"There comes a time when a man has one choice/Leave it all behind or design a new voice," Ecid snarls in "The Revolution Is a T-Shirt," one of several standout tracks on his new CD, Red Beretta. Ecid's long since taken that latter route in establishing himself as one of the Twin Cities' finest when it comes to stress rap, combining a sharply bitter outlook with the kind of lyrical clarity many underground MCs lack. Yet his latest album takes that voice and expands it outward, stretching over a sprawling, character-based concept record that relates the intersecting lives of a fading jazz musician, a family wracked with domestic violence, and the titular weapon-holder strung out on delusions of revenge killing. Red Beretta's beats are drenched in cinematic acid rock and soul jazz, and infused with a striking bleakness that makes it Ecid's most harrowing and evocative production work as well as a lyrical tour de force. Expect it to be an even more intense experience in person. With Kristoff Krane. 18+.
Sat., March 21, 9 p.m., 2009