DJ Shadow (a.k.a. Josh Davis) is the most overrated beat-splicer in the turntable trade. Last fall, though, those of us at the Quest had the privilege to see him come damn close to living up to his giant rep. Shadow spun a DJ set that made the long, pretentious intricacies of his artier grooves ready for the sweatiest dancing and also made the simplest old-school throwdowns sound like timeless works of art. And he was joined by Latyrx, a crew comprising MCs Lateef and Lyrics Born, two of the most overlooked MCs in the hip-hop arena, whose tag-team tongue twisters were as dexterously unreal as Shadow's cutting. Both Shadow and Latyrx are linchpins of the Left Coast hip-hop underground, a slightly nostalgic revitalization of old-school values. In honor of the retro esprit, baggy-pantsed kids kicked out earnest break-dance moves that were older than they were. And despite these historical-minded trappings, it seemed like we were all dancing in no time but the present.


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