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[whitespace] Who Dropped the Biznomb?

By Mike Connor

IT'S MY DUTY to report to you the naked truth about current events: Beating George Bush to the punch, three local hip-hop acts dropped the biznomb Sunday night at the Lost & Found Generation's Independent Hip-Hop Showcase at the 418 Project. Dubya, I know you read this column weekly, so listen up. Step aside and leave the bomb-dropping to Genelec & Memphis Reigns, the Moonies, and MC Sayre, because unlike your sorry misspoken ass, these kids can drop rhymes with more precision than your "smart" bombs out causing collateral damage. And now, fuck off Dubya metaphor, because I need to talk seriously about the debut album from Genelec & Memphis Reigns. It's called Scorpion Circles, and it is positively freaking phenomenal. They rock every single track to the fullest with dark and heavy beats, mystical and meditative soundscapes, and unapologetically cerebral flow. But G&MR are all heart, a fact that comes across on their record, and even more so when they're playing live. Feeding off the energy from his partner and the crowd, Genelec sometimes got so worked up that he distorted his vocals yelling into the mic, but all I can say is let the levels be adjusted, Mr. Sound Man, because it's criminal to actually try to contain energy like that.

The Moonies crowded onto the stage and had a bit of a rocky start, but proceeded to rock the mics (sometimes five at once) like ... well, the temptation here is to pigeonhole them as old-school white-boy comedy hip-hop, but even though they're clearly having a good time fucking around onstage, it's impossible to deny they've got skills, too. The fact that four MCs don't end up sounding like a jumbled mess is proof enough, but then they go kicking rhymes a cappella and throwing down sharp, thoughtful and consistently witty lyrics that you might not expect, given their five-man-party sensibilities. They've got a series of side projects they're putting out called the Chump Change Collection, which are basically full-length limited-edition records that are worth much more than the few bucks they're charging for them. Ask for them at Streetlight.

Closing out the evening was local heavyweight MC Sayre, a solid and aggressive MC who ought to blow up sometime soon, provided that the world doesn't blow up first. His set was cut obscenely short by the SCPD, doing their part to shut down amplified music by midnight. Ah, Santa Cruz ... you take the good with the bad here, but after going to shows in S.F. and L.A. this weekend, I went into mild shock while driving home at a mere 12:05am, especially when the show was live. But Sayre ripped through those last 25 minutes with an intensity that was probably in part fueled by the time constraint, so it gave his set an extra kick, like he was an Iron Chef busting out gourmet rhymes in a race against the clock. Sayre's and Samix' EP One Side Away is unbelievably tight, and Sayre's vocal and lyrical styles are developing into something massive and intimidating. OSA is also available at Streetlight.

Raiders of the Lost Art

"Estradasphere belongs in a museum!" shouts Doctor Jones, in midlunge for their latest album It's Understood as it slides across the deck of a ship embroiled in the midst of a fierce Atlantic storm. Is it just me, or does Estradasphere have a knack for stealing all the gems from humanity's sonic heritage? From classical Middle Eastern romps to '50s pop doo-wop and '70s porn to silent-movie chase scenes melting into irish jigs and back again to classical waltzes, it's hard to imagine a more inventive group of supervillains. And then they go and break into breakbeat beat-boxing and Whoolilicious vocal eclectica. What's next, a virtuoso toenail-clipping extravaganza? If anyone can make it work, Estradasphere can. It should also be noted that Estradasphere are still unstoppable even when playing acoustic and without a drummer like they did last Thursday at Moe's.

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From the September 18-25, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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