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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Mizell, Larry
Date published: February 10, 2011

BELL BIV DEVOE, BUSDRIVER, AND PARKER

Egypt! Egypt! No electro, no metro, I'm saying peace to everybody striving to shrug off oppression across the world-and you may have noticed there are a whole lot of them. You may even count yourself among them, and I salute you.

So whoa-Bell Biv DeVoe, SWV, Al B. Sure!, and Jon B. are all coming to town (well, Kent to be precise, or ShoWare Center to be even more so) on Thursday, February 10, which sounds super-cool to me and a nation of babymamas and -daddies, but probably doesn't mean shit to the kids looking to cap off their Black History Month in a big way (Waka Flocka Flame and the Brick Squad on February 26, more on that in a couple of weeks). Those of us old enough to actually remember when the fi rst fi ve Air Jordan models dropped (even if we couldn't afford them-ahem), however, might be stoked to see if SWV are still "foine," to ask BBD what the fuck a "Hootie Mack" is, and of course to see if Al B. Sure! is still at the forefront of the Unibrow Pride Movement.

Short of that 1990s reenactment, if you need something more contemporary and rapful in your life, check in with Busdriver, Dark Time Sunshine, Katie Kate, Night Fox, and DJ Swervewon at Neumos that same night. I've never been a huge Busdriver dude, but I will forever respect him for being a part of Project Blowed and, more importantly, going on Blind Date. It was a much better look than another LA rapper's Game show experience. DTS are heading out on the road, and they're very worth seeing, if simply to hear the unbelievable beauty of Zavala's production.

Get up on Parker-no, not Parker Joe from SOTA-one half of the Parker Brothaz, a group that seems to be on indefi nite hiatus while Stretch is "sitting down." Parker's overdue solo debut, Between Struggles, is here at long last. With production and support from high-powered production team Tha Bizness-currently in the ATL but native to Seattle, much like Parker himself- Struggles can't help but slap, shimmer, and shine on beats alone. Anybody who was hip to Parker's bars when he was still known as Eclipse recognizes the dude is anything but a slouch on the mic-he more than holds up, solid and rib-sticking, next to a slickly picked cast of well-known guest stars (Mistah FAB, Pill, Killa Kyleon, Bad Lucc, and Chi-town's L.E.P. Bogus Boys). The result is some fonky high-grade hiphop with not too much slickness (the club-ready shit is refreshingly tasteful) and no shortage of soul and real talk (the grown-up kind). I know it just started, and not much has dropped, but still-this has got to be the best Seattle-affi liated rap release so far this year. Find it on iTunes to support-but you can fi nd free links to it at ThaBizness.com. I always loved saying their trademark ad-lib: Tha Bizna-bizna-bizness!

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