What's a girl to do when out in Arizona for a long stretch? Host a hip-hop show, obviously.
Avra Kouffman on some of the best new releases.

The state famously condemned by Public Enemy as being slow to establish Martin Luther King Day got a bad rap. When Chuck D said 'the whole state's racist', he was exaggerating to get a point across.

Yeah, Arizona's full of snowbirds (old people who migrate South for the winter) and it's also got its share of mad New Agers ( it is home to the Immortalists, who think death is for other people.) But hey, a lot of us wanted Martin Luther King Day. And we're not all out cowboy dancing.

Check out these new releases...

Mykill Myers: It's Been A Long Time Coming (Blackberry/Ill Boogie 2000)

Mykill, the self-styled 'Hitchcock of Hip-Hop', isn't actually as scary as his name implies. In the liner notes, he thanks 'the Almighty most high' for 'instilling positive morals and values', and praises his wife as his 'better half'. A softie, then. But, good! Not all hip-hop has to be gangsta-based.

His best track by far is the stylish 'Wanna be an MC?' with Bumpy Knuckles (a.k.a. Freddie Foxxxx). The chorus goes 'You're fucking with real n###rs from hardcore grounds that carry burners: Mykill Myers and Bumpy Knucks, the money earners.' With backing cuts this insistent and kicking, if you hadn't read the liner notes, you would definitely believe 'em.

On most songs, Mykill flips some quick and clever rhymes. If his youth and relative inexperience do dog him, it's on the title track where he complains 'believe me, I been at it for a long time...it's been like a five, six year stretch' till he got his CD made. Honey, some people been waiting on labels much longer than that.


Bumpy Knuckles, Industry Shakedown (KJAC / Landspeed 2000)

A bit older and bolder is Bumpy Knuckles. He starts out 'If you can't rob me in the muthafucking street, you're not gonna rob me in no pussy-ass record industry'. Most tracks expand on this theme. This one-track-mindedness might get boring in lesser hands, but Bumpy's got style to spare.

His CD comes with a little book of cartoon-Bumpy's adventures and production help from the godlike DJ Premier. Bumpy is serious when he needs to be, while staying relaxed enough to goof around. He tells rivals 'You got a better chance of kickin' down a tree with no legs/ doin' a handstand on two eggs (muthafucka)... I ain't afraid to dis another MC / but ask him if he's scared to dis me... he'll probably start saying his throat hurts, his mom's sick, with a bad knee.'

Words of wisdom from the tuffest, slyest dude since Mr T. A keeper.

Also worth digging for:
'Tried by 12" (East Flatbush Project)
Ghost Writer (Mad Skillz)
Keep It Movin' (Saukrates)
Non-Phixion's They Got (it starts out 'They got extra-terrestrials living in Arizona.' Humph.)




Saf Sees Iggy
Saf checks out an exhibition of Iggy Pop pictures at the Scala club in London


The Runaways By Joe Pop
Sequins, eyemakeup, bitchiness. Joe Pop is in girl-group heaven



Le Tigre: They're Grrrrrrrrreat!
No drummer, just a dat, some samples, and three kick-ass muscians /art activists. Yay!


Win Bellatrix CDs!

A Bellatrix swag-bag to the first person to tell us where in London Bellatrix bought a house. (Clue: it's so not Camden!)




R O C K  F A C T O I D

The boys in Steps earn twice as much as the girls do. Nice one, ladies!