"We're just six dudes having a good time," says rapper Skeptik of his group, The Lobetrotters Collective, and fellow Bay Area hip-hop duo Too Chill. "We love to do this and connect with people."
The Lobetrotters Collective — emcees Skeptik, Klarrity and N.I.C. (Notha Instant Classic) and disc jockey Wisecrack the Scribe — and Too Chill — emcee Stanley Ipkuss and DJ Bayroo Burner — will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, June 27, at Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland, as part of their "Bridging the Gap" tour. They will be joined by Too North and Majora. The cover costs $5.
Skeptik and Klarrity have performed together for the better part of four years — the pair book shows at the iconic Berkeley, Calif., punk venue 924 Gilman. They met N.I.C. and Wisecrack through the venue and have been performing together as The Lobetrotters Collective for about a year.
Who: The Lobetrotters Collective with Too Chill, Too North and Majora
When: 9 p.m. Friday, June 27
Where: Club 66, 1951 Ashland St., Ashland
"We're influenced by when hip-hop used to be fun," Klarrity says. "But not dumb fun, when it was fun but still challenged the audiences intellectually."
"We try to rap about the reality of things rather than glamorizing," N.I.C. says.
"We take our art form seriously," Klarrity says. "But we don't take ourselves seriously."
Too Chill has been together for about four months.
"I was doing a live beat set at the Berkeley Streets Festival," Burner says. "There was a microphone, so people were coming up and rapping over it. Then I heard one guy rapping that caught my attention, and that was Stanley. He handed me a sticker, so I knew who he was, and I was able to get into the studio with him."
Ipkuss says their music is influenced by urban life.
"It's about living in the East Bay," Burner elaborates. "It's kind of the vibe of a bus ride or walking down the street with headphones on."
While the pair are still quite new, their peers have taken notice of their work.
"The really interesting part is how you guys mesh together so well when your project is so new," Klarrity said to Ipkuss and Burner. "Your music is really all about the vibe."
The Lobetrotters Collective are promoting their debut full-length album, "Notes from the Underground," as well as Wisecrack's 2010 solo album, "Sick Doctor," on this tour. "Notes from the Underground" was released on June 10.
Ipkuss also is promoting his new album with ewonee thee beatnik, ".indefinite.," which was released on May 12.
For Friday's show, Klarrity has a clear message of what fans can expect from the two groups.
"Be ready to shake your a— and use your brain," he says.