Typically this time of year cues songs about a certain jolly fat man, jingling bells, and yuletide cheer.
But for The Grouch, the winter season means it’s time to saddle up with his bag of goodies for his annual Christmas tour, spreading his message of peace, good will, and thumpin’ beats.
This is the story of How The Grouch Stole Christmas, the annual indie-hip-hop show from an offshoot of the Living Legends rap collective.
Now in its sixth year, How The Grouch Stole Christmas continues The Grouch’s campaign as a positive force in hip-hop’s underground, riding the momentum of his last studio offering, the Zion 1 collaboration, “Heroes in the Healing of the Nation.”
The followup to “Heroes in the City of Dope,” “Heroes in the Healing of the Nation” features appearances by a sprawling cast of guests, including jazz legend Roy Ayers, Jacob Hemphil from Soju, Casual from Hieroglyphics, Fashawn, and Los Rakas and Eric Rahmney from Rebelution, who all help enhance the overall uplifting and rounded flavor of the album.
On songs such as “Be a Father,” Roy Ayers’ vibes lighten the sobriety of the subject matter, and is a counterweight to the whimsical and humorous “I Used to be a Vegan.” Meanwhile the lilting children’s chorus chants on “Be a Leader” is an about-face to the thrashing punk rock guitar-laden title cut.
Lyrically, The Grouch (aka Corey Scoffern) runs head-on into socio-political content without being overly preachy. This Living Legends co-founder does it with a mixed genre of hip-hop and cultural multiplicity.
Astronautalis, Busdriver and Jel
When, where: Sunday at 7 p.m. at A Club, 416 W. Sprague Ave.
Cost: $12, through www.aclubspokane.com, all ages welcome
For more indie-hip-hop to heat up the weekend, head to A Club, where the Minneapolis- by-way-of-Florida rapper Astronautalis will deliver his abstract rhymes.
His latest release, “This Is Our Science,” finds the esoteric emcee exploring more relational material and delving deeper into his Fake Four Inc. label affiliation by collaborating with P.O.S., Doomtree, Sims, Cecil Otter, Lazerbeak, and Isaiah Toothtaker, as well as members of Midlake and Riverboat Gamblers.
Astronautalis is charting a similar course on his next album, which is being publicized as a duet set with P.O.S.
On this current tour, Astronautalis is musically matched with hyper-literate Los Angeles artist, Busdriver. Both emcees have an experimental sung-rap style that slides from boom-bap hard rhyming to borderline balladry.
Rounding out the bill is rapper/producer Jel, the beatsmith who produced tracks for Atmosphere, Sole, and Sage Francis.