(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)
The beat drops heavy. Words flow towards social and political optimism.
“Those that want to see change implemented/Not just words but actions/A commitment to a brighter future/We won’t be denied, progress is on our side.”
That’s a snapshot of the theme from the lead track, “Arrival,” off of The Second Album by Latyrx, due November 5. Their first full-length album in sixteen years, Latyrx is the alternative hip-hop duo of rappers/producers Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born. Futuristic production spliced with top-notch lyrical ideas and delivery, The Second Album comes off as a tedious yet wide-reaching project filled with multiple collaborations and producers. Those guests include tUnE-yArDs, Anticon, Living Colour, The Decemberists, and Blackalicious.
According to Lyrics Born, it features “deliberate gibberish; it’s very eclectic, mature, nonsensical imaginative, poetic, organic, synthetic, but all smackin’.”
Back in 1995, while L.A. was filled-in with a G-funk haze of green smoke, the Bay area rap scene was harvesting the experimental rhyming patterns and tonality elements that would form Latyrx. A part of the Solesides collective that also included DJ Shadow and future members of Blackalicious, Latyrx was an “accident.” Both Lateef the Truth Speaker and Lyrics Born were already solo artists, first joined at the hip by an irresistible DJ Shadow beat.
After 1997′s Latyrx: the Album and 1998′s Muzappers Re-Mixes EP (which spawned one of the few feminist-affirming club bangers in hip-hop history, “Lady Don’t Tek No.”), the duo parted to take the world by storm individually, producing a total of eight solo albums, three EPs, and 10 mix tapes. They’ve also done numerous other collaborations, including production work and guest appearances.
A noteworthy post from the Knotty Pine’s Facebook page: “We have decided to sell 80 less tickets than normal to make room for costumes and getting down. Costumes REQUIRED!” Halloween Party with LATYRX featuring Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker, 9 p.m. Thursday at the Knotty Pine in Victor. $18. Hip-hop. 208-787-2866.
Get Sneaky & Greasy
Each time I hear Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons, the greasy ‘70s funk foundation is tighter, peppier, even gravitating into the exotically tribal. My radio dial flipped to Wyoming Public Radio last month to catch a live-on-air performance on Grady Kirkpatrick’s Morning Music show. The youthful energy came through loud and clear, but more importantly their set was interesting, well rehearsed, musical, and original. Mostly pulsing, groove-funk instrumental work, with lead vocals via trumpet player Bobby Griffith and guitarist Jack Tolan, the quintet also includes Sam Lowenthal (bass, vocals), Zach Zimmerman (drums), and Greg Meyers (percussion). All Hallow’s Funk Fest with Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons, 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Town Square Tavern. $5. Funk-rock. 733-2886.
Spooky Beats at Q
Bryce Lowell, aka PRSN, honed his chops as a resident DJ and respected promoter at WüRK in Reno before relocating to Portland, Oregon where craft crackin’ sets of heady, forward-thinking bass music define his sets. He will headline Spooky Beats, a Halloween costume extravaganza being produced by Nomadic Events at Roadhouse Brewing. Also joining the party are Jackson’s own DJ Jefe and DJ ERA along with lighting wizard, Lightscience. There will be prizes for best costumes including a free growler (filled), pint glasses, and t-shirts, while The Q will be offering post-party sliders, tacos and more in the parking lot. Spooky Beats featuring PRSN, DJ Jefe and DJ ERA, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday at Roadhouse Brewing. $10/advance at The Q or SpookyBeats.EventBrite.com, $15/door.
Dia de los Muertos at Rose
The Mexican custom of El Dia de los Muertos, “Day of the Dead,” contradicts the U.S. custom of Halloween in which death is “scary.” Instead, the celebration traditionally starts at midnight on the night of Oct. 31 and death—at least the memories of those deceased—is to be celebrated. Get your sugar skulls prepped. Dia de los Muertos costume party with DJs Vert-One and Richie Beats, 10 p.m. Thursday at The Rose. Free. 733-1500.
Post holiday rock party
If you still have the energy and your costume is not ripped to threads or soaked in booze, a rally is in effect for “Dance of the Dead,” featuring hard rockin’ original music from Black Mother Jones interspersed with dance music courtesy of DJ Crazy Tom. Dance of the Dead with Black Mother Jones and DJ Crazy Tom, 9:30 p.m. Friday at Town Square Tavern. $5. 733-3886.