Author Archive

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.


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.


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.


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



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.

Aaron Cohen is a Queens-based rapper from the Seward Park neighborhood in Seattle, who’s been garnering a fair amount of burn on national outlets like Noisey, Mishka and Mass Appeal. 28Hundred sat down with Aaron in Queens for this exclusive interview.

Check out his latest song “You Wouldn’t Know” (featuring Alexander Spit) the title track from his upcoming EP due September 22.

NEW MUSIC: Huckleberry – Sam Lachow

Sam Lachow - Huckleberry

Sam Lachow sounds like a kid in a candy store when he raps. His new album, Huckleberry, dropped today and it’s a delight, probably the feel-good album of the Seattle summer — maybe the year. Upon first glance, Sam slides comfortably into the dreaded “frat rap” category, but to qualify him as such would be a major disservice. Undoubtedly, general amusement derived from social and chemical excess is on his mind, but the indulgences are tempered with a wary sense of contrition; the ghosts of hangovers past seem to haunt every new outing.

The other thing that sets Sam apart from his peers are his musical chops. “The Idea” and “Action Figures” are blowout party jams, for sure, but there’s rare musicianship and craft behind those tracks. Sam writes, produces, directs videos, and does the graphic design on all of his shit, so it’s no wonder dude needs to blow off a little steam.

Huckleberry also does much to shine light on the rapper’s musical squad. Frequent collaborator, and fellow Black Umbrella mastermind, Raz Simone shows up twice, as do familiar names like Ariana DeBoo, B Skeez and Sky Blaow. The third entry in Sam’s “Young Seattle” series continues to show how deep the hip-hop talent pool runs in this modestly-sized Town.

Huckleberry grabs for wide appeal with the same type of precocious energy as its namesake. When things slow down, however, like on the innocence-lost tearjerker “Stolen Bikes,” the man behind the curtain is exposed and Sam Lachow’s raps and boisterousness are reduced to something far darker. It’s a solemn but vital reminder that in order for there to be celebration, we must first understand despair.

Check out Sam’s new video for “ThisThat” (featuring Ryan Rotoro) below:

NEW MUSIC: Fundamentals – Porter Ray



Young padawan Porter Ray, freak of rap nature (and, as of two hours ago, Sub Pop Record’s newest signee) with a new collection of songs for your head piece. Fundamentals picks up where RSE GLD and WHT GLD left off: Our young g rising in the music game, seeking redemption from the streets, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and a couple shorties’ worth of math to text in the after hours. Porter’s Twitter handle is @porterbeplayin but this young man is decidedly not.

Aesthetically, Fundamentals is cleaner around the edges as compared to the MCs trio of 2013 EPs. The sample-based, jazz and boom-bap has been tightened up and the mix is far cleaner. This is where I say something about artistic growth and bigger budgets, and blah blah blah, and all of it would be true. But it still feels like Porter is finding his footing, which might be the most exciting part of his narrative thus far. Lyrically, you would be hard pressed to find a Seattle rapper with a better handle on words; his level of articulation falls somewhere categorically Nas-like.

Porter triangulates wizened block business (“Dice Game Diagrams”), matters of friends and family (“Ruthie Dean,” “On The Slick”), and several doses of horny defamation (“Fatal Attractions,” “French Kiss”) into a singular worldview considerably more sumptuous and unstable than yours or mine. If this is a lifestyle actually being lived, it’s hard to imagine finding any peace, which is what Porter Ray seeks at the conclusion of Fundamentals. The three songs that close out the album — “Searching,” “Sunrise” and “Meditate” — find him asking for some type of spiritual blessing, which is just fine. He’s been the one doing all of the blessing to this point, anyway.

NEW MUSIC: “Half Past Twelve” – Sam Lachow (feat. Magik)

Sam Lachow

Sam Lachow’s sophomore LP, Huckleberry, drops tomorrow and something tells me the infamous party starter will be “half past gone” just like his latest drop says. Magik on the hook, Sam on the Jameson.

NEW MUSIC: “No Worries” – Dark Time Sunshine

DTS - No Worries

Dark Time Sunshine kicks off their West Coast / Southwest / Midwest tour tonight at the Vera Project in Seattle. Submit yourselves to the duo’s heady brand of Sennheiser rap; it will make for a disorienting Friday work day, the way all Friday work days should be. Their 2012 record, ANX, remains one of the most engaging listens of the last five years. Oh, and they dropped this loosie a few days ago called “No Worries.”

