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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The scenario at Saturday's Holiday Rap Karaoke Party

Posted by on 11.14.12 at 02:00 PM

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It's sometimes hard to conceive of a time before struggling bar owners flocked to karaoke machines to prop up their businesses. Despite the omnipresence of these "empty orchestra" machines, though, there's a usually a dearth of good song selections, and I've often been hamstrung by karaoke machines that appear to rely heavily on the contents of the Now That's What I Call Music! series. (My barometer for a songbook's strength is whether or not it includes Electric Six's "Danger! High Voltage.")

Thank goodness for the folks who are addressing this admittedly minor problem. On Thu 11/15 Beauty Bar presents a punk karaoke night that doubles as a fund-raiser for next year's Chicago Zine Festival, and on Sat 11/17 Multikulti hosts what it's calling "The Holiday Rap Karaoke Party."

The event won't be just hip-hop heads doing their best to spit over over rap instrumentals; a handful of established MCs will perform between bouts of karaoke. Organizer J. Johari Palacio, who founded arts-marketing agency Perpetual Rebel and is a guest editor for Epitonic, built the show around touring NYC rapper PremRock, who performs with with Has-Lo. Palacio asked Psalm One to host, and she planted the idea of turning it into a rap karaoke event.

Psalm's cohost is local hip-hop artist Encyclopedia Brown, who's also providing the instrumentals for the karaoke portions of the evening. Palacio isn't sure exactly whose music will be available, but he's sure the list will include Jay-Z, Run-DMC, Nas, the Wu-Tang Clan, Slick Rick, Salt-n-Pepa, Gang Starr, EPMD, Snoop, A Tribe Called Quest, OutKast, and Kanye West.

The actual karaoke setup will be, in Palacio's words, "mega rudimentary"; all the lyrics will be projected from a MacBook onto a screen. Rudimentary or not, don't blame the setup if you can't keep up with Tribe's "Scenario." PremRock and Has-Lo, Pseudo Slang, and the inimitable Sharkula will perform throughout the evening, and a DJ will close things out; attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For more information e-mail Palacio at basis@perpetualrebel.com.

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.

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