Soul, Funk, R&B, & Hip-Hop

Jean Grae with Mr. Len

When: Wed., Sept. 7, 9 p.m. 2011

Cape Town-born and New York-raised rapper Jean Grae has a lofty pedigree that she hides very well. Her mother is the jazz singer Sathima Bea Benjamin, her father the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. Her real name, Tsidi Ibrahim, is singularly melodious, but she chooses instead to go by her plainer stage handle. (It's a reference to a favorite comic book heroine, which seems appropriate for a female power-broker in hip-hop.) Educated at art schools and at New YorkUniversity, she brings an incredible level of scholarship to her medium, not just in terms of lyrics, but also in terms of musical depth. Jean Grae's flow and meter are more varied than most of her peers; her samples are choice; her album Jeanius, with producer 9th Wonder, was one of the best hip-hop releases of 2008. Her rap voice is a sinewy feminine alto, which contrasts with the grit and toughness of her lyrics. She'll perform with Company Flow emcee Mr. Len at The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland) on Wednesday, Sept. 7. 9 p.m., $15, $18.

Rachel Swan

Price: $15, $18

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