Speaking strictly for myself, I'm having a bastard of a time trying to figure out what the best local hip-hop debut CD of the year isa dilemma that this show only worsens. On the one hand, you have M.anifest: As he's the headliner of the showa CD-release party for his new record, Manifestationsall eyes should be on him, and deservedly so. The Ghana-born, Minneapolis-residing MC has an ideal combination of Afrocentric philosophy, sharp wit, and slippery, agile flow that makes him the Twin Cities' potential analogue to your favorite Native Tongues MC. (Plus the beats are so sick the producers had to wear biohazard suits.) On the other hand, there's show openers Big Quarters, two years removed from their City Pages cover and about four months past dropping the CD that justified it. I've already expounded on their quality in a previous A-List (key phrases: "classicist yet out-there production," "smartly-deliver[ed] politics more personal than preachy," "all-time Minnesota rap top 10"). But whose debut rocks the most? It's a hard choice but these are the kinds of hard choices we should feel lucky to face. With Maria Isa.
Fri., Sept. 14, 9 p.m.