Los Angeles' Peanut Butter Wolf is the benevolent puppet master of American independent hip-hop. You might not recognize him, but he's been making beats, putting out records and working stealthily behind the scenes of the genre since the late 1980s. In 1996, he founded Stones Throw Records, one of the most prominent indie hip-hop labels in America. Here's another reason why he's a big deal: He tours the world as a DJ/VJ and offers an audio/visual experience that's simple but astounding in its execution.
The last time he was here, in 2009, he delivered a flawless mix of music videos dating from the 1950s to the present. He played classic pop tunes that your daddy probably awkwardly danced to in middle school, and then took viewers on a trip through the 1960s by dropping heady psych rock jams and epic metal tracks like Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." He also spun old school hip-hop hits from groups like Public Enemy, along with more recent rap cuts from the Beastie Boys. He rocked the party with his adroit skills and clever pairing of disparate genres, so I'd expect him to tear it up when he returns to town this week.
Peanut Butter Wolf plays the Badlander Friday, May 4, at 9 PM with locals sAuce, Illegitimate Children, Shaymlusly Elliterate and M-AD. $12/$10 advance at Ear Candy and Rockin Rudy's.