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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Dope Rhymes:
Marginal Prophets live on rap's outskirts

NONE OF THE HANDY SLOTS reserved for microphone wreckers fit the rappers K2 and Noble Def G, collectively known as the Marginal Prophets. Onstage, K2 sometimes wears a propeller beanie and a skirt, while G sports a ponytail and leather jacket. When the music starts--a heavy, dusted '80s Def Jam flow--the duo become a blur of hyperactivity, and the pointing and staring begins in earnest. "I came up with an apt description," says K2, from his home in San Francisco. "If the Beastie Boys and Digital Underground fornicated with Frank Zappa in drag, we would be the bastard children. We lie on the outskirts of everything." For sure, the Prophets are making music nobody else is: a funky rap-rock fusion with Seinfeld-smart rhymes and genius sampling. The just-released CD, Twist the Nob (Gamma Ray Records), is one of most original platters to hit the shelves. I found myself laughing out loud at the words while the big beats and background squall rubbed my outsides raw. The Prophets cull their samples from a vat of sources. The The's gas-huffing harmonica on "Dogs of Lust" is looped on "Like This." Camper Van Beethoven's violin squeals "Pictures of Matchstick Men" during "Phat in the Whole." Even Tori Amos' harpsichord weeps on "C-Side." To the Prophets, George Clinton and James Brown have been done to death. "Why take something that's already funky and rap over it again?" asks K2. "We like to take something that wasn't a dance-oriented thing and make it funky. With Camper Van, Tori Amos, the cool modern-rock songs, it's more fun." The song subjects lean to the party-rockin' side of life, but a sense of social consciousness prevails on "Gunz 'N Money," an anti-NRA number. Then again, "Jackin' the Box" isn't about buying burgers, and "Phat in the Whole" isn't about Santa coming down the chimney. South Bay rap fans have shown little openness to the Prophets' brand of let-it-go rap; they were once booed off the stage during a Palookaville Saafir show. The Prophets have since pumped up their live act with a drummer, standup bassist and Stark Raving Brad, a bizarre, limber percussionist armed with a triangle and a backpack of back flips. "People have these preconceptions that all rappers are a certain way," comments K2. "Everyone's walking around with big advertisements for sports teams, all mean and pissed off, that's not true at all. A lot of them wear dresses and twirly hats." (The Prophets, minus Brad, perform at noon at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto with the Groovie Ghoulies, Clarke Nova, the Odd Numbers and 4 Banger on July 5.)

Park Place

The lineup has been confirmed for this year's free, outdoor Netcom's Music in the Park concert series: July 11, The Bay Area Blues Revue; July 18, Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra; July 25, Box Set; Aug. 1, J Michael Verta; Aug. 8, Pete Escovedo; Aug. 15, Tower of Power; Aug. 22, Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings; Aug. 29, Avenue Blue; and Sept. 5, Pato Banton. The shows all take place in Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park, Market and San Fernando streets, San Jose, every Thursday, 5­7:30pm. Oh yes, once again, Metro is one of the sponsors of the series.

Whatever Happened to "Pogo"?

Is it just me, or are you sick of reading and hearing the word "mosh" used in reference to slam dancing? Every newspaper report from the Tibetan Freedom Concert and the surprise Metallica show used the "m" word copiously--so much so that every time I ran across it, I cringed. When Lollapalooza comes to town on Aug. 2, it's going to be deja mosh all over again. I prefer "slam dance" or "pit," but those words fell off the tongue when the jocks discovered Green Day. From here on out, I'm striking the word from my vocabulary, and if it ever appears in print, blame the editors.

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From the July 3-10, 1996 issue of Metro

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