It’s been pretty quiet lately in these music streets, especially release-wise—but there are more than enough shows popping up on the horizon to keep our ears full. This week we are jazzed about lots of hip-hop: a FOMO-worthy co-headlining tour, monthly hip-hop series the Thesis celebrates its eight years with a packed party of local talent, and rap pioneer Rakim's Fri Dec 2 show at the Crystal Ballroom has been postponed.


Can’t miss upcoming events.

The Thesis 8 Year Anniversary 

Putting on a show every first Thursday, every month, for eight years straight (save for a few COVID-forced cancellations) isn’t easy to pull off. Long serving as an introduction and uplifting of Portland's hip-hop and R&B scene, the team behind the Thesis proves over and over again that they know their stuff. So whether you're familiar with one person or none on this bill, you’re basically guaranteed to have a good time at their eighth anniversary. Rapper Real3am headlines the show, bringing his smooth nighttime flows to Kelly’s side room venue. Eclectic poet/lyricist Nexus J. and outstanding soul singer Veana Baby are also featured, along with Leebo, DJ OG ONE, guest star Akira West, and of course, resident DJ Verbz slays on the boards, as always. (Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, Thurs Dec 1, 9 pm, $15-20, tickets here, 21+)


UPDATE 1:30 PM: This afternoon, we learned that the Fri Dec 2 Rakim show at the Crystal Ballroom has been cancelled. "Regrettably, I'm going to have to postpone my shows in Seattle, Portland and California this coming week," Rakim wrote to fans, via his promoter. "I broke my foot at a concert about 10 days ago and the doc is saying I still need to rest it for at least a few more days. We thought about setting up a chair and pushing through the show, but that's not the experience I want to give you all, so I'm going to fall back and come see everyone when I'm 100%. It's going to take a moment to reschedule, so for now refunds are available at point-of-purchase and we'll get word out when the new dates are confirmed."

ORIGINAL POST 10 AM: It’s not every day you get the chance to enjoy a true blast from the past, that also stands the test of time. Golden age MC Rakim is almost universally accepted as one of the pioneers of rap as we know it today. Many credit him for inventing the concept of “flow,” and marking the move to conceptual and complicated pre-written rhymes—as opposed to improvised, simpler ending ones. All this, along with his massive success, as both a solo artist and as one half of the legendary DJ/MC duo Eric B and Rakim, has cemented him as one of the most influential artists of all time. In 2016, the game-changing duo announced their reunion and even teased fans about a tour, but it’s basically been crickets ever since. Who knows if that reunion will happen, or if Rakim will be performing any tracks off their 1987 debut Paid In Full, which is an absolute classic. Hosted by Portland hip-hop DJ and radio personality DJ Klyph, this show will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rakim’s 1997 album, The 18th Letter. Portland hip-hop veterans like Cool Nutz, DJ Fatboy, as well as DJ OG One share the bill. (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, Fri Dec 2, 8 pm, $32-45, tickets here, all ages)


Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

J.I.D and Smino

Atlanta rap star J.I.D and St. Louis singer / rapper Smino both share the stage and perform separately for this co-headliner stop on their Luv is 4 Ever Tour—the name a mashup of J.I.D’s excellent The Forever Story, and Smino’s recent Luv 4 Rent. Between the two, J.I.D. may be the bigger draw. In 2018, he was in XXL Magazine’s Freshman Class of 2018, then signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label, before joining EarthGang’s Spillage Village music collective. Check out his recent appearance on Tiny Desk Concert for an idea of what his bouncy, poignant tracks are like in the flesh. On a local note, J.I.D also worked with Portland rap queen Wynne on “Ego Check,” the lead single from her 2019 debut If I May.... But while we gush about J.,I.D, there's no denying that Smino is also a very charismatic performer, and a member of two super groups: Zoink Gang (with J.I.D), and Ghetto Sage. We don't generally recommend sold out shows, but this may be the one to StubHub, if you can’t fight the FOMO. Check in with the merch table to see if Smino’s slinging any of those ingenious satin-lined hoodies. (Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th, Thurs Jan 26, 8pm, sold out, all ages)