SEPTEMBER 16

Alas, I’m no longer surprised when today’s funkiest neck noddin’ beats come appended to the latest boy- or girl-group crooners. Blame it on mass appeal, but rap’s continuing synthesis into the sonorous subterfuge of smooth, R&B-based butter beats has resulted in much Parkay—which is why Guru’s Jazzmatazz Volume II—The New Reality is so revelatory. It offers aggressive beats, all the while serving up more structure and melody than the average saccharine embellishment masquerading as song. Guru drops so much measured lyrical weight and insight that you forgive him for the verse’s too-high “I” quotient. Guru’s backed by a formidable six-piece band that includes Dr. Donald Byrd (trumpet) and London-based guitar sensation Zachary Breaux. Vanessa Daou opens at 10 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 930 F St. NW. $20. (202) 393-0930. (Bobby Hill)

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