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THE SIX: Shelton Harris

Photo: Kevin Lowdon

Photo: Kevin Lowdon


THE SIX is a regular Q&A feature on 206UP with a simple format: One member of the local hip-hop community and six questions. For past editions click here.


Rapper Shelton Harris and his production partner Tyler Dopps made names for themselves on the strength of their 2013 five song EP The Fresh Start, a collection of glimmering, accomplished pop-rap anthems that belied the young ages of its creators. Dopps has a knack for looping addictive melodies over clean boom-bap and Harris is an efficient MC who rarely wastes a word, making beelines to raps-about-raps and the subject of being young and hungry while trying to come up in “the game.”

Their full-length debut album Lights — originally due last summer — is seeing its finishing touches added while a young and eager Seattle fan base, weaned on Macklemore and little else, awaits. Shelton and Tyler seem to be carrying the proverbial banner for a new local wave of positive, self-reflective hip-hop borne from the confessionals of Aubrey Drake Graham and the all-inclusiveness of Ben Haggerty.

Shelton’s popularity is an exciting new development that runs counter to the early aught backpack leanings of Seattle hip-hop artists (now entering their mid-30s and beyond) who helped nurture a devoted underground following. Shelton’s brand is also an alternative to the cloaked, substance-driven art-rap of movements like Thraxxhouse and Underworld Dust Funk, crews of a similar generation but whose points-of-view reflect a sort of updated streetwise version of Seattle’s grunge ethos of the early ’90s.

All of this adds up to a more balanced range of hip-hop in Seattle, a sign that the local scene is becoming even more of a microcosmic version of the greater hip-hop landscape in general — it takes all types, we say. Shelton Harris took time to hop on this week’s edition of THE SIX. Hit the jump for more.

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NEW MUSIC: Tie Dye Brain Cells – All Star Opera

ASO - Tie Die Brain Cells

All Star Opera is a quartet of MCs and producers whose hazy focus is trained on the state of their youth and the undetermined path wrought by living through that experience. Their new EP, Tie Dye Brain Cells, is a freewheeling motion of live instrumentation and loose rap chatter which generally pleases the ear. Check out the album below and peep ASO’s video for “Flight School” below that.

VIDEO: “Blame It On My Youth” – Brothers From Another (dir. by Jon Holman)

Old enough to know that the youth is wasted; young enough to not care. Brothers From Another stay breezy yet again in their clip for “Blame It On My Youth,” directed by Jon Holman. Track devised by Nima Skeemz.

28HUNDRED INTERVIEW: Black Milk

206UP and Jae Change have collaborated to form 28Hundred, a new media company dedicated to producing original video content and in-depth, personality-driven interviews with some of your favorite artists. Stay tuned here for the latest 28Hundred productions.


28Hundred caught up with Detroit hip-hop artist Black Milk at creative art space Freecandy in Brooklyn, to discuss his new album If There’s A Hell Below, his self-sufficiency as a musician (including a comparison to DJ Quik, made by yours truly the interviewer), his approach to beat making, and his relationships within the Seattle hip-hop scene.

NEW MUSIC: Swings – Ryan Caraveo

Ryan Caraveo - Swings

Ryan Caraveo represents a burgeoning youth movement in Seattle hip-hop that nods to a more pop-oriented sound. The rapper’s new album, Swings, doesn’t set our hair on fire, but then 206UP’s sensibly aged staff are probably not the target demographic here.

Still, points for trying as Ryan is definitely a talented songwriter and the production on Swings aims for arena-sized sound and succeeds on that front in many places. Lyrically, however, the LP just skims the surface; there’s an undercurrent of an interesting narrative alluded to on tracks “Forever Be Alive” and “Legend” but otherwise it’s mostly Drake-lite, self-confessionals and color-by-numbers inspiration rap. Ryan Caraveo swings and hits a ground rule double.

Grab the album on iTunes here, and check out videos for “Godmode” and “Betty,” below.

 

NEW MUSIC: “Out Here Gettin’ Money” – Raz Simone

Raz Simone

Episode 5 of Raz Simone’s slooooow build-up to the January release of his Cognitive Dissonance: Part 2 is called “Out Here Gettin’ Money,” and it’s about much more than just, well, being out there gettin’ money. Stay for the spoken word part at the end for the between-the-lines.

NEW MUSIC: “Annex” – Thaddeus David (prod. by SSA)

Thaddeus David - Annex

Thaddeus David stays crazy prolific, prepping the December 22 release of his EP Parallels with producer SSA. “Annex” is the first leak from that record and it diverges from his trap modus operandi of late with an understated beat and dusty sample.

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