Cut Chemist puts a new spin on the art of the sonic collage

Taking a hands-off approach to releasing rock-solid indie artists, Stones Throw Records got down to the forward-minded business of never fakin' the funk. Now the label (home to Madlib, MF Doom, J. Dilla, more) celebrates 10 years since being founded by DJ/producer Chris " Peanut Butter Wolf" Manak, whose open-ended aesthetic and outer-fringe tastes have remained within a stone's throw of primo talent, from psychedelic funk revivalists to underground hip hop and other complementary breaks. In honor of both a decade of deep beat diggin' and also the Chrome Children CD/DVD collaboration with [Adult Swim], PB Wolf hits the road with Madlib, J Rocc, and Percee P, plus special guests. Hit the Mezzanine on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 9 p.m. for sets of blunted and juggled dusty groove genius and bedrock-sturdy prime rhyme inspection. Admission is $15; call 625-8880 or visit for more info. Tony Ware

The future of underground hip hop and electronic music is looking very bright these days, thanks to the likes of Los Angeles' Thavius Beck, whose new album, Thru, was recently released by Mush Records. No newcomer to the scene, the seasoned beat technician's 10th solo record features cameos by Saul Williams, 2Mex, and Nocando, who laces the intensely personal "'98" with a story about his father's battle with cancer over Beck's skittering electro beat. Whether setting bubbling drum and bass rhythms against ambient sound-washes, or juxtaposing Mia Doi Todd's softly meandering vocals against some glass-shatter samples, classical music, and hip-hop boom-bap, Beck diverges from the rank and file legions of rap to blaze his own trail. Soak up the anti-pop when he appears on Friday, Oct. 20, at BOCA at 9 p.m. Admission is $10-12; call 777-4278 or visit for more info. Jonah Flicker

L.A. scratch kingpin Cut Chemist has been rocking crowds since the early '90s, years before he and DJ Shadow teamed up for the seminal and sampladelic Brainfreeze. Chemist spent most of his time behind the decks with old-school throwback crew Jurassic 5 before departing this past year, and it's on his own that he truly shines. His first major-label release, The Audience Is Listening, rivals Dave Chappelle in its block-party appeal. The Chemist utilizes a flurry of craftily pieced-together samples to comprise his beats, eschewing the more atmospheric soundscapes of producers like RJD2. True to his name, this production scientist has mastered the formula of never allowing guest MCs to distract from the mélange of cut-and-paste maneuvers and hip-hop history that goes into his work. Cut Chemist brings the ruckus on Friday, Oct. 20, and Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $25; call 771-1421 or visit for more info. — Jonah Flicker

Xzibit was just another hard-edged L.A. rapper with a half-decent buzz about him until Pimp My Ride made him the latest to cross that (sometimes not-too-wide) divide between gangster and cuddly buddy. It's easy to forget that this genial TV host is first and foremost an MC with a powerful delivery and an ear for good beats. S.F.'s San Quinn is one of the best rappers in the Bay Area; fittingly, Mr. Q opens for "X-to-the-Z" (who dropped new album Full Circle this week) on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Slim's at 9 p.m. Admission is $18; call 255-0333 or visit for more info. Tamara Palmer

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