Think of this gig as a hip-hop reclamation project, bringing the genre back to its roots. That's what the Aboriginals are all about. Songs come out in body-moving beats, with tight production and thoughtful lyrics. Substance, real substance, which has been MIA in hip-hop, turns up in abundance in this trio of two MCs and a DJ.

Houston could use the props of such a heady ensemble. Every major rap act that drops by our swamp validates the town's burgeoning scene. The Aboriginals' appearance is especially sweet because with its May releases, Number Theory and Renaissance, both on Mecca Life, the act has established itself among the elite ranks of the up-and-coming hip-hoppers.

And unlike a lot of rap, the Aboriginals are fun. "Renaissance" is a piece about the true form of hip-hop, while "Try These" relates the corny things in life that people enjoy. A radical departure from the groups only concerned with drugs, guns and the exploitation of women, the Aboriginals are looking to promote hip-hop as an avenue of positive expression. Not only does the trio promise big things, it delivers.

Houston acts will also make appearances. Food for Thought will perform along with other local talents Hafenhaff and Southwest Hemp Academy. The decks will feature Ceeplus of the Mathmatech Turntablists, with break-dancers Koro, plus Witness, Steel and Mr. Grinch.

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Elizabeth Taishoff