2

FRIDAY

Producer Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind and MC Vinnie Paz, collectively known as Jedi Mind Tricks, are difficult. Not in the “I want only green Gummy Bears in my dressing room!” sense but in the hard-to-process one. Although the Philadelphia duo appears to be like every other relatively obscure crew on the scene—strange, scruffy, and science-fiction-obsessed—the two make rugged hiphop, not trippy outsider replica-rap crap. Stoupe’s dark, haunting RZA-esque production and the hardcore lyrics of gruff MC Vinnie Paz—who references everything from Sidney Sheldon novels to Islamic law in his rhymes—have all the makings of novelty horror-core but manage to remain eminently listenable. JMT is interesting enough to have caught the attention of such mainstream heroes as Kool G Rap and the GZA, but the guys themselves are still about as underground as you can get if you have an album out. They’re a hiphop enigma, to be sure, but though understanding them is complicated, enjoying them is a no-brainer. Put on those thinking caps when Jedi Mind Tricks play with Sean Price, RA the Rugged Man, and Reef the Lost Cauze at 10 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 397-7328. (Sarah Godfrey)