First, the bad news: This package tour from New York hip-hop superindie Definitive Jux could use a couple higher-profile names than it currently boasts. At a hometown launch last month, label star Aesop Rock put in a breathtaking appearance at the end of a marathon show; though his rapping was as forbiddingly dense as it is on record, Aesop's commanding stage presence opened a door into his word play. Def Jux founder El-P showed up, too, and bestowed upon the appreciative crowd a world premi're of a new song: "You don't have it," he told the room of file-sharing adepts. And new roster addition Cage (formerly of Eminem-baiting porn rappers the Smut Peddlers) debuted a strangely emotional track built around an interpolation of Idaho guitar-rockers Built to Spill's "I Would Hurt a Fly."
That caveat aside, the crew that hits Club Freedom Saturday night should offer dependable thrills for fans of Def Jux's earthy, brainy hip-hop, with short sets from Hangar 18, C-Rayz Walz and the Perceptionists, a new group featuring Boston diehards Mr. Lif and Akrobatik MCing over cuts by DJ Fakts One. But stay late for a headlining spot from hardworking Los Angeleno Murs, whose new album is a collaboration with producer 9th Wonder, a young North Carolinian who found himself in the pages of The Source and XXL last year thanks to an appearance on Jay-Z's The Black Album alongside industry heavyweights the Neptunes, Kanye West, and Just Blaze. On Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition, the rapper unloads psychologically complex appraisals of both gender and race wars over Wonder's distinctive swirl of classic-soul yelp and jeep-beat whomp.