Hip-hop is an American art form, like jazz. It has gone through its changes and variations, and now, as with jazz, we are reaching the "modern age" of hip-hop, when artists are stretching our perceptions and expectations. Anticon (short for "anticonformity") is just such a group: a loose collective of fellas who are in the process of reinventing the form. Imagine rhymes where you can't always make out what the hell the speaker is saying; beats that are scattered, smooth, irregular, and drudgy, like 4AD rap; and samples of people like Daniel Johnston. Imagine lyric sheets that actually read like good poetry. It's the thinking person's hip-hop. Offshoot group cLOUDEAD might even lead some listeners to ask, "Is this hip-hop?" But the fundamental thing is that this group is saying something, communicating -- which either makes it '60s folk music or, yes, a reinvention of hip-hop. Since they do rely on electronics and samples, let's choose the latter. Formed in '98, Anticon comprises MCs and DJs from points east who shared a common zeitgeist and came out here to feed off the Bay Area's bounty of the new and the different. With a little help from the Internet and some freaky live shows, Anticon has cultivated some seriously rabid fans who worship them. Add a killer sense of humor and a cute widdle ant logo, and you're good ta go.