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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & W & lt;/span & ith so many emcees who can't muster a decent flow, let alone make their own beats, it's nice to see a guy who's so entrenched in producing beats and just general music geekery that he works his name around double electrical engineering entendres. Plus, OHMEGA WATTS (get it?) is a man of the people, come to Spokane just in time for the run-up to decision '06 (featuring Ozzie Knezovich vs. that dude the Dems won't even endorse, painfully).

One of Watts' better lines illustrates his philosophy: "Ignite change with the stroke of a pen / illustrate sun rays I bring Light to men / Watts is at it again / my aim's the same but grown stronger through time / I'm more concerned with how you're livin' than the dopeness of my line." Thought first, flow second -- or, perhaps, thought first, beat second, flow third. Which isn't to say he's a lyrical slouch. His flows are adroit and crisp as hell, which only serves to underscore the quality of his production and the fecundity of his urban populist idea(l)s.

Ohmega Watts with DJ Parafyn at Raw Sushi on Friday, Oct. 6, at 9 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 747-4266.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & pen mic nights are damn near ubiquitous around here, partially because they're fun and a good way for people to get their names out. Here's a twist: a couple weeks ago Raw Sushi - started SPOKANE'S FIRST OPEN TURNTABLE NIGHT. Yeah. Really cool.

The organizers aren't quite sure whose idea it was, but no one disputes its heritage. "It grew out of Whammy Wednesdays," says Ben Cater, booker at Raw, "we wanted to capture that atmosphere." A house party/meeting of minds, Whammy Wednesdays was a place for friends, DJs, vinyl collectors and the occasional journalist to sit around and talk shop. Or, in the case of DJ James Pants, it was a place to sit, back turned to the action for literally hours, rifling through vinyl crates, only speaking when yelled at.

The Raw incarnation will be slightly more formal, but Cater says they really want to keep the no pressure atmosphere at the forefront. "There are more people DJing than you think, they just never leave their room," Says Cater. He and stalward DJ Breezy Brown, who will handle the hosting duties, hope to coax them out.

Open Turntable Night at Raw Sushi on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 pm. Free. Call 747-4266.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & W & lt;/span & hen people talk about hip-hop lately, it's no longer broken down by region (Dirty South isn't even legitimately narrow anymore, so don't come with that West Coast / East Coast nonsense). It's now necessary, if you want to sound like you know anything, to drop the names of cities. We talk about Houston, or E-40's Hyphy out of San Francisco, back-patting for the mental gymnastics it takes to juxtapose particular towns. We do this -- forgetting, of course, that far narrower divisions have been in place for decades in New York, the most fecund hip-hop Petri dish on Earth. There they break it up by neighborhoods. TABLEEK reps the Bronx well.

Then, of course, you've got Spokane, where you've got to talk on an emcee-by-emcee basis (and perhaps the occasional tensely united crew) to be explicable. SINTAX's beats mash West Coast (yeah, I just said not to use that term) sensibilities with the theatricality of RZA (whose work Sintax's flow also mimics at times) and Kanye's sped-up hooks. At the other end of the spectrum, toward unpin-downable idiosyncracies, are the infectious, scarily nimble, sing-songy flows of FREETIME SYNTHETIC.

Freetime Synthetic with Tableek, Pseudo Slang, the Insiders, Sintax and Jaeda at the Blvd. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 8 pm. Tickets: $6. Call 455-7826.
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