cLOUDDEAD, Labtekwon, Radioinactive and other Mush affiliates take the stage in support of abstract hip-hop that reveals more influence from indie-rock and avant-garde models than from flava-of-the-month commercial rappers.

As Aprils "Hip-Hop as a movement" conference on campus demonstrated, there's far more to rap music than doo-rags and thong songs that suffocate the mainstream. Positioned on the opposite end of the spectrum from whatever BET's airing right this moment, the California based Mush label traffics in indie-minded hip-hop with an abstract angle. This package tour of Mush affiliates will attempt to infect the Mad City with a dose of hip-hop's far-left wing.

The tour is highlighted by cLOUDDEAD, a Bay Area trio whose sound bears more of John Cage's influence that Dr. Dre's. Their self-described "shitty sampler music"-- a series of home-recorded experiments originally released on 10-inch vinyl's, later compiled on a self-titled CD-- consists of awkwardly rendered, nasal-voiced raps over shadowy dronescapes and the occasional tortured breakbeat. Due in part to the pure audacity of their approach, the trio have achieved a growing notoriety among fans of anti-establishment soundz; they've been hyped in Muzik and XLR8R and were named one of Alternative Press' "100 Bands You Need to Know" earlier this year.

Two other acts on the tour-- Reaching Quiet and Boom Bip & Doseone-- feature cLOUDDEAD members. On stage, all three incarnations favor live performance over prerecorded backing tracks. Bonus points there.

Baltimore native Labtekwon's hip-hop methodology is considerably more traditional; the veteran MC's old-school rhymes and sample-scored beats throw back to the day of KRS-One and A Tribe Called Quest. Nerdcore rapper Radioinactive rounds out a lineup that's sure to reshape the parameters of hip-hop as you know it.

Mush Records