A Sample of POH-Hop singles by:
Myg Sidewalk Symphony
The Jam: The album's focus on Myg's top-quality lyricism culminates in loads of great collabs--from national artists such as Talib Kweli and Dead Prez, to underground superstars like Smoke, Lilla'D, and Buku 1. "What You Need," featuring Kable Roc, Skoob, and producer Pale Soul (getting crazy on the BBD samples), a swinging, carefree party track with an old-school feel. Sample Lyric: "A club song/ but it be the underground version/we certifyin' brain surgeons/steady emergin'/out the Northwest/givin' you a SinistapushÉ"
Kay Kay Keep it Movin'; I'm Just Me (full-length); (Eastside Music
The Jam: With soulful vocals and pared-down, gingerly funked-up production, Kay Kay's "the Northwest mami kicking it off the richter." Her razor-sharp, tough alto translates best to her single, "I'm Just Me," a fierce assertion of self.
Sample Lyric: "I stay home and eat dinner/I don't run around bars/or look up to starsÉIt's my life that I live, not for you/for myself."
Bail Money (Eastside Music)
The Jam: "This is Portland" featuring Bullet & Jazz: this definitive PDX number is a map to the many facets of our city--streets, people, moods, Trail Blazers, nug blazers, etc. It's got a super-squelchy, trebly, lip-curling West Coast hook to bump rims.
Sample Lyrics: "Man, we out here getting' ours/TVs in the cars with the VCRs/see me in the bars/like the boom-boom room at Starz"; When guest rapper Bullet drops the hard flex to express hometown affection: "Four Bullet records/that's perspective/in the game I'm respected/I ain't never changed, Dog!É I love it when the rain falls."
The Jams: This jazzy, live seven-piece has a comprehensive, live DVD on the way, but they've already won love all over the Northwest for their diverse approach to production styles. Anthemic, charismatic rhymes reign on Understatements, but witness the contemplative Eastern-flavored flute melody, lilting piano melodies of "Quivahaze"; the popping electro/jazz-drummed masher of "Blue Tint Shades"; the buttery downtempo vibe on "This Could Never Be."
Sample Lyrics: "I must create the hyper/sniper-magnified viper/ciphers and lighters and inspiration turned desire."
Sleep Riot by Candlelight
(Under the Needle Recordings)
The Jam: Riot by Candlelight dropped last year. But if you heard Aesop Rock shout out Sleep at his Portland stop last week and haven't gotten on this train, here's your chance. Over beats that thud with the weight of hooves on dry ground, Sleep's lyricism twists speedy and labyrinthine, like an Orc chase through Middle Earth. JULIANNE SHEPHERD