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FRIDAY & SATURDAY
De La Soul (pictured) has been just mildly productive since making hiphop tuneful enough to whistle to with 1989’s landmark 3 Feet High and Rising. But the group’s apparent lack of ambition has always been part of its allure, one rooted in a lyrical approach that sidesteps revolutionary siren calls in favor of person-to-person goof sessions/confessionals. As if making up for lost time, the trio’s latest, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, is Volume One in a planned trilogy. A sampler of the record’s wares suggests that the Long Island bohos may have escaped former producer Prince Paul’s shadow with a groove to call their own. Few hiphop records in recent memory deliver as much by exploring the pliability of unencumbered beats, and these veterans’ rhymes are still alternately sharp, witty, and boastful for all the right reasons. Chicago rapper Common has a tendency to speak from a soapbox, but at a time when the MC of the moment is a gun-toting white guy who hates homosexuals almost as much as he hates himself, his message-laden deep-soul jams are understandably hard to deny. The articulate pro-lifer rounds out a tour bill that also includes Pharoahe Monch, Biz Markie, Hi-Tek, and former Mos Def foil Talib Kweli. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 393-0930. (Brett Anderson)