Eugene Weekly : Music : 8.2.07

Paid Their Dues
Indie hip hop fest brings the best

If you’re a hip hop fan, forget all the other big music festivals and super tours this summer — the Paid Dues Festival this Saturday at the Secret House Vineyard will feature virtually everyone who’s anyone in underground hip hop. Well, if you can scrounge up the scrill to hit the Paid Dues San Bernardino show, where it will combine with the Rock The Bells tour (Wu-Tang, Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, EPMD, The Roots, Nas, etc.) to form an indestructible hip hop Voltron, then that would be the ultimate. But considering this is just tiny old Eugene, the Paid Dues lineup should more than satisfy the local heads. The pool of talent is deep, so here are just a few artists who should not be missed:

Felt (Murs and Slug)

Living Legends: As a group, the Legends are still riding high off last summer’s collection of solo tracks, Legendary Music, Vol. 1. Considering that since the Living Legends first coalesced back in 1995 all the individual Legends members have gone on to forge successful solo careers, it makes sense that they would release an album of tracks from their individual solo projects. Legendary Music pretty much bitch-slapped all the Bay Area haters out there who wrote off the region after it birthed the now fading “hyphy” movement. Tracks like Murs’ party anthem “Love You Like This” and Sunspot Jonz’s infectious “Purple Kush” reaffirmed to the hip hop community at large that you can’t doubt the Bay, and you can’t forget the Legends.

Mr. Lif: The ever-outspoken Mr. Lif pretty much covered all available topical ground with his 2006 LP Mo’ Mega. The album ran the gamut of current politics (the pres to the feds), delved into Lif’s personal life (his deadbeat dad to his own scion), sniped the media (TV to the FCC) and even inserted a dose of comedy with skits like “Murz Is My Manager.” Lif’s all over the place, doing collaborations with everyone from Akrobatik to Edan, but as far as his own solo albums are concerned Lif hits the studio when he’s good and ready.

Brother Ali: Brother Ali makes a return visit to Eugene, after having just stopped by this May in support of his latest album The Undisputed Truth. But he’s always affable and a hero to many in the hip hop community — both for his pernicious flow and his valiant perseverance — so one’s never short of praise for Brother Ali. His lyrics, which often discuss his thoughts on race (a made-up classification system, according to Ali), his appearance (Ali is an albino) and his Muslim religion, have diversified the world of hip hop beyond boundaries that anyone really thought possible hitherto.       Living Legends, Slug, Sage Francis, Cage, Mr. Lif, Grouch and Eligh, Hanger 18, Blueprint and Luckyiam.PSC, Slug, Brother Ali, Felt (Murs and Slug)

2 pm Saturday, Aug. 4. Secret House Vineyard $25 adv., $30 door