hall of Williamsburg. If you meet someone there, consider it a bonus. You want a date who supports reproductive rights, right?
Village of Love Planned Parenthood of NYC Benefit
Reigning Sound, Kid Congo, Eleanor Friedberger, and many more
6:30 p.m., $20 – $25
As we enter week four (don’t forget, it hasn’t even been a month yet!) of this rights-trampling presidency, the benefits for possibly-endangered organizations just keep coming: this week, on Valentine’s Day, support the female-bodied among us by supporting this excellent show in Williamsburg, which raises funds for Planned Parenthood of New York City. An overwhelming lineup of great musicians includes the confessional singer-songwriter Frankie Cosmos, grungy ex-Vivian Girls singer and guitarist Cassie Ramone, ex-Fiery Furnaces singer Eleanor Friedberger, the soul and swing spinning DJ Jonathan Toubin, and a ton more.
Mobb Deep, Pete Rock, Smoke DZA, Camp Lo
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
7 p.m., $35 – $70
The iconic ‘90s gangsta rappers Havoc and Prodigy, collectively Mobb Deep, perform this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic album Hell On Earth. Hailing from the Queensbridge Houses that birthed many hip-hop classics, the duo was part of a wave of hardcore East Coast artists in the ‘90s that gave a voice to the disillusioned young people growing up in decaying surroundings plagued by the violent drug trade. Other than a brief hiatus in 2012, Mobb Deep have kept touring since their formation in 1990, nearly thirty years ago. Few living legends have stayed as sharp.
Kaytranada, Lou Phelps, Jonah Levine
10 p.m., $20 – $30
Over the last two years, Hatian-Canadian producer Louis Kevin Celestin, who goes by Kaytranada, escaped the bowels of Soundcloud to achieve international stardom. His groovy dance beats borrow sounds from more genres than it’s possible to count, although they include Carribbean music, hip-hop, and house, to name a few. Celestin’s increasingly high profile helped bring upbeat dance music vibes back into hip-hop through his collaborations with rappers like GoldLink and Anderson .Paak. His appearance heralds a packed and sweaty night at Williamsburg’s best big club.
Palm, Shimmer, Beth Israel, Jepeto Solutions
8 p.m., $10
New York’s Palm are an amalgam of tropes that have fascinated indie rock listeners at different times over the last few decades: a little psych, a little post-punk, a little math rock. But the group, a four piece that began when its members met in 2012 at Bard College, transcend these labels, rather than being defined by them. Their songs take surprising twists and turns, vocals stretch apart from the dissonant chords underneath, and drums beat at unexpected tempos. All this is aided by the group’s excellent musicianship, though none of the members are traditionally trained. Live, they exceed their already impressive recordings.
Bonnie Baxter X Orb KA (of Kill Alters), Maria Chavez, Gold Dime, Kate Mohanty
8 p.m., $10
Bonnie Baxter is a New York-based multimedia artist who uses the refuse from her life to construct strange and unsettling sound and video pieces. With her project Kill Alters, a band she started in 2015, this meant tapes her mother, who has Tourette’s syndrome, spent most of her life recording. Baxter’s music, interspersed with these eerie and sometimes wrenching samples, takes cues from noise, experimental rock, dance music, and glitch. The videos accompanying these songs have a creepy found-footage aesthetic reminiscent of horror films or net artists like Jon Rafman. Baxter plays alongside Maria Chavez, one of the city’s best experimental artists, whose chosen method of DJing — what she calls avant-turntablism — works with broken equipment and records to achieve a haunted effect.
Dr. Rubinstein, Akanbi
11 p.m., $15 – $20
DJ Aurora Halal’s renowned Mutual Dreaming party this Friday features Dr. Rubinstein, an Israeli DJ living in Berlin who has made a serious impression on the scene through marathon techno sets at clubs like ://about blank and Berghain/Panorama Bar. In America, she caught underground techno heads’ attention through a mind-bending set at last year’s edition of the Sustain-Release festival, a niche, members-only three day underground party in the Catskills created and curated by Halal. On Friday, she plays a four-hour set amid the kitschy glamour of Brooklyn Bazaar’s Polish decor.
DJ Sprinkles, Francis Harris
The Panther Room, Output
10 p.m., $25
Terre Thaemlitz—the legendary exploder of binaries known as DJ Sprinkles—has spent the last 20-plus years opening minds through multimedia art and music. In the early ‘90s, Thaemlitz invented a style of political ambient music meant to wake listeners up to the unequal realities around them. Since then, the DJ, producer, and artist has moved through countless genres, from deep house to jazz, acting as a champion of the club as a space for queer expression. It’s always a good time to catch a DJ Sprinkles set, but we need her aural philosophy now more than ever.
Bambara, Stuyedeyed, Midriffs, Pink Mexico
8 p.m., $10
Bambara’s music crashes, screeches, growls, vibrates menacingly and disassembles into a pile of feedbacking speakers and drum kits, a cacophony that singer Reid Bateh yells over in a voice filtered to sound like a dispatch from the apocalypse. The band’s end-of-the-world noise punk came to life on their excellent 2016 album Swarm, a fitting accompaniment to our terrifying times. The grungy Bushwick dive Alphaville is a perfect setting to experience them for the first time, or the tenth.
10:30 p.m., $55 – $75
If you’d said in 1993 that we’d one day see RZA, the Wu-Tang producer and rapper who helped usher in the golden era of East Coast gangsta rap, play a bougie wine cellar and cabaret in Manhattan, we’d have had a good laugh. But that’s where we are in 2017, apparently—Donald Trump in the white house, RZA at the winery. Why not?
Jan St. Werner, Sufjan Stevens, Kid Millions, Benjamin Lanz
7 p.m., $20
It’s hard to know what to expect from this event, the first in a new series by Williamsburg arts space National Sawdust bringing together diverse artists for inventive collaborations. Whatever ends up happening, there’s plenty of talent packed into this lineup: in addition to the genius composer and musician Sufjan Stevens, experimental electronic artist Jan St. Werner of the German group Mouse on Mars and Kid Millions of the cult indie rock band Oneida will also be in the mix. Benjamin Lanz of indie rock staples The National and Balkan folk purveyors Beirut completes the collaboration, which is sure to be fascinating. Bonnie Baxter X Orb KA (of Kill Alters), Maria Chavez, Gold Dime, Kate Mohanty
8 p.m., $10