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“It’s bigger than hip HOP! Hip HOP!,” spits rap duo Dead Prez on probably its best-known track to date. The song prodded some of the genre’s weak spots (materialism, fake thuggery) and went after critics who blamed the subculture for societal ills. But that was in 2000, on Dead Prez’s first album Let’s Get Free; since then, MCs M-1 and stic.man have chilled out a bit. Tonight, they headline Howard Theatre’s “Black August” show, featuring a variety of socially conscious acts including local favorites Gods’illa, Farafina Kan, and Maimouna Youssef. Read more >>> Dead Prez performs with Maimouna Youssef, Martin Luther, Gods’illa, and Farafina Kan at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $20–$25. (202) 803-2899.  thehowardtheatre.org.


Lovers of barbecue, Jewish deli food, and Johnny Cash tunes, rejoice. DGS Delicatessen will be serving up all three tonight for its “Smokin’ at the Deli” event (sponsored by City Paper and Genesee Cream Ale). The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature dishes like 12-hour smoked brisket, harissa hot wings, pastrami baked beans, and schmaltzy braised greens. DGS Delicatessen. 1317 Connecticut Ave. NW. (202) 293-4400. dgsdelicatessen.com. (Sarah Kaplan)


Nova Y. Payton, who blew audiences away with her performance in Signature Theatre’s 2012 production of Dreamgirls, returns to the company’s Shirlington stage for a cabaret performance. 8 p.m. at 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $25.

El Gusto performs at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater; the orchestra of Jewish and Muslim Algerian musicians recently reunited after 50 years. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.

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