In the typically background-work world of hip-hop production, AraabMuzik has become a front-and-center presence in a way that's surprised people who knew him only as a name in the liner notes of Dipset albums. Those tracks are notable, sure—the choppy Manfred Mann-boosted drive of "Curve" and the towering bounce-gone-rave of "Get It in Ohio" were easy high points of Cam'ron's '09 release Crime Pays—but his solo spotlight work is what's gotten exclamation points spilling all over the place. Last year's Electronic Dream was an audacious stab at transforming arena-sized Euro-house anthems into instrumental club-rap bangers, and it did so in ways that preserved its source material's euphoric highs while still giving them a hard-hitting pulse a bit ahead of the trance-infatuated Top 40 curve. And as a live act, he's miles above anyone in finding ways to turn MPC manipulation into a virtuosic performance showcase. He's not so much an introverted knob-twiddler as he is a hip-hop John Bonham, laying down propulsive breaks and jaw-dropping solos with equal flash. With Zed's Dead, XI. 18+.
Wed., Feb. 29, 8 p.m., 2012