By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Aug 19, 2005 at 5:08 AM

{image1} It has been a decade since the Rusty Ps (formerly known as the Rusty Pelicans) emerged on the Milwaukee hip-hop scene. They took the stage for the first time at The Globe East as teenagers in 1995 with little more than a mix tape and a microphone.

Ten years later, The Globe is no more, but the Ps, with an impressive resume that includes opening shows for Run DMC, The Pharcyde, Eminem, Ludacris, Black Eyed Peas, The Roots, DJ Shadow, and Atmosphere, have become a Milwaukee music staple.

Although it's been nearly three years since the Ps released "One," their last full-length album, the group has been anything but stagnant. The group -- comprising emcees Count Classic (aka Isa Ortiz) and Phantom Channel (aka Adam Haupt) and DJ Madhatter (aka Jordan Lee) and producer S Watson (aka Chuck Watson)-- has been playing live shows, releasing singles and writing material for a series of new discs to be released within the next year. The first album to surface, "Rusty Ps vs. Milwaukee," debuts Saturday, Aug. 20.

Feeding off the energy of Milwaukee's underground music scene, the new album is a compilation of sorts, gathering a cross section of Milwaukee musicians, all of whom the Ps have previously worked with and respect, into the studio to create music together.

"Originally, we were going to call it 'Rusty Ps Verses Milwaukee' instead of 'Versus,'" says Madhatter. "Not in the sense of battling each other, but more to emphasize the idea of coming together in verse."

The album, says Phantom Channel, is "music inspired, motivated and created by the city of Milwaukee. We called upon quite a few friends and fellow musicians to help manifest our idea of capturing the essence of the Rusty Ps and Milwaukee."

The CD includes collaborations with other established DJs and emcees such as J. Todd, Kid Millions, Kid Cut Up and Black Elephant, but doesn't limit itself to only one genre. It also features music by punk outfit The Mistreaters, jazz group Recycled Future and down tempo electro band The Silence.

"Texturally, this is more diverse than any other Rusty Ps album," says Madhatter. "It's exciting to be able to showcase our style in so many different ways.

The Rusty Ps say that this project is reflective of how Milwaukee's underground scene works. "It's not rare for us to play with a punk band," says Madhatter. "We all have to work together. We don't have too much to hold on to (in Milwaukee), so we hold on to each other."

The Rusty Ps host a two-part CD release party for the new album. The first part is on Saturday, Aug. 20 at Onopa Brewing Co., and features performances by Big Hit Unit, Lunaversol, Black Elephant, Adebisi, Kid Millions, Kid Cut Up and Why B, Dana Coppameal and Madhatter.

The second, on Saturday, Aug. 27 at The Mad Planet, will feature The Silence, The Tropics, Recycled Future, Cash Bishop and The Mistreaters.

The Rusty Ps Web site is

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”