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Jae B and Skychief get graded

Jae B

(self-released)

myspace.com/jaeb

Cleveland rapper Jae B, a.k.a. Booker T. Franklin III, has a smooth flow that matches many mainstream rappers. A former member of local rap group the Faculty, Jae B has since sharpened his lyrical skills, though his references to money and women that come with success and fame are a bit tiring after a while. His beats are much more polished than those of many independent hip-hoppers. On "Weatherman," he describes himself as a "rap-game bully on the prowl for wealth." "Chopper Walk" is a club banger that offers up observations like "Girlie on the dance floor, and you can tell I'm a flirt." With his industrial-strength beats and microphone skills, Jae B is more than ready for the nightclub scene. — Amy Booker

Jae B. performs at 9 p.m. Friday at Anatomy Nightclub and Ultra Lounge (1299 W. 9th St., 216.363.1113, anatomycleveland.com). Admission: $10.

Skychief

(Love Muffin)

skychief.net

About nine years ago, four Akronites got fed up with the lack of original music coming out of the city and decided to do something about it. Thus, Skychief was born. With their second album, Autoexciter, they show no signs of stopping. A straight-ahead punk-rock album, it kicks off with the Blink-182-like "10 Hours," then goes for broke with the guitar-solo-heavy "Upside Down." The band plays with such energy, you're willing to forgive the minimal production on songs like "Way In," " Naughty Is Nice" and "Windows." — Julia Kazar

Skychief performs at 9 p.m. Friday with the Darker Shore and Bluto's Revenge at Maple Grove (14832 Pease Rd., Maple Heights, 216.475.4224, myspace.com/maplegrovebar). Tickets: $5.

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