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This Week in Rap: Cramming big hip-hop names into a single week 

click to enlarge Insert ego-stroking self reference.
  • Insert ego-stroking self reference.
Insert ego-stroking self reference.
The phenomenon of the multi-platinum, mega-famous rap star is somewhat of a dying trend, but you wouldn't know it by what's on the marquee at Midtown for next week. The venue is host to not just one large-scale rap show, but two in a row. It's former G-Unit member Young Buck headlining a "Hip-hop Comedy Jam" on Tuesday night, then three members of the storied rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony taking to the stage on Thursday night.

We've spilled a good amount of ink in the past couple of months about the influx in indie hip-hop making its way through town, we haven't done the same for the big-name, commercial acts like Young Buck and the Bone Thugs guys. This is largely because mainstream hip-hop acts don't stop off in town too often. But this isn't to say there isn't a want for these sort of tours. Hell, even if we're not all that urban, we can still get all crunked up when we find it necessary.

And both of these acts are steeped in quintessential rap folklore like rapper-to-rapper feuds and jail time. This is real, big-time rap music, sucka

The week of mega-rap begins with Young Buck, mostly known for his time as a member of 50-Cent's G-Unit, but just this April, 50-Cent went public with an announcement that Young Buck was no longer a member of the group. The fallout from the dismissal was nothing short of a rap music take on Days of Our Lives, with 50 recording a phone conversation between himself and Buck in which the recently ejected rapper broke down in tears. And, of course, this recording was leaked to the public.

But Buck is hardly sitting around, drowning in his tears. The Nashville rapper has again hit the road on his own, pumping out the same southern-style hip-hop that was his calling card on the G-Unit albums he appeared on. While the break-up with G-Unit and 50 Cent's largely ridiculous way of going about the severance might have been a rough go for Young Buck, there's a future for this guy. True to his name, he's only 27 years old and can easily make a post G-Unit career for himself.

Also on the bill with Young Buck is a long list of Northwest independent hip-hop artists including Breadwinna, Jay Barz, Reality's Image, Alias John Brown, Strik & Krusal as well as DJ Peg. The lineup is extensive, to say the least, and don't be surprised if this thing has more the feel of a rap festival than a mere tour stop, especially when Seattle comedian Ralph Porter takes the stage to give you a break between sets with some laughter.

Then, just two days later, a tour billed as the "Welcome Home Flesh-n-Bone Tour" featured three members of Grammy-award-winning Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (which is very much still active and working on a new record). The name of the tour pretty much tells the story, but for the less-savvy Bone Thugs fans out there, this string of shows is in celebration of Flesh-N-Bone's release from California's Pleasant Valley State Prison this summer. Flesh has been in the clink since 2000 when he was found guilty of threatening a friend with an assault riffle. Hey, at least he was living up to the "Thug" element of the group's name.

Although this show won't feature the full Bone Thugs crew, it is a chance to see Flesh as a free man at one of only 15 appearances on this special holiday tour. And you should expect a good slew of guest appearances to fill up the stage as well.

Hey it wouldn't be a quality high-profile hip-hop show without a crowded stage, now would it?

Hip-Hop & Comedy Jam, Featuring Young Buck

7pm doors, 8pm show. Tuesday, December 2. Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $25/advance, $28/door. Tickets at Ranch Records or Ocean Records in Redmond. All ages.

Bone Thugs-N-Family Tour, Featuring Bizzy Bone, Layzie Bone and Flesh-n-Bone

7:30pm doors, 8:30pm show. Thursday, December 4. Midtown Ballroom. $27.


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