The Team declares "It's Gettin' Hot"; rappers Guru and Kool Keith get smooth and batshit crazy, respectively

Even with groups like Federation and the Frontline garnering international attention for a new generation of Bay Area hip hop, it's still a hard sell for rap artists from here to get national airplay on the radio and video networks -- especially when they're on an independent label. So it's a darn shame that the rest of the country hasn't gotten the pleasure of hearing "It's Gettin' Hot" from the Team , for it is at least as strong a club jam as anything rotating on the major urban airwaves. KMEL has been rocking the song all year (and played the group's "I'm on One," with its local club references, early in '05), which has helped drive sales of the East Oakland squad's album, The Negro League, in local circles. What's striking is that, even after so many days in rotation, the song, with its seductively dark bass line and almost-sung rap delivery, is still catchy. The Team and Crown City Rockers open for Zion I on Friday, Sept. 16, at the Fillmore; call 346-6000 or visit for more info.

Sal Principato of Liquid Liquid (whose early-'80s underground hit "Cavern" was swiped almost lock, stock, and barrel for Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel's seminal hip hop anthem "White Lines") and Detroit's Brendan M. Gillen (aka BMG, who's also known as Ectomorph) have recently formed a long-distance partnership called Electric Skin!!!, the punctuation of which tells you how darn excited they are about it. Live, Principato is a master at bewitching audiences with his hypnotic, improvised vocals, and he'll probably also have congas or something else to rattle as people shake their tail feathers to BMG's deep crates of proto-disco, machine funk, and other surprise jams. Local dub/techno/funk outfit Tussle and DJ Tom Thump join the festivities as promoters Sex/Money/Freaks present Electric Skin!!! on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Rickshaw Stop; call 861-2011 or visit for more info.

The rapper Guru, best known as one-half of Gang Starr with DJ Premier, recently struck out on his own with a solo album and a new producer/label partner in Solar. The pair released the album Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures on their newly formed 7 Grand Records, which obviously doesn't have the same resources that Virgin Records provided Gang Starr. But that's no bother to Guru, who created 7 Grand in response to feeling stifled by his major-label contract. And it should be no bother to fans, as Version 7.0 doesn't fall far from the Gang Starr tree. Joining Guru on his latest tour, Kool Keith is the most brilliant hip hop nut-pervert we know, constantly dismantling music industry bullshit with songs like "Can't F**k Wit This" (from his new album, The Lost Masters, Vol. 2), which eviscerates the on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes payola scandals of a major New York urban radio station. The Lost Masters comprises all-new material that Keith produced entirely himself for the first time, and since his pimp- and alien-informed flows are what we've come to expect from the intergalactic mack, his raw and sometimes almost punk beats here are an ear-opening surprise. These two very different talents from the East Coast unite on one bill on Sunday, Sept. 18, at the DNA Lounge; call 626-1409 or visit for more info.

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