They call it “noir-hop.” And, though I’m not sure what other artists might fall into this emergent genre, I will say that aspiring MCs could take a cue from 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers. The stylish Philly duo of Zilla Rocca and Curly Castro present their music so hardboiled and sandpaper-rough it cuts to the bone. Zilla offered a good summation as their recent Key Studio Session kicked off: “Let’s crime novel this up.” Mixing in cinematic sound clips, alluring samples (The Velvet Underground, Cat Power, The Notorious B.I.G.), live guitar textures, and clever wordplay, it’s a smart, arty blend that was as fascinating in our studio as it is when backed by interpretive dancers. The clip in that link actually features a track from Castro’s recent solo outing, Winston’s Appeal, but you might see something similar when the Shadowboxers’ monthly showcase, Double Entendre, comes to The M Room on Thursday, February 24th.