Their rhymes portray them as average dudes with average problems, handling them by average means. But while that lyrical realm in underground hiphop can be an easy path to regurgitated coffee-shop politics, Seattle's Blue Scholars narrowly elude that trap with smart, honest wordplay, a distinctly Northwest perspective, and a knack for triumphant hooks. Blue Scholars rock an evolving catalog that spans from the snappy jazz-encrusted foreground of 2007's high-energy and dreamy Bayani, to the recent OOF! EP's breezy tone and pared-down, deliberate sampling. All of this wraps around emcee Geologic's rich voice and worldly (yet colloquial) anecdotes. They're doing all this with the integrity of a truly artist-controlled music project, and they're making it sound downright classy. KEVIN OTZENBERGER
128 NE Russell, Portland, OR 97212
Hours: Ballroom open for events only, Cafe open: Tues-Sat 5 pm-"late"