The Word: Chronicle’s guide to the SLC music scene

By By Makena Walsh

By Makena Walsh

Oct. 19The DeadbeatsMonk’s House of Jazz(19 E. 200 South)9 p.m.$5

Salt Lake City native Lance Saunders (aka Lokal) is a San Francisco art school graduate, concert promoter, co-founder of Raincloud Records, killer emcee and all-around nice guy. The busy Lokal is one-third of the aptly named The Deadbeats — Salt Lake City’s finest dark hip-hop trio. Its debut full-length, Recycled Obituaries, is a 20-track journey of epic proportions — rap’s answer to Homer’s Odyssey. Bask in Monk’s intimate environs and see the rumored impressive additions to The Deadbeat’s already awesome live show.

Oct. 20Fatlip and Tre Hardson (of Pharcyde)Uprok(342 S. State Street)6 p.m.$10

Providing an alternative to the West Coast’s early-’90s gangsta rap explosion, the Pharcyde paralleled the lighter-hearted De La Soul by employing humorous and playful lyrics over producer J-Swift’s jazzy beats to craft some of the era’s most defining hip-hop songs (“Passing Me By”). Because of internal conflict, member Fatlip left the group after its second studio album, Labcabincalifornia. Tre Hardson (SlimKid3) soon followed to pursue a solo career. Both artists have now released their own albums, Fatlip’s The Loneliest Punk and Tre’s Liberation, each adopting a more street-based persona for his solo effort.

Oct. 22Aesop RockRob SonicIn The Venue(579 W. 200 South)8 p.m.$15.50

A decade from now Aesop Rock’s grown-up devotees will be teaching his poetry to their English students. Aesop’s intellectually stimulating lyrics beg for literary comparison while defying rap convention. Of course, one cannot mention Aesop Rock’s name without that of his intimately connected label, Def Jux — the underground upstart that quickly recognized the Brooklyn native’s potential and has been releasing his rhetorical mind benders since 2001’s well-received concept album, Labor Days. If you think rap lyrics represent the shallowest form of written expression, Aesop Rock will change your mind.

Born in the seat of our nation’s government, Rob Sonic opted out of a promising political career to move to the city where dreams are either forged or shattered: New York. Ten-plus years of sheer hustle later, Rob’s hard work is about to pay off as his highly acclaimed 2004 debut, Telicatessen, has earned him a spot on Aesop Rock’s “None Shall Pass” tour. Rob’s pristine production is a result of his eclectic musical influences, which span blues, punk and rock ‘n’ roll and shine beneath Sonic’s penchant for clever, satiric lyricism.

You might recognize MC Chris’ voice from his cameo on Adult Swim’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” where his high-pitched whine was lent to Sir Loin, the philanthropic rapper who did it for the shorties. Such an appearance might seem strange for your average emcee, but it fits perfectly with Chris’ nerd panache. Spitting humorous rhymes about video games, “Star Wars” and candy, he’ll have you nodding your head even while you grab your sides. It’s not all fun and games, however, as the vertically challenged New Yorker reaches some genuinely difficult cadences and ingeniously crafted choruses on his journey to nerd-rap supremacy.

[email protected]