We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



The Cornel West Theory would like to hit you with some heavy shit. But just as you’re starting to catch up to the faith-inflected lyrics delivered by the local hiphop act’s main MC—whose flow is pushed against rather than pushed by the beats—someone makes a blast of noise in the left channel and buries the words. At least that’s the way it goes on “The Assimilationist,” one track from the band’s Web site. It’s all very Anticon (sans the hooks) and creepy, with disembodied, reverbed guitar tracks swirling around slow-rolling beats, and whoever’s on lyric duty going more or less solo. The result isn’t all that far from a poetry reading. Minus the awfulness. The Cornel West Theory plays with Hand Fed Babies at 9 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $5. (202) 667-7960. (Mike Kanin)