Thursday, June 17, 2010
There are few hip-hop ensembles with members achieving equally successful solo careers: There was the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, GZA, Method Man, Old Dirty, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, N.W.A.’s Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube and most recently, Living Legends.
The Los Angeles-based, eight-piece powerhouse features MURS, The Grouch, Aesop and Scarub, who have all made waves in the underground hip-hop world with solo albums. On Saturday at the Blue Fin, Scarub will make some more.
One of Scarub’s side projects, Afro Classics, featuring Very (of Us Pros), has been around since the 1990s but only recently released a second album. The 6-track The Classic EP is rooted heavily in early ’90s Los Angeles hip-hop ala Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Abstract Rude; the album may be short, but it has you coming back for multiple listens.
“Live From Los Angeles Pt. 1” is a letter to the city Scarub both loves and hates‚ a lyrically poetic portrait that hovers above a landscape of Twilight Zone-like samples.
“If you can’t merge stay in your lane, we ain’t playing no game / L.A., home of the Lakers and bang-bang.”
Scarub’s music stimulates the minds of his listeners without any smoke, mirrors or a vacodor.
“We use ideas and thoughts that provoke ideas and thoughts,” Scarub told Impose. “I think that will have a bigger stain on listeners’ memories than commercial music ever could.”
Local openers The Joint Venture‚ featuring J. Scrawls and DJ Mike J‚ are elated to be on the same bill with an artist that has influenced their music.
Scrawls and Mike J met a few years ago at the Rubber Chicken Poetry Slam and shortly after, The Joint Venture was born.
“I make the beats and get them to Scrawls, he writes lyrics and brings it back and we take a look at it together,” Mike says. “Then I restructure the beat around his lyrics.”
The Venture’s debut album, The Defacing the Currency EP, is flooded with Scrawls’ reflection of the world moving rapidly around him; J’s beats methodically cushion the ambush of rhymes.
On the overloaded and noisy “Mind Pollution,” Scrawls contemplates the agitation of unwanted data taking up space in his head. He declares: “It’s a f****** calamity for humanity, / insanity that cultivates the reverence of vanity.”
The L.E.F.T., Esik and Keno also perform.