Arts and Entertainment

You may be wondering, with his former protégé Plan B at the top of his game, why we still need Mike Skinner, a previous generation's white British social-realist rapper. The fact is that, while Ben Drew's forte is surveying the bigger political picture, few songwriters around can zoom in and focus on fine detail as skilfully as Skinner.

The Streets to quit after next album

Mike Skinner has said that The Streets will make one final album after their next release, but he might come back for more when he was "40 and broke".

The Streets of Babylon, By Carina Burman, trs Sarah Death

It's 1851 and Euthanasia Bondeson, the Swedish novelist, and her niece Agnes are in London, visiting the Great Exhibition. Euthanasia, the narrator, is self-centred, bullish and blessed with a talent for writing: ("The sun knew blood had been spilled during the night. Its gleam spread crimson across the sea, for the sun cared little for the horrifying deed that had been done"); while Agnes is "always getting lost. Apart from beauty, a certain silliness and the occasional bout of good common sense, it is her most prevalent characteristic." Unfortunately, Agnes manages to get lost.

The Streets, Astoria, London

Return of the original pirate

Pop: The young rap rebels

News International funding underground hip-hop? Rawkus wouldn't be where they are today...

Going Out: Pop Beastie Boys

After the wild success of their debut Licenced To Ill album in 1986, Messrs Horowitz, Diamond and Yauch started this decade almost back at square one after the 1989 follow-up Paul's Boutique had bombed (though with hindsight many revisionist critics have declared it magnificent). The comeback started with 1992's punkier Check Your Head and some back- to-basics touring. Since then they've rarely put a foot wrong: they've got their own label, clothing concern and magazine and are once again a solid arena-filling outfit. Expect much of the set from last year's eclectic Hello Nasty album with a big plug for the tough sounding "Remote Control", their next single, released 10 May.

Music: Black apocalypse

The end of the world is nigh, say the superstars of hip hop - but not for everyone. The Five Per Cent Nation will survive. How do we know? Just listen between the lines.

Pop music: Shout, shout, let it all out

Review: THE BEASTIE BOYS BRIXTON ACADEMY LONDON

Pop: Jurassic 5's monster success

"Let's take it back to the concrete streets. Original beats from real live MCs." That's the core message from the forthcoming "Concrete Schoolyard" single by LA-based Jurassic 5, providers of the freshest hip- hop sound since whenever, and currently packing out houses throughout the UK. It's all been done on word of mouth and a self-released EP that's only been available here on import.

JAZZ US3 Jazz Cafe, London

"You're late! Get on with it!" To rile the Jazz Cafe cappuccino kids takes some doing, but US3 took to the stage confident that they would be forgiven for this delay and the four-year wait for Broadway and 52nd, the follow-up to Hand on the Torch.

Ice-T/ Grandmaster Flash/ The Jungle Brothers/ Afrika Bambaataa Essential Festival, Brighton

On a blazing summer's day in Brighton, in a medium-sized tent, the history of hip-hop was revealed. Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, The Jungle Brothers and Ice-T on the same stage was almost too complete to be true. It was, of course, shadowed for some by the spectres of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, murdered men who have become dubious martyrs. Monday's bill could be viewed as the story of hip-hop's descent to that state, from the cold protesting fury of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" through The Jungle Brothers' Afrocentric oasis of calm to Ice-T's origination of gangsta-rap, which some blame directly for the stars lying cold in the ground.

De La Soul: The Forum, London

Pop Music

POP / The Fugees Kentish Town Forum, London .

The greatest hip-hop circus on earth comes to town
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