Busdriver | Spotlight | Indy Week
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Life trip


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Busdriver is a Los Angeles rapper who was born into hip hop: His father wrote the screenplay for the 1985 hip-hop label fable, Krush Groove, and Busdriver's style—self-conscious rollercoaster rhymes delivered in the joyous, goofy lilt of a black indie Eminem, schooled by KRS-One but channeling Biz Markie—is indicative of someone who's been at this awhile. His flow's windy and frenetic, like a Hollywood chase scene through the streets of San Francisco, and it glows with fierce intelligence and hair-singeing wit, studded like a rebellious teen with plentiful pop culture references and stinging social satire. It can be thick and dense and difficult, but it's a lifetime in the making.

On "Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia is the Sport of Now)," for instance, Busdriver tells hippie activists that "smearing a salad on an SUV can't save the black faces at the refugee camp." He offer the kids advice on "Imaginary Places," balancing sardonic input with offbeat absurdity: "If you want to piss off your parents show interest in the arts ... If you really want to piss off your parents, buy real estate in an imaginary place."

Like 2005's skewering of the music biz, Fear of a Black Tangent, Busdriver's latest, RoadKillOvercoat, pumps more venom than Dick Cheney's heart. The targets range from the aforementioned hippies to the fakers and hypocrites ("Pompous Posies! Your Party's No Fun"). He blasts societal indifference and soul-deadening consumerism, and reserves his surest shots (like most of the hip-hop underground) for a biz that wants "someone lowbrow, a philistine with iron-on irony for Viacom's white honkies."

Such manic intensity can mean patience and repeated listens are required to tease out the meanings. But Busdriver's whiplash wording, deft delivery and unending enthusiasm make those trips worth taking.

Busdriver, Daedelus and ANTIMC perform at Local 506 Friday, Nov. 9, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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