Devin the Dude 

You can't go home again. But you can always get high. For Devin the Dude's sizable underground fanbase, this seems to be the lesson learned from the Dude's recent career path. The Houston rapper, whose real name is Devin Copeland, has come to be defined by where he's not rather than where he is — at least when it comes to his label. In early 2008, the MC left Rap-A-Lot Records, his label of 15 years. Devin said little publicly about his departure from the iconic Houston recording house other than to offer fleeting references to contractual issues. He landed at Razor & Tie, an independent, New York-based label with few other established rap artists on its roster. In 2009, the former Scarface and UGK affiliate released Landing Gear, his fifth studio album, on his new label. Not without its finer moments — meaning wittier, higher and hornier, in Devin's case — the album received lukewarm critical response. Despite a memorable collaboration with Snoop Dogg on "I Don't Love Em," Landing seemed to reflect a tired version of the '79 Lacville rapper. After a decade of carving out his own hemp-hewn path through hip-hop, with smoke-ringed vocals, Devin seems finally to have become bored with his own persona. In March, he breaks listeners off with Suite 420, a follow-up release that many of his fans hope will be a redemptive nugget. The Dude arrives at the Riot Room Friday, joined by local artists CES Cru and Ron Ron, to get Kansas City fans high one more time.

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