Why did it take a controversial lyric to put Jadakiss on the mainstream map? Jada became the eye of a national media storm with his hit single "Why?," a song filled with a series of questions about politics, current events, and life. Since they need to fill up 24 hours of airtime, cable news networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC were unable to ignore the raspy delivery of the line "Why did Bush knock down the towers?" in the single's second verse. With these seven words, the veteran rapper with a considerably urban fan base became a household name (most households, however, struggled with the pronunciation of his name). With a career that spans eight years, four albums, and countless lyrics about the guns, drugs, and violence of street life, all it took was a single line to introduce one of the underground's best to the rest of the world.
Propelled by the buzz of his anti-Bush sentiments, Jada's Kiss of Death debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in June and is rapidly headed toward certified platinum status. His previous effort, however, Kiss the Game Goodbye, released in 2001, reached no higher than number five on the charts. No need to ask why. Jadakiss brings his list of questions to the University of Miami Convocation Center on September 3, joined by Twista, who could easily get away with rhymes much more offensive. When you have earned the title of "World's Fastest Rapper" from the Guinness Book of World Records, as the MC who brought us "Slow Jams" and "Overnight Celebrity" has, you can pretty much say whatever you please. With lyrical flows this fast and incomprehensible, the Chicago native could rhyme about Santa Claus' involvement in an al Qaeda terror cell and nobody would be able to understand it -- never mind take offense.
See Jadakiss, Twista, and D.O.D. on Friday at the University of Miami Convocation Center (1245 Walsh Ave., Coral Gables). Tickets cost $26.75 to $53.50. Call 305-284-8686, or visit www.ticketmaster.com. --Tim Hammill
Tom Stoppard Isn't Dead
When was the last time you saw a comedy that had substance? Tom Stoppard's Real Inspector Houndis something of a serious comedy -- it serves up metaphysical explorations and time-warping, anachronistic musings along with the laughs. Traditionally a play relegated to academia and performed by college students, Hound (and, showing before it, 15-Minute Hamlet) has its regional premiere at the Hollywood Playhouse (2640 Washington St., Hollywood), where Producing Artistic Director John Rodaz directs. Stoppard once stated, "Plays are events rather than texts. They're written to happen, not to be read." The action centers on two theater critics who become unwitting participants in the 1930s whodunit they're busy analyzing. "This is a play about the search for self-identity," Rodaz explains. "A hilarious, one-act play that tells two stories. The stage is set up as a mirror of the audience, who, as we all know, is susceptible to the fantasy of actually entering the stage world, which is really all about role-playing." Stoppard is best-known for his 1960s breakout hit Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Before you're dead, experience Stoppard the way he is meant to be experienced: live! The play runs from September 8 to October 3. Tickets cost $32. Call 954-922-0404, or visit www.hollywoodplayhouse.com. --John Shannon
Bands vote too
When Bill Clinton was first elected president, he had the support of an important yet historically ignored demographic: the rock 'n' roll vote. When Al Gore ran, perhaps it was rock nemesis Tipper Gore, not Nader, who hurt him. No? Well, try to tell that to the more than a dozen bands mobilizing for "Rock for Democracy Weekend" at Club M (2037 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood). Organized by Trails of Smoke recording studio owner Jon Weiner, Rock for Democracy aims to get people talking -- and voting. "As if the musicians of South Florida didn't feel disenfranchised from the process enough already, we're here to prove America wrong, that South Florida rocks and votes," Weiner says. The event kicks off Thursday with Nicky Beltran, Amy Steinberg, and Sandar Dohnert. On Friday, the stage goes to Steamroller, the Heatseekers, Radar O' Reilly, Good Life Cycle, and Haze. Saturday features Thoughts on Roger, Monroe, Burning Idols, the Numb Ones, Naked Face, and Pandabite. The show starts at 10 each night and costs $5. Call 954-925-8396. --Jason Budjinski
Deborah Coleman, who started singing with bands when she was 15 years old, is an old-school blues singer and guitarist who also put her singing career on hold to raise a family, working a 9-to-5 career as an electrician before pursuing music full-time in the early '90s. The 47-year-old Coleman really is electric, and hot, with long cornrows and a baby-blue Fender. You have to love anyone who, on her website, says her early guitar influences include Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the Yardbirds' Jeff Beck and that her musical life changed because of a concert she saw when she was 21 that featured Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. Hallelujah! Listen to her sing about love on her May release What About Love, especially "Undeniable," "Healing Ground," "Lookin' for a Real Love," and "Can You Hear Me?" Coleman plays the Bamboo Room (25 S. "J" St., Lake Worth) Wednesday at 9 p.m. Call 561-585-2583. --Dave Amber