Mike Jones, Paul Wall | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mike Jones, Paul Wall 

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One of the strangest recent trends in hip-hop is the popularity of the Bad Rapper. Making a joke out of every element at the core of MCing, the Bad Rapper will, among other things, rhyme a word with itself, write clunky lines that mock the whole concept of flow, and rely on catchphrases rather than ideas. But when the Bad Rapper in question has an almost autistic fixation on Houston hip-hop cliches, gives out his real phone number on platinum-plus songs because his grandma said he ought to, and raps under the name MIKE JONES--which he hollers every ten seconds in random outbursts of self-admiration--it's so endearing that only the most die-hard crank can't love it. --Miles Raymer

Houston rap artists have been making a habit of outperforming each other lately, but PAUL WALL's hustle is absolutely relentless. He started out working on street teams for labels like Cash Money while barely in his teens, and since then he's networked his way into MC and production work on something like 30 Swishahouse releases. Since The Peoples Champ (Atlantic) dropped last year, "Sittin' Sidewayz" has yet to disappear from our collective radio-fed consciousness, and he's used cameos with Kanye West, Ashanti, and Nelly to plug his side racket, Grills by Paul Wall, whose clientele includes Slim Thug, Fat Joe, and Kelis. A new album is reportedly coming out by the end of the year, and VH1 recently ordered a pilot for a Paul Wall reality show. But perhaps most spectacularly, he's the first white rapper who hasn't had to answer for being white. --Jessica Hopper

This show is part of Dub magazine's Custom Auto Show & Concert. The lineup from headliner down: Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Jin, Burst Rock, the Beat Junkies. Sun 7/2, Noon, McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312-791-6300 or dubmagazine.com/dubshow, $20. All ages.

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