Z-Trip | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Phoenix, Arizona, may seem a more likely haven for retirees than b-boys, but the desert sprawl has coughed up at least one great latter-day hip-hop DJ. Z-Trip broke out in 1995 with the vinyl-fetishist polemic "U Can Get With Discs or U Can Get With DAT," his contribution to Bomb Hip-Hop Records' first Return of the DJ compilation. But he really came into his own on that disc's sequels: Return of the DJ Vol. II featured his "Private Parts," a collaboration with Radar bookended by what sounded like lengthy samples from PSAs warning kids about sexual abuse, and "Rockstar," which chopped up Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and Van Halen's "Eruption" into block-rocking breaks. For "Rockstar II," on Vol. III, he tossed an a cappella vocal from Robert Plant over a Slayer riff, and ended the tune with a cheeky Smash Mouth sample ("Hey now, you're a rock star"). For a brief stint in the late 90s, Z-Trip also wrecked the decks for Stormtroopers of Death, an over-the-top Anthrax side project. But the work that's consolidated his status among hip-hop fans is 2000's self-released Uneasy Listening, Volume 1, a two-DJ mix that teamed him with D.J.P from Springfield, Missouri. The disc's dynamic tomfoolery--the Tubes' "She's a Beauty" spun over Herbie Hancock's "Rockit," Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" melded with Del the Funky Homosapien's "Phoney Phranchise"--is almost enough to warrant the superhero costumes Z-Trip sometimes wears onstage. At this sold-out show he'll open for Adema, Cypress Hill, and Linkin Park. Friday, February 1, 7:30 PM, UIC Pavilion, 1150 W. Harrison; 312-413-5740 or 312-559-1212.

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