Science of Speech

Jay-Z once rapped, “If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli.” That backhanded compliment has, in a way, defined the Brooklyn MC’s two-decade-plus career as a flame carrier for “lyrical” or “conscious” hip-hop. While mostly out of the mainstream for as long as he’s been rapping, the style will be on display as part of the well-titled Science of Speech tour. Alongside Kweli, the bill includes Yonkers veteran Styles P, outspoken political duo Dead Prez and rap’s leading recluse, Jay Electronica, for a concert where lyrical skill will be the coin of the realm. Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring. $35.

Steve Lacy

For music obsessives who still comb liner notes, Steve Lacy is increasingly a name behind the scenes of the most significant songs and albums in R&B, rap and pop. The 21-year-old Compton, Calif., native started making beats on his iPhone and eventually hooked up with the Internet, the neo-neo-soulsters that spun off from Odd Future. He’s since collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Vampire Weekend and Kali Uchis, among others, before striking out on his own with this year’s “Apollo XXI,” a genre-agnostic exploration of what he can do when left to his own devices. Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. (doors) at 9:30 Club. Sold out.

P-Lo

In Bay Area parlance, P-Lo’s music slaps. The co-founder and chief producer of East Bay rap collective the HBK Gang is one of the architects, alongside collaborators Iamsu and Sage the Gemini, of a cottage industry of post-hyphy party music. The crew’s sound has lit up functions on the West Coast and beyond, and cropped up in songs by YG and Kehlani. As a solo artist, P-Lo’s thick bass lines, skeleton drums and back-to-basics lyrics animate his new album “SHINE,” an acronym for “SomeHow It Never Ends.” When P-Lo is on the boards or on the mic, the party never does. Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. at Songbyrd. $16-$18.

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Helena Hauff

When it came time to name her most recent album, Helena Hauff played with the duality of the title “Qualm” — not just the English meaning, but the word in her native German tongue (pronounced “kvalm”) that means “smoke” or “fumes.” The DJ-producer makes metal machine music that is heavy on both unease and the ethereal, with drum machine skitters and synthesizer squelches that recall underground dance music from the 1980s. On the album, she tried “to create something powerful without using too many instruments and layers,” according to a news release, and her DJ sets also utilize the minimal for maximum effect. Oct. 10 at 11 p.m. at U Street Music Hall. $10-$25.

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