Futurecop!, Theophilus London, Keith Masters, Rainbo Video | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc, Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader

Futurecop!, Theophilus London, Keith Masters, Rainbo Video Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Tue., March 3, 9:30 p.m. 2009

With his geek-chic style, New York rapper Theophilus London might look like he belongs in a class with tight-pants new jacks like the Cool Kids and Kid Cudi, but his music bears only a passing resemblance to theirs. The superficial cheekiness of his current release, This Charming Mixtape—its title references the Smiths and its cover spoofs Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model—doesn’t really prepare you for the weirdness in its guts. London’s rhymes are often befuddling (“The trees were made on the earth for us to breathe / You’re a chick or a breeze / You’re a cough, I’m a sneeze”) and tend to arrive a hair in front of the beat or just behind it, in a playful, ducking-and-dodging flow that reminds me of Lupe or even, at its most far-out, Kool Keith; his soulful, slightly grainy voice somehow sounds both breathless and laid-back. He has a serious thing for Egyptian Lover-style electro-funk, but for a good chunk of the mix he jacks beats from places other MCs fear to tread, working in bits of everything from Amadou & Mariam to Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You.” It’s a little uneven, but true to its name it’s charming as hell. Futurecop! headlines; London, Keith Masters, and Rainbo Video open. —Miles Raymer

Price: $8

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