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Casual Tuesday 

by Ben Cater & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & W & lt;/span & ho is Paul McCartney without the Beatles? Sting without the Police? How about Ad-Roc without Beastie Boys counterparts Mike D and MCA? This is the sort of question local hip-hop heads will ponder as they prepare to see Casual from the Hieroglyphics crew at Fat Tuesday's on Tuesday.

Hieroglyphics is an Oakland-based rap group whose increasing popularity is making it difficult to tag them as underground hip-hop anymore. To give you some idea of how big they're getting, an Internet search for "hieroglyphics" yields more links to info about the group than to items concerning the Egyptian carvings they were named for. Founded in 1998 by one of the industry's most prolific artists, Del the Funky Homosapien, they produced the album Third Eye Vision. After pursuing their own respective solo projects, they followed up with the appropriately titled Full Circle in 2003.

Three years later, we see a familiar pattern repeating as Hieroglyphics members are once again on the warpath, touring individually. Fortunately for us, this year their hip-hop campaigns are diverging well off Interstate 5. While cities along that corridor (Portland, Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver) have long been spoiled by the best the industry has to offer, the increasing support for hip-hop in cities like Spokane, Missoula, and Bozeman has not gone unnoticed among booking agencies. As evidence, a different arm of the Hieroglyphics organism, Souls of Mischief, already passed through town earlier this month.

It seems that the hip-hop gods are beginning to smile on Spokane. So there's no use being finicky about seeing Casual without the rest of the Hieroglyphics crew. At the very least, we'll be able to witness some solo performances. Is the sum of the individual parts greater than the whole? That's an open question, and one that's usually not answered because it's rare for a crew that's touring separately to hit the same towns. It happens once in a while, but Spokane's never been so lucky to host that kind of experiment. What's the worst that could happen -- getting to see Del rip it up here as well? It might persuade a reunited Hiero to hit town next time they tour together. That's not such a bad place to be.

Casual at Fat Tuesday's with Planet Asia, Flii Stylz, DJ E-Rock, and Locke with partner James Two on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7 pm. Tickets: $9. Visit or call 325-SEAT.
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