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World Famous Mic Club returns 

Of hip-hop battles and anti-war hymns

GUESS WHO'S BACK: D.R.E.S. revives one of underground Atlanta's staple events this week.

COURTESY DRES THA BEATNIK

GUESS WHO'S BACK: D.R.E.S. revives one of underground Atlanta's staple events this week.

On Wed., Oct. 20, D.R.E.S. tha Beatnik relaunches the World Famous Mic Club at the Royal Peacock in downtown Atlanta's Sweet Auburn District. The weekly hip-hop battle is known for sharpening the skills of MCs, producers and DJs with tournament style competitions. Since launching in July 2001, Mic Club has resided at Apache Café, where it lasted for six and a half years, the now-defunct Sugar Hill, and Lenny's Bar. Two years have passed since the last Mic Club event, but with the reopening of the historic Royal Peacock, D.R.E.S. is ready to bring the ruckus once again.

Since its inception, the freestyle MC battle has been the cornerstone of Mic Club, but there's also the Mighty Mighty Beat Down producer battle, the Final Scratch DJ battle, and Crowd Control, which tests performance skills in front of a live audience. The latest addition to the agenda is the MP3 Massacre, which consists of music heads vying to one-up each other by showing off who has the best tracks on their iTunes, Zune or whatever MP3 player they're packing. These won't be original tracks, but a spin through playlists to see which generates the most enthusiastic crowd response. "When we started this thing in the first place our whole idea was to change the norm, and we're sticking to our guns," says D.R.E.S.

Elton John and Leon Russell's duet album, The Union, is due out Oct. 19 (Decca). Among the album's 14 tracks is a song called "There's No Tomorrow," a slightly reworked version of the Mighty Hannibal's 1966 anti-Vietnam war song "Hymn No. 5."

"Elton John called me wanting to know if he could change the words to 'Hymn No. 5' just a little bit because it wouldn't sound right for him to be singing about the war and all that," Hannibal says. "I said 'Shit, come on with it man! I ain't stuck on stupid.' Elton John is one the greatest musicians in the world and the words he wrote are nothing but a compliment to me, man. It's a real honor."

On the new releases front, Goldilocks' Hot Boy EP is available for download on the group's MySpace page. It's free on the Internet, but if you want something to have and to hold, it's available as a cassette at the better record stores around town that sell cassettes. Vinyl copies of Dropsonic's sixth album, appropriately titled Dropsonic VI, are in stores now. It's the group's strongest offering in years and will see a record release party at the Star Bar on Oct. 29. Claire Lodge and Jeffrey Bützer's Past Wanstead Flats EP is available in a limited edition of 100 CDs through either of their MySpace pages. It will also be available through iTunes soon. Past Wanstead Flats features Lodge on guitar and Bützer on guitar and drums playing loosely arranged songs over an 11-day recording stretch.

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