Here are our picks for the weekend's best musical entertainment. Be sure to check our comprehensive concert calendar for more options.
Earlier this month, Lil Wayne took to Twitter to explain the excessive wait surrounding his newest record, describing himself as a "prisoner," citing his label Cash Money Records and its boss Bryan "Birdman" Williams as the reasons it hasn't been released, and emphasizing that he wants off the ubiquitous hip-hop label (which also represents Drake and Nicki Minaj). For a more positive take on Cash Money, there's Caskey's tale. In April 2012, the Orlando-born MC Brandon Caskey issued his mixtape No Complaints. Producer/Cash Money ally DJ Nasty would catch wind of No Complaints, eventually leading to (or at least having a role in) Birdman hearing Caskey himself and signing the rapper by September. "It was clear," Birdman would say in a press release, "from the minute he opened his mouth, the white boy could rap and had that star quality." The night of Caskey's signing was documented and later uploaded online -- and boy, are his giddiness and gratitude palpable. The clip plays like a kid's dream coming true. Caskey's music, meanwhile, sports a totally different tone. His newest mixtape, Black Sheep, is full of aggressive, macho raps about rebellion, drugs and violence, and beats that alternate between glossy and gritty. Caskey delivers his material with the vim of someone with something to prove. If nothing else, the 20-something has time on his side to do so. REYAN ALI
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No one does psychobilly quite like Nekromantix -- and few other bands have managed to make a standup bass, or any other instrument, nearly as famous as the group themselves. And though Kim Nekroman remains the only steadfast member in this, his namesake band, this year saw another change in the lineup. Lux, the group's first female member and one hell of a crazy drummer, announced her departure after five years. Taking her place is Adam Guerrero of LA-based psychobilly band Rezurex. Check out the new and improved lineup when the Nekromantix roll through the Yucca on December 19 for "Not-So-Silent Night," a two-stage extravaganza that will also include The Adolescents, Ten Foot Pole, Masked Intruder, Left Alone, Broloaf, Sanitation Squad, Gentlemen Prefer Blood, Rotten Youth, We Might Be Wasted, No Gimmick, and Warhead. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
Nah, French Montana ain't worried 'bout nothin', but that doesn't mean you should keep the New York-based rapper waiting. He's taking the country by storm with hit after hit, and now he's gonna give all the party animals that gather at The Pressroom on December 19 a taste of his second studio album, Mac & Cheese 4. Fellow rappers Tray Gutter and Rowdy Rebel will open the show. KAT BEIN
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones perform a lively set filled with a fun energy -- impressive for a band that's gotten up in years, if 50-year-old frontman Dicky Barrett is to be used as an age barometer. As such, the group doesn't miss a step or pull a punch in its performances. The Bosstones always seemed to come out on the better side of the punk-ska wave of the late '90s, owing to songs that seem less generally silly than a good portion of their counterparts from that era. Its members' deep roots in Boston hardcore and traditional ska -- two very reputable, honest genres of music -- probably lend to that as well. The Interrupters and Captain Squeegee are scheduled to open the show. JIMMY EBERLE
On Saturday, December 20, the Trunk Space in downtown Phoenix celebrates the label's decade anniversary, hosting Sissy Spacek (a vehicle of noise craftsman John Wiese, who's collaborated with Sunn O))), Wolf Eyes, Cattle Decapitation, and more), songwriter Stephen Steinbrink, Cherie Cherie, and industrial band Mallevs. Stylistically diverse, Gilgongo's defining characteristic has been its freeform format; Fella releases what he wants to hear. JASON P. WOODBURY
DJ Snoopadelic (a.k.a. Snoop Dogg): RZA/Bobby Digital/Prince Rakeem ain't got nothing on Snoop Dogg, at least when it comes to the alter-ego shizzle. To his mama and papa, he's either Calvin Cordozar Broadus or "Snoopy," his childhood nickname. Meanwhile, he's been the Doggfather to the hip-hop world for two decades, hood anchor Nemo Hoes on the Double G News Network, and Snoop Lion in the irie realm of the Rastafari. Whenever the 42-year-old rap icon steps behind his iBook and a set of knobs and dials while up in the club, however, he's DJ Snoopadelic, EDM fiend and ghetto-fab mixmaster with a taste for "EURO TEKNO."
In 2012, Snoop reached out via Facebook for tracks to remix for a pair of dance music compilations entitled Loose Joints (of course), including efforts by such noted beatsmiths as Genius of Time, Toddla T, and Jokers of the Scene. Anyone who has checked out his SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/snoopdogg) or happened to witness his superfly session at Maya last year can attest to his kung fu, which is stronger than the Paris Hiltons of the celebrity DJ world, or to the fact that he's known to selector up some funk, hip-hop, and reggae in his sets alongside all the EDM. Expect much of the same sounds when Snoopadelic slides into Scottsdale's Wasted Grain on Saturday, December 20. BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Pop star Ryan Beatty has a Mrazian gift of phrase and a voice that manages to showcase its youth without inspiring a listener to tell him to get off their lawn. Take his hit song "Every Little Thing," for example. No great shakes in the visual presentation, but the tune is a definite earworm that is destined to accompany a hundred future relationship montages in romantic comedies. It's a cool soda on a hot day of a sound.
Local indie pop songstress Taylor Upsahl will open the show during Beatty's concert at Last Exit Live on Sunday, December 21. PHOENIX NEW TIMES
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Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.