m Lauryn Hill
Details: Wednesday 9 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. $65 and up. (813) 229- 7827.
She's become as recognized for her irresistible, Aretha-honoring voice as she has for her reclusive lifestyle. That being said, ex-Fugee Lauryn Hill playing Tampa is a huge deal. After Hill released '98 masterwork The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which still stands as one of the most beloved hip-hop releases of all-time (ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time), she fled from public view. But her return to the stage has left fans divided — some scratching their heads over Hill's tardiness and improvised sets, others screaming for more. Here's what we gather from a recent Village Voice review. If you're okay with hearing Hill's hits a little differently than you remember them and sticking around until the wee hours on a week day, it actually should be a pretty great show.
Lil Jon >>
With VJ Ray, VJ Kidd Leow, DJ Jamie Ferrera
Details: Sunday 4 p.m. Shephard's Beach Resort, 601 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. $15-$20. (727) 441-6875.
WHAT?!? YE-AH! King of crunk Lil Jon will bestow upon the Shephard's spring break crowd lots of gold-toothed goodness Sunday. The Dirty South chant rapper (and now Celebrity Apprentice contestant) is responsible for some of the most abrasive music in history. Yet we're fully prepared to sing every word to Get Low. Party with this crunk rock royal as he spins, yells and sips Patrón from a bejeweled chalice. It's good to be the king.
DJ Pauly D
Details: Friday 9 p.m. The Venue, 2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. $20 and up. (727) 571-2222.
Gym. Tan. Laundry. Blow-out. T-shirt time. Beat up the beat. There, now that we've sullied SoundCheck's good name by rolling out all of the Pauly Delvecchio Jersey Shore-isms, we're here to announce that the well-oiled reality star will spin at the Venue on Friday. With that we leave you one final Pauly D gem: "My hair's windproof, waterproof, soccerproof, motorcycleproof. I'm not sure if my hair's bulletproof. I'm not willin' to try that."
The Metalliance Tour
Featuring Helmet, Kylesa, Saint Vitus, more
Details: Sunday 5 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.
To quote Beavis and Butt-head, "DADA DAA DAA, DADA DAA DAA. Helmet rules." This New York alt-metal band is best known for early '90s head-down pounders Unsung and Wilma's Rainbow. After enduring numerous lineup changes, singer/guitarist Page Hamilton remains the group's lone original member. Opener Kylesa, a bipolar prog band with dueling drummers and vocalists is a must-see. Not unlike Mastodon or Baroness, these guys and one gal bring the kind of melody and finesse to sludge metal that even Pitchfork can respect.
With Whole Wheat Bread, Tabi Bonney
Details: Tuesday 7:30 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $12 and up. (813) 241-8600.
Forget for a moment that Murs looks like he just stuck a finger in a light socket and you'll find that this is one seriously skilled artist. The politically minded MC with the pointy dreads offers Slick-Rick-like storytelling, soul-saturated beats, humor and on-stage acrobatics. Best of all, Murs crams big concepts in short verses. "We all chase money 'cause we scared to chase dreams" (Dreamchaser). If you like Aesop Rock, Atmosphere or 9th Wonder, you'll probably dig Murs.
Sophie B. Hawkins
With Elysian Sex Drive
Details: Friday 8 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22. (727) 258-4829.
After playing percussion with Bryan Ferry in the '80s, free-spirit Sophie B. Hawkins scored solo hits with Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover and As I Lay Me Down. Her poppy, new age-y, I am-woman sound put her up there with the Paula Coles and Joan Osbornes of the day. This week when I typed Sophie into iTunes, I was also recommended a "Saturday Errands" playlist. Whatever that means.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at carole. firstname.lastname@example.org.