Thug life with Mobb Deep

Two of Southern California's most talented hip-hop groups (Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples), its top DJ crew (Beat Junkies), and the area's most astonishingly versatile MC (Supernatural) are teaming up to help a friend defray medical costs. L.A.-based graphic artist Keith Tamashiro, who is recovering from a brain aneurysm, has been the beneficiary of a series of parties in L.A. under the I See You banner. This show will be a particularly good occasion for J5 fans to get a taste of the new album, Feedback, due out July 25. The former sextet is now a quintet (MCs Akil, Chali 2na, Zaakir aka Soup, Marc 7, and DJ Nu-Mark) following the departure of DJ Cut Chemist. Chemist will soon drop his first (sublime) solo album The Audiences' Listening; he joins this stellar lineup with a special DJ set on Friday, May 26, at Mezzanine at 7 p.m. Admission is $75; call 625-8880 or visit for more info.

DJ Vadim has built an impressive career on the Ninja Tune label over the past decade. The Russian expat/London resident has moved slightly away from his beginnings in abstract instrumental grooves and toward working with hip-hop MCs and even spoken word poets — he set Sarah Jones' controversial “Your Revolution” to music. Vadim's current project is One Self, which also comprises Swedish singer Yarah and New York rapper Blu Rum 13. The group's debut album, Children of Possibility, is as pure as it is intricate, Bravo and Blu bending words to their whims and harmonizing beautifully (Children also comes with instrumental versions of the tracks). Expect an easy-going mélange of stirring soul, bottom-heavy funk, and sharp-edged hip hop when One Self performs on Saturday, May 27, at Bottom of the Hill at 10 p.m. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit for more info.

The new video for “Put 'Em in Their Place,” the single from Mobb Deep's recent Blood Money, envisions the group as larger-than-life gangsters in a sinister Big Apple that's been rendered in shades of red and black. From the Queensbridge projects of New York, the duo of Havoc and Prodigy has always cultivated a gritty street image ever since its Juvenile Hell debut, but the recent signing to 50 Cent's G-Unit Records has helped turbo-boost that concept into superhero territory. Not all hard-core fans are feeling the slickness of Blood Money, but it's hard to deny these two a new level of fame after so many years of being imitated by others. Mobb Deep makes a rare San Francisco appearance on Sunday, May 28, at Mezzanine at 9 p.m. Admission is $30; call 625-8880 or visit for more info.

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