DAVID BANNER Super crunk... but with a message.
Kanye West, David Banner

Mon Feb 16

Oregon Convention Center

777 NE MLK

Kanye West

Wed Feb 18

Berbati's

231 SW Ankeny

Forget what you heard: late-additions-to-the-bill Kanye West and David Banner are the hot shit at this week's quasi-epic Luda/ Chingy show. West, as you've probably surmised, has produced a full library of classic beats for everyone from Jay-Z (a million hits, including "Izzo") to Talib Kweli ("Get By," one of the few good songs on Quality). His two latest hits, the funny/sweet homage "Slow Jamz" (with Twista and Jamie Foxx) and his own operating-room narrative "Through the Wire," speed up soulful samples and slap them on syncopated, almost chaotic, super-fast beats, which often sound like 40 kids hitting bongo drums. In the aforementioned cuts, the sample of Luther Vandross sounds like Gladys Knight, and Chaka Khan sounds like the most sensual newborn baby ever.

West is an anomaly in the Roc-a-Fella pantheon; the first full record of his own rapping, College Dropout, is more emotive emceeing than big pimpin'. You have to admit, it takes cojones to have your first single detail the near-fatal car accident that kept your jaw wired up for months ("Through the Wire"). But it also makes him immediately likable, with his molasses-slow flow. Dude lays it all out on the table; I mean, when he namedrops sizzurp, he's talking about sucking the maple syrup through his jaw, while his friends eat the pancakes. Was DJ Screw ever that gangsta?

In MTA2: Baptized in Dirty Water, David Banner's liner notes have no epic shout-outs; instead, a photo-collage depicts Banner being baptized aggressively, in a river. He raps in a chalky, football-field-gruff, Mississippi voice over crunky, jeep-ready beats that sometimes sound like a police scanner getting choked. Lots of MTA2 is pimpin', strippin', and flossin' in the club. But Banner's got something to pray about, too, explaining "baptized in dirty water" as such: "in the hood... most people were good people, but they were put in a situation where they had to survive... the word 'baptized' means a full change. Imagine that you were getting baptized in dirty water; it don't matter what your intent was, if everything around you was negative you're going to become a product of that." Talk about some complex shit.