Two of the heaviest names in hip-hop are coming to Insert Coin(s) this week. As Vegas Seven’s resident hip-hop head and Geoff Carter’s rap advisor, it’s my duty to get you off of your ass and shaking it when pioneering producer Pete Rock and Midwest legends Slum Village touch down Thursday night.
First things first: This isn’t exactly the Slum Village that made you fall in love to “Fall In Love” in 2000. Two of the Detroit crew’s original three members—rapper Baatin and highly influential beatmaker Jay Dee aka J Dilla—have since passed away. That’s not to say remaining founder T3 hasn’t held it down with his revolving cast of collaborators. Following incarnations saw fierce spitter Elzhi come into the fold and, after his departure, Dilla’s brother Illa J. At Insert Coin(s), you’ll see T3 rocking alongside Young RJ, a skillful emcee and producer in his own right. With and without Dilla, Slum Vill has dropped gems such as “Raise It Up,” “Tainted” and “Selfish” (featuring Kanye West and John Legend). Expect to hear versions of them live. I’d like to think Dilla would be proud of T3 and Young RJ, after all, they’re still using his beats, such as on last year’s criminally slept-on “Yes Yes.” Even their newest Young RJ-produced release, “Push It Along” featuring former A Tribe Called Quest sidekick Phife Dawg, finds them channeling the spirit of Dilla and the soulful, true school era of rap.
If Slum Village ain’t enough to make you raise it up, Pete Rock should seal the deal. The Chocolate Boy Wonder is among the most praised hip-hop producers (coincidentally, Kanye refers to himself as “the new version of Pete Rock” in his verse on Slum Village’s “Selfish”). A member of long-defunct classic duo Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, he’s the man responsible for unearthing the now iconic horns of “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.).” (If you don’t know that song, just turn up the volume on your Kid Ink, close your eyes and walk toward oncoming traffic.) Those rare jazz, funk and soul samples are what characterized Pete Rock’s work, whether on his own solo projects or when producing for others, such as Nas’ “The World Is Yours.” Though it’s overshadowed by his production resume, the Soul Brother #1 is nice on the mic, too. Maybe he’ll take a break from the turntables and show us how a “Tru Master” does it?
Pete Rock and Slum Village
with opening performances by Chop808 and Hanif and DJ sets by DJ Slim, DJ88 and DJ Zimmie.
8 p.m., March 19, Insert Coin(s), 512 Fremont St., $10-15, 702-477-2525.