Emerging from L.A.’s cradle of indie rap—the Good Life Café in South Central, a health food store that was also an open-mic night springboard for Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship and other like-minded acts—rhyme schemer Pigeon John first cut his collaborative teeth in such seminal outfits like L.A. Symphony and Brainwash Projects. But a rapper’s got to get by on his own steam, right? And that’s exactly what PJ’s been doing since 1997, the year he started recording songs for what became his first solo (and self-effacing) album, Pigeon John is Clueless. But apparently, there’s also something spiritual and Jesus-y to PJ as his rhymes have been known to delve into the Big Guy Upstairs and last year he contributed a track (“Calculator Watch”) to the Hip Hope Hits compilation, an annual collection of Christian rap songs—though don’t expect any hip-hop-ified Jars of Clay covers just yet. His latest performance in Temecula may sound like a too-laid back casino gig (“An Evening with Pigeon John”), but don’t let the respectable sound of this show catch you off guard. For an MC who’s been busy the past few months touring with Digable Planets, keeping it old school (how does name-dropping Jordache jeans and J.J. Fad grab ya?) and keeping the beatboxin‘ on point remain Pigeon John’s bread and butter.
Pigeon John at The Edge Restaurant and Lounge, 28544 Old Town Front St., Temecula, (951) 506-3343; www.edgelounge.com. Sat, July 17. 9PM. Dress code. 21+.