In the last 15 months, Ecid's given us not one but three albums, including 2009's high-concept exercise in narrative rap Red Beretta and a teamup with SoCal's AWOL One earlier this year. But the breakneck release-date pace he started back in 2002 has proven to be more of a workout than a burnout for Ecid, and the third album in his busy year-and-a-quarter is where he hits his stride. 100 Smiles & Runnin' (Fill in the Breaks) isn't a transitional EP like the first post-Ice Cube N.W.A release it knowingly lifts its title from: it's a brisk 14-track collaboration with labelmate/producer Arsenic that restyles the sample-rich classic rock/funk atmosphere of Beretta into a more first-person perspective. And while the dagger-stab flow and craftsman's statement-of-purpose lyrics ("I'll drive 500 miles for these bitter rap kids/as long as a couple can relate to my Midwest madness") should be familiar turf to indie-rap lifers, the real relatability is in Ecid's tendency to wax self-aware without falling into self-indulgence. With Carnage the Executioner, Kristoff Krane, Span Phly, DJ Pseudonym, David Mars. 18+
Fri., June 18, 10 p.m., 2010
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