at El Rey Theater, February 17

Rjd2’s past work with rappers has never been on the level of his solo albums, but maybe that has something to do with the fact that the man’s arrangements and the intricate textures he injects into his hip-hop have to be toned down under rhymes. Still, his collaboration with Aceyalone, Magnificent City, has its inspired moments. Rj’s set was typically wondrous on this second night of their tour as he blended atmospheric flourishes with psychedelic boom-thwack beats using four turntables, computer and sampler. He doesn’t just play his tracks; he builds and magnifies them, a true performance DJ. Aceyalone, taking the stage in trademark fedora and sunglasses to an appreciative hometown crowd, launched into a set that ranged from Freestyle Fellowship classics to the present. Always infectious and never mock-thugging, Magnificent City’s songs suddenly sounded doper, and as the night ended with a Project Blowed freestyle session, L.A. hip-hop sounded that much better.

—Jonah Flicker

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