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Clipse and the Cool Kids may not get the airplay of mainstream rap acts, but their importance in rap world is undeniable. Fans filled Canes on Tuesday to celebrate a pair of rare performances in Mission Beach.

Despite significant differences in subject matter, both acts utilized stripped down bass-heavy beats with a focus on lyrics -- something lacking in today's commercial rap acts.

There is no better way to experience hip-hop than in person and in smaller venues such as Canes. The show opened up with strong performances by local acts Dom Kennedy, Vokab Kompany, and DJ Fingaz, all of whom held their own with the headliners.

Next, the Cool Kids took to their simple stage setup -- a DJ and two microphones -- to wow the crowd with their take on old-school hip-hop. It reminded me of what it must have been like to see Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, or Run DMC in their prime. With unapologetic throwback beats and rhyme styles, the Cool Kids were razor sharp. No hype-men or dancers needed here.

Headliners Clipse provided lyrical contrast to the playful rhymes of the Cool Kids. The Virginia duo of Pusha-T and Malice has managed to become relevant while underground (despite the fact that they burst onto the scene rapping on Justin Timberlake's solo hit "Like I love You" in '02).

Touring in support of Till The Casket Drops, the pair ripped through new material as well as fan favorites "Grindin'," "Mr. Me Too," and "Chinese New Year." Oddly, they left out one of their biggest hits, 2002's "When the Last Time." With every track punctuated by a gunshot sound effect, Clipse laced their illicit lyrics over sparse Pharrell/Neptune beats.

Both performances had excellent sound. The lyrics came through crystal clear over the heart-pounding bass. No auto-tune voice box here, just straight ahead hip-hop.

It should be noted that both Clipse and the Cool Kids took time after the show to have their pictures taken and to sign posters for fans. A shout-out to Rockhill Entertainment for putting this Tuesday-night ticket together.

Seats: General admission/floor
Show date: August 18
Venue: Cane's Bar and Grill

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