Wu-tang Clan, Nas | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Wu-tang Clan, Nas

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The lineups in New York and California were more high--powered, but the Chicago installment of Rock the Bells is hard to complain about. Headliners WU-TANG CLAN may have peaked ten years ago, but even without ODB they're one of the most insanely awesome rap mobs on earth. Their set will probably include material from their weaker recent albums and the forthcoming 8 Diagrams, but they know not to ignore the classics. Also on the bill is NAS, who rediscovered his sweet spot with last year's Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam). After God's Son in 2002 he seemed to lose his way, releasing a series of slick commercial club jams and sprawling high-concept street tracks that were ultimately more confusing than anything else. But on Hip Hop Is Dead he sounds desperate to justify his reputation and prove he's still every bit the world-class shit talker people knew and loved. Maybe it isn't a classic on par with Illmatic, but it's good enough that I've almost forgiven him for "Oochie Wally." Almost. The entire lineup, headliner first: Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Talib Kweli, MF Doom, Pharoahe Monch, Immortal Technique, Slum Village featuring Phat Kat, David Banner, and Jedi Mind Tricks, with hosts Supernatural and Rahzel. For a review of Talib Kweli's new Eardrum, see Section 1. a 3 PM, Charter One Pavilion, 1300 S. Linn White Dr., Northerly Island at Burnham Harbor, 312-540-2000 or 312-559-1212, $41. A --Miles Raymer

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