VIDEO: “Home Of The Mighty” – Spekulation (feat. Perry Porter & Paolo Escobar; dir. by Shaun Scott)

206UP has been off it’s regularly scheduled programming for a minute while we gear up to release our Top 15 Seattle Hip-Hop Albums of the last five years (2009-14). It’s coming soon, I promise — just need to collect the last few envelopes of cash from these thirsty rappers. You’d never believe how hard it is to extract payola these days what with our every financial move being monitored and recorded for perpetuity.

I’m totally fucking kidding, by the way. (Or am I? …)

Anyway, the state of the world is … Well, I really have no words other than to say I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt such a range of emotions just from observing the 24-hour news cycle. There is so much pain and anger and risible sentiments of all types, it’s hard to muster the energy — or the desire — to celebrate anything. Spekulation’s Seattle-centric anthem “Home Of The Mighty” feels like the right song at the right time. It’s a poignant encapsulation of all the good and the bad, the dark and the light, that our fair city — and this country’s urban centers in general — are capable of producing. Last weekend, my wife and I watched The Birdcage, which was one of those familiar acts of celebration and lamentation we find ourselves participating in whenever a pop culture icon passes. We laughed our assess off, nearly to the point of tears, and it was interesting to consider where those fissures in composure were originating. The images in the video for “Home Of The Mighty” wrests similar feedback: alternating pangs of exuberance and regret over what the Town has wrought. You’d have to be an android not to feel it too.

SHOW & V.I.P. TICKET PACKAGE GIVEAWAY: Open Mike Eagle at Columbia City Theater – Saturday, August 23, 2014 [CONTEST CLOSED]

Open Mike Eagle Columbia City

We are a beleaguered nation. It’s hard to imagine attending a hip-hop show this week in any sort of celebratory fashion, but yet here we are, left to find some amount of solace in a form of music with blessedly curative properties.

Open Mike Eagle might just be the right man at the right time to help Seattle heal through the fog of the nation’s ongoing race war. The native Chicagoan — and now Hellfyre Club affiliated, Los Angeles-based rapper — brings his distinct comedic hip-hop steez to the Columbia City Theater this Saturday, August 23. Mike pushes an absurdist/satirical edge in the same vein as Das Racist, but with far more coherent lyricism. Stream his recent Mello Music offering, Dark Comedy, below, and watch the video for “Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)” featuring the oft-hilarious Hannibal Buress.

And oh yeah, 206UP will help get you and one guest to the show in style. Our ticket giveaway* features a V.I.P. package that includes a chartered ride from your house (inside the Seattle city-limits only) and backstage passes. Enter to win using the form below.

*Must be at least 21 years of age to enter. Many thanks to Araless of Black Magic Noize (who are also on the bill) for the hook-up!


Photo courtesy of

206UP FIVE YEAR (2009-14) – “Dispatch From the Summer Music Journal of Hollis” by Hollis Wong-Wear

FIVE clear206UP continues its run of special features in celebration of the blog’s five-year anniversary.

Today, we’re super pumped to be handing the keys to the blog over to the uber-creative Hollis Wong-Wear. Hers is the third entry in 206UP’s series of guest posts written by different members of the Seattle hip-hop community.

I met Hollis for the first time back in 2010 at Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, where she performed, along with fellow MC/singer MADlines, as one half of the duo Canary Sing. Since then, Hollis’ various musical projects have led her back to NY a grip of times, most notably with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis during their three night Madison Square Garden run last winter, and for a handful of shows with her own band, The Flavr Blue. Hollis wrote this essay in early July, on the eve of the electro-pop trio’s third and fourth shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Like many people — myself included — she has an intensely romantic relationship with New York. I’m always struck by how easily the ethos of the relatively low-key Seattle music community vibes with the perpetual turnt-up-ness of Gotham. Blue Scholars, THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, The Flavr Blue, and, of course, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have all experienced success here, which is a testament to the Town’s hustle and universality of its music. NYC can be a shark to those brave enough to swim in its entertainment waters, but none of those Seattle cats have ever gotten eaten.

Read more from Hollis below the jump.

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206UP FIVE YEAR (2009-14): “Five Seattle Producers Pushing it Forward” by Spekulation

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206UP continues its run of special features in celebration of the blog’s five-year anniversary.

Today’s post is the second in a series of guest contributions from different members of the Seattle hip-hop community. Yesterday, Ricky Pharoe provided insight into what it meant to be a rapper drifting in that nebulous realm of up-and-coming yet down-and-out in the Seattle scene circa 2007.

Today, producer/MC Spekulation lists his top five favorite Town hip-hop producers. 206UP thinks you should pay special attention to what he has to say because of his own particular pedigree as an artist: a well-tuned ear and attention to the intricacies of musical composition as opposed to rudimentary pad pushing on a drum machine. The five artists Spek lists embody the very definition of the term “producer” because they stretch beyond the simple beatmaker maxim.

Hit the jump to read more.

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206UP FIVE YEAR (2009-14): “Monday Nights at the Chop” by Ricky Pharoe

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206UP continues its run of special features in celebration of the blog’s five-year anniversary.

Today’s post is fairly significant because it marks the very first time the site has welcomed a piece by a guest contributor. Better still, the author of this post is one Ricky Pharoe, the MC from left-of-center groups Art Vandelay and Ricky and Mark.

You could call this piece a sort of coming-of-age Seattle hip-hop tale, blessed with the sort of acerbic wit and droll humor that colors the majority of Ricky’s lyrical bars.

We’re really happy to have him and think you should all read this — especially you down-and-out rappers who are considering ending it all by enrolling in community college.

Ricky’s life lesson begins after the jump.

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206UP FIVE YEAR (2009-14): The Top 25 Tracks

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206UP turned five years old on July 5th. Can you believe it? What started as a lark — a mere glimmer in the apple of my internet eye — has grown into the most popular Seattle hip-hop blog in existence. (I’m not tooting my own horn here, do the Googling and see for yourself … Okay, maybe there’s a little bit of tooting going on.)

Some quick history: 206UP began as an alternative creative outlet a couple of years after I moved to New York City. For a time, I was keeping one of those very self-indulgent, personal blogs about my new life in NYC — very uninteresting stuff to anyone other than my mom. After I put the kibosh on that, it only took about 20 minutes to decide I wanted to try something different. 206UP was basically borne out of an instantaneous decision; there was really no planning involved, which probably explains why the very name of the site was hijacked (subconsciously, I swear) from a sub-heading on Larry Mizell’s now-defunct — and definite source of inspiration — Raindrophustla.

I still live, work, and write and manage the blog from New York City, which keeps me once or twice removed from the local scene at all times. But in some ways that separation is preferable: 206UP prides itself on maintaining a critical edge which would be tough to preserve if I were sitting down to coffee with these rappers every weekend. In the end, this site strives to provide an exhaustive, discerning look at the dedicated and well-deserving Town artists putting in work in the name of hip-hop music. We keep this site going because we care, just like the artists we feature.

To celebrate the five-year milestone, regularly scheduled programming is being preempted for the next few days in order to bring you some special features. First up is a list: 206UP’s Top 25 Seattle Hip-Hop Tracks of the last five years*. These are the songs the site kept coming back to time and again. The ones that made immediate impressions when heard for the first time and, more often than not, the ones that endured and actually got better as time passed. These tracks also tend to stand alone, as singular, well-rounded examples of the artists that created them. If you were to name the single most important factor in determining if a song made it onto this list, it’s probably that one.

As always, you might disagree. You will disagree. And 206UP’s own opinion is subject to change. In fact it probably already has. The list begins after the jump.

*7/5/09 through 7/5/14

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