Critic's Choice

Rahzel, with Mix Master Mike and Choclair, at the Fox Theatre Sunday, March 26, must be seen to be believed. A self-described "vocal percussionist," he has perfected the art of beat-boxing. Also known as the "Godfather of Noyze," Rahzel can duplicate the sounds of whole albums -- with his mouth. Those who close their eyes during his performances will swear that, at various times, they're hearing a whole band, an MC rapping and a DJ scratching and spinning. Inspired by beat-box masters like Doug E. Fresh and the diabolical Biz Markie, Rahzel twists the form like Hendrix mutated the blues. After the Brooklyn native established himself as one of the best human beat-boxer artists on the East Coast, he joined forces with the Philly-based Roots, an alliance that has helped that crew earn a reputation as a stellar live rap act. Although still a major player in the group, Rahzel is touring in support of his debut solo joint, The Fifth Element: Make the Music 2000. The disc features diverse guests including Q-Tip, Branford Marsalis and Meshell Ndegèocello, as well as Rahzel's estimable skills on the mike. Live, the Godfather boils hip-hop down to its organic essence, and headliner Mix Master Mike (see "Master of the Universe," in this week's issue) makes Sunday's bill a premium offering.


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