De La Soul For Ventura County hip-hop fans, this is quite a week. How often does our sleepy little burgh get not one, not two, but three of the most progressive artists from any genre, let alone from rap, a musical world in which true innovation is as rare as a white buffalo? Back in the late ’80s, De La Soul was just such an anomaly. Sporting a bugged-out bohemian image and a colorful, almost psychedelic sound built upon carefully layered samples and a wicked sense of humor, the Long Island trio was an oasis in a desert of increasingly hard-edged gangsta rap when they dropped their infinitely classic debut, 3 Feet High & Rising, in 1989. Though things darkened with subsequent releases De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High, the group has always been ahead of the curve, gleefully irreverent, smarter than most. And as if it weren’t enough having those still recording and touring legends in the house at the Canyon on April 4, hip-hop’s cultural gatekeeper, KRS-One, is opening! This is a show not to be missed.
Slum Village Speaking of shows not to be missed, Slum Village rolls into the Oceanview Pavilion in Port Hueneme on March 30. In 1998, all underground hip-hop heads anxiously awaited the arrival of Fantastic Vol. 2, by a Detroit trio featuring beats by visionary producer Jay Dee. The pre-release hype was massive. Then it dropped, and the album lived up to its title. The record, laced with Dilla’s smooth, minimalist production and the schizophrenic rhymes of T3, Baatin and Jay Dee himself, formed an instant classic among fans of so-called “alt-rap.” Since then, things have changed — Baatin went nuts and, tragically, Dee succumbed to lupus last year — but SV is still around, with T3 and relative newbie Elzhi on the mic, and still dropping hip-hop light years beyond what most everybody else is doing.
Confessions of a Monster Armed with rollicking drums, blitzkrieg standup bass and “a voice to wake the dead,” Confessions of a Monster doesn’t fit into any particular category too comfortably. Some may call it psychobilly — that mutant mash-up of punk and ’50s rockabilly — but, in practice, this local female-fronted trio (two women, one guy) incorporates a spirit and a fervor entirely of its own design. Categorize them however you want, but there’s one thing for sure: They’re quickly making headway on becoming the best band in the county. See for yourself at Billy O’s along with Johnny Cash tribute act the Cash Prophets on March 31.