MC Chris

I first heard MC Chris on last week’s installment of “Synchronicity” on KUCI with the always topical DJ Longbeard. He opened his show with the hilarious “Fette’s Vette” (follow along with the lyrics). Boba Fett is my son’s favorite Star Wars character. However, due to the song’s lyrical content, he won’t be hearing this song (he’s eight) nor will he be seeing the final Star Wars installment. I hear it’s just a tad too dark. Lucas sucks. He lures the kiddies into SW I & II with a character like Jar Jar Binks, making the films nearly impossible to watch, then makes III nearly impossible for the kids to watch. So back to MC Chris — not only is he a prolific rapper (check out all the MP3s on his site), he’s also the voice for MC Pee Pants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

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Songs about potheads always get me listening for the same reason songs about gangstas do: because I ain’t one. And coming from somewhere near Oxnard, California (word to anyone who’s never been there: the name don’t sound street because the city ain’t), I’m betting Quas, the heliumized alter-ego of Madlib, isn’t a gangsta either. But the man can freak a funky beat like the shit was in a blender set to Negativland. Don’t worry if you don’t smoke the doob — Quasimoto’s doing enough for all of us.

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If his medium of choice were finger-picking or field hollering, hip-hop pioneer and graffiti advocate Dooley-O would have long since been immortalized by NPR or the Smithsonian as an influential folk artist obscured by the wrong time, place, and people. Instead, he’s quietly amassed a hype discography of one night stands with various shoestring labels. Well, here’s to one night stands…of the audio variety, of course.

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Mad Awkward

Mad Awkward. Story of my life. I guess I shouldn’t hate the guy for taking what would have been an awesome stage name for me, considering my skills never progressed far enough to warrant a stage name. Not only is it a great name, it somehow describes my man’s off-kilter yet entrancing production.

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If you listen to the critics (and who doesn’t?), this is Kanye West’s year. If Archetype have it their way, all eyes will be on their native Lawrence, Kansas, not Chicago’s South Side, in 2005. They’re starting their takeover by offering better than half of their music for download, so take advantage while the getting’s good. Nezbeat’s refreshingly ecclectic mix of samples (from opera to gospel) and tempos (from old school breaks to drum ‘n’ bass) along with I.D.’s unflinching flow won’t keep them on the fringe for long.
Note: This isn’t the metal band of the same name that you’ll see if you search on Amazon or Insound (so, just this once, ignore those links and go to the artists’ site for purchase information).

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Rapping about the rap lifestyle anymore comes off as uninspired straw-grasping. But when it’s rolling off Project Blowed crewman Busdriver’s tongue it sounds more like the demon spawn of Cornel West, H.L. Mencken, and Jon Stewart — and believe me, that would be some demon friggin’ spawn. In a genre full of cultural critics, Busdriver is the guy whose intelligent sarcasm almost always exceeds his peers yet is funky enough to let the masses in on the joke. I wouldn’t want to be holding the other microphone in a rap battle with this cat, but I’d sure want to be in the studio audience.

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On one level, Saskatchewan’s own Epic is the antithesis of every rap stereotype. He’s an aging, vegetarian Newfie with no loot and an arrhythmic drawl that makes him sound more like the next Rappin’ Duke than the next Eminem. On another level, he’s true hip hop. Epic clearly lives to serve sucker MCs, rap what he knows, and make heads nod…he just does it on his own refreshingly unique terms.

(Even more MP3s are available at the Clothes Horse site. But, if you find yourself hitting rewind like I did, do the right thing at Phonographique.)

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Pete Miser

DJ/MC Pete Miser knowingly walks the line between “stoopid” and “stupid” — and would probably even tell you that they’re homonyms, fool, so why even sweat it… “So Sensitive” is the self-effacing, gasp-inducing flip to the new single “Scent of a Robot”; a long-player is around the corner. In the meantime, take in these older cuts so you can witness the man’s range (from bustin’ chops to breakin’ hearts).

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This one’s for my Mizzou people, you know who you are. Not only is Approach the best MC ever to hail from Kansas City, he swings a nice lisp (especially audible on “Hey Y’all”) and makes his own funky beats. This is straight-up party fodder for your mind à la J5, Lyrics Born, Talib Kweli — and ya don’t quit…

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