Sign up for our free newsletter



D.C.’s answer to the Roots, 3LG finally has its Live at the State of the Union CD released, and like Illadelph’s finest, 3 Levels of Genius is at its best when things are raw rather than relaxed. Not raw like the comic ode to undies, “Drawers,” but chaotic like dark-hued vamps “It’s On,” “Rising Star,” and the album’s biggest gut-punch, “The Wheel.” But when the group’s four rugged rappers let the swishy sounds of pop-jazz soften their turf, as on “Sake of the Dollar” and “Day 2 Daily,” things become a little too group-huggy. Still, whatever the chordings, bassist Soopa Doopa holds down the bottom end with wit, when he doubles up his MC’s lines, and muscle, when he snaps off a bit of the funk for himself. Celebrate Live’s birth at its place of conception at 10 & 11:30 p.m. at State of the Union, 1357 U St. NW. $7. (202) 588-8810. (CP)