Sugar Walls: Sun., May 29, 9:30pm. $2. Manhattan Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577. www.themanhattanroom.com
Even the best hip-hop DJs spin only a handful of female MCs. Not so with Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, aka DJ Half-Breed, who's devoted her new monthly night Sugar Walls entirely to those underrepresented ladies.
She's got enough records to keep it interesting. "I have about three crates," says the 26-year-old West Philly resident. "There are a lot of great ladies out there."
She'll spin everything from Dirty South to underground to early '80s. Expect to hear Eve, MC Lyte, Conscious Daughters, Missy Elliott, Salt 'N Pepa and Queen Latifah, as well as more obscure talent.
Sugar Walls is Johnson-Valenzuela's first DJ night on her own. She has two other nights going-the monthly Move Something starting June 16 at the Manhattan Room with DJs Mr. Ill and Weez, and the community-minded the Beautiful Struggle at West Philly's Other Green Line Caf� with DJ Sissy.
A social worker and former bike messenger, Johnson-Valenzuela took her DJ name from something she was once called as a child. "I'm just kind of reclaiming it and making it positive," she says.
Speaking of positive, here are five records that typify the aim of her unique night.
Big Lady K, "I'm Comin' Out" (Priority, 1990)
"Rose Lee Chambers had a lot of help, but this B-side is pretty amazing. On the 12-inch cover she has her hands on her hips, chest out, smiling so proud because she got her own record. This is one of my favorite records and record covers ever."
Truth E.No.La featuring Jean Grae aka What What, "Ill Lovin' Part II" (Blindside, 2001)
"This is a guest spot by Jean Grae on Truth E.No.La's 12-inch. I don't know why he didn't just give up the ego and make it the A-side. It's so good. It's a hip-hop love song up there with Mary J. Blige and Method Man's 'You're All I Need to Get By.' Sample lyric: 'Wanna be loved/ Not for who you think I am/ But who you want me to be.' Jean Grae shows off her skills and makes this song."
Mystic, "The Life" (JCOR, 2001)
"I still think a lot of people really slept on this album. You can't play it out much, but it's so solid for playing at home, when you're chilling out or trying to catch up. Beautiful. Tough. Inspiring."
Juggaknots featuring Heroine, "P. Rushen" (Matic, 2004)
"This is Juggaknots' B-Side with Heroine. This is her doing her own thing. She's spitting real fast. You have to listen to it a few times to catch it for sure."
Jacki O, "Sugar Walls" (TVT, 2004)
"There's the Sheena Easton song by the same name that came first, but this song is what inspired the party's name. It's what I call bad-good ... so bad that it's really good and fun."
Sun., May 29, 9pm. $5. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888. www.thekhyber.com
Are you the kind of person who dreams of the day Morrissey and Johnny Marr will put aside their megalomaniacal differences and reunite with fellow Smiths Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce for one last gloriously foppish hurrah? Did the smattering of Smiths numbers Morrissey performed during the You Are the Quarry tour not quench your nostalgic thirst? If the Moz's and Marr's solo antics aren't enough to fill that void, there's always the Girls and Boys DJ Tour featuring Smiths bassist and Badly Drawn Boy collaborator Rourke. He'll be DJing the Khyber's main floor and spinning the kind of Britpop, shoegaze and indie jams that appeal to the Sorted crowd. Joining Rourke on tour is New York-via-Houston DJ Alex English, whose roots are firmly planted in the synth-pop/New Wave camp. Rounding out the bill is Making Time staple DJ Dave Pak. (Maggie Serota)