Point Blank (11:40 pm) with belladonna (8:20 pm), politic live (9 pm), slaves to spanky (9:40 pm), specifics (10:20 pm), embassy (11 pm), tef & don (12:20 am) and no luck club (1 am) at the El Mocambo upstairs (464 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, March 4). $8. 416-777-1777. Rating: NNNNN
point blank say their name is self- explanatory. They listen to Ghostface Killah, Tupac and Biggie Smalls. But most importantly, Trouble, Kidd, Imperial, Stump, Jackal and Spanky - the MCs who make up the tough-as-shit sextet - rep their neighbourhood, Regent Park.
And they've been repping it since forming 10 years ago as the Poetic Vandals. They've known each other since elementary school days.
I met with them in a house at the south end of Regent Park, where they tersely spoke on various issues.
"We're bringing true-school knowledge to new-school heads," says the studious Spanky.
Trouble thinks new-school heads need schooling because of a prevalence of what he calls popcorn rap, the kind that's unwilling to address or reflect problems of poverty, crime and death.
Their sound, as evidenced on the singles Want It Wit Us and A Thin Line (you can see the latter on MuchMusic) is at once melancholic, violent and boisterous, aided by trend-savvy, low-budget and original beats from producer Pickhed. Yes, Pickhed. You can just call him Picky.
But don't call him at all, because he's busy in the lab cooking up crazy bass lines for these dudes to spit their lyrics onto. Though they remain an independent group, they've played shows with Rakim, OutKast and other huge names in the world of rap music and have sold almost 5,000 CDs on their imprint Tilt Rock Records at their performances.
Live, they give what Imperial describes as a voice for the streets. He also has a theory about who doesn't want it with Point Blank.
"Right now, nobody in Canada, in fact nobody in the world, wants it with Point Blank."