P.O.S. | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Much of the outside attention paid to Minneapolis's burgeoning hip-hop scene has been focused on the success of Atmosphere, which has been both a help and a hindrance to Stef Alexander, better known as rapper P.O.S. He spent several years quite literally in the group's shadow, doing stints as their hype man and frequently opening shows to huge crowds, but P.O.S. didn't want to just be the guy doing props 'n' drops. He stepped out on his own almost two years ago with his self-released debut, Ipecac Neat, and his forthcoming album, Audition, is his first new one for the Twin Cities' premiere hip-hop label and collective, Rhymesayers. Audition references the multiple scenes Alexander rolls in: he's played drums in punk bands (Cadillac Blindside, Building Better Bombs, and a half dozen others), and he's a member of second- (or third-) tier art-rap family Doomtree (who Slug even mocks a bit in his cameo on Audition's "Bush League Psych Out Stuff"). The hooks hit hard, with a punchy punk temerity. And though his stuff sometimes veers into abstract, backpack-rap territory, he buoys it with unexpected juxtapositions: on "Safety in Speed (Heavy Metal)" he duets with the Hold Steady's Craig Finn, and on the live staple "P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life" he channels Trent Reznor on the chorus and Twista on the verses. That sounds poorly formulated on paper, but it's hella sick business when it's pumping out of a speaker--or better yet, out of the PA as he's stalking the stage. Sims, Mac Lethal, Serengeti, and DJ Haiku open. Thu 2/2, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+.

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