NEW MUSIC: “Arrows” – Fences (feat. Macklemore; prod. by Ryan Lewis)

Seattle indie rock favorite Fences dropped this new track with Macklemore yesterday. Produced by Ryan Lewis, it’s from the band’s forthcoming Lesser Oceans. You might remember this trio collaborated previously on a remix to Mack and RL’s hit “The Otherside” from their VS EP. That seems so long and many lifetimes ago. Sigh.

NEW MUSIC: Lese Majesty – Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

“Herein bumps and soars Lese Majesty, the new sonic action of Shabazz Palaces.” So states the write-up concerning SP’s newest album offering (officially out today) on their record label’s website (that would be Sub Pop). If you are attuned to the dispatches of the cerebral music internet, you’ve probably already read or heard the accolades. It’s all deserved. Lese Majesty is as much a follow-up to Black Up as outer space is to the stratosphere. While Black Up hovered somewhere in the ethereality between the corporeal and the heavens, Lese Majesty takes it a step further, echoing cosmic noise from the spacetime.

Brian Greene taught us that time might just be an illusion, wholly dependent on where we’re positioned in the universe and at what speed we happen to be traveling. Our extraterrestrial counterparts, zooming through the galaxy at just the right trajectory and speed, could theoretically view the entirety of human history through a powerful enough looking glass. At times, Lese Majesty sounds like the aural document from such an excursion.

Tracks like “Forerunner Foray” and “Motion Sickness” move with greater authority than most of Black Up, which makes Lese Majesty a more exciting record, at least empirically. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to get lost in, however. “Ishmael” is one of my favorite Shabazz tracks to date: a floating, sweeping merger of soul, rock and hip-hop that reflects the intricacies of its eponymous creator.

I’m just beginning a third spin through Lese Majesty, and so far it promises more complexity and returns than anything I’ve heard in recent months. And I haven’t even begun to dig through the lyrics. “Bumps and soars,” indeed.




NEW MUSIC: “What Love Will Do” – Bari Bux (feat. Chev; prod. by Kuddie Fresh)

Bari Bux - What Love Will Do

Cream Team member Bari Bux with a new drop: “What Love Will Do,” produced by Kuddie Fresh and featuring Chev.

VIDEO: “Ultra Violet” – Def Dee & Alca

Quick shot to the dome from the 96 Pickup collective, vintage rap revivalists that includes, among others, producer Def Dee and rapper Alca who flash “Ultra Violet” in advance of Def’s upcoming LP which is due in September.

NEW MUSIC: “You Wouldn’t Know” – Aaron Cohen (feat. Alexander Spit; prod. by Eff.Dope)

Aaron Cohen - You Wouldn't Know feat Alexander Spit

Slow roll psychedelics from Seward Park —> Queens, NY rapper Aaron Cohen (with some help from Cali agent Alexander Spit). “You Wouldn’t Know” is the title track to Aaron’s upcoming EP dropping September 22.

NEW MUSIC: Lost And Found Features 2007-2014 – Thaddeus David

Thaddeus David - Lost And Found Features

Newly minted in aggregate is this collection of joints that rapper Thaddeus David has featured on between the years 2007 and 2014. A nice piece to round out your collection of 206 rarities and deep cuts.

VIDEO: “Action Figures” – Sam Lachow (feat. Gifted Gab & Mario Sweet)

Your official 2014 Seattle Summer Anthem is “Action Figures” by Sam Lachow, from his forthcoming Huckleberry.

NEW MUSIC: “Make It Last” – Wizdom (prod. by Exoticey)

Wizdom - Make It Last

Wizdom teamed up with local producer Exoticey — winner of a Kickstarter promotion for Wiz’s recent The Last Step — for “Make It Last,” a 206 rap spin on Keith Sweat’s OG love ballad, “Make It Last Forever.”

VIDEO: “Promise Me” – The Good Sin (feat. Tay Sean)

“Promise Me” is the first single from The Good Sin’s Life Before which dropped earlier in the week. This is a smart, nuanced look at the changes we all go through and how our romantic relationships are affected.

VIDEO: “Alive” – Rockwell Powers & DJ Phinisey (dir. by The Art Dept.)

Tacoma’s Rockwell Powers and DJ Phinisey make great music with a humanist spirit. Their Build is important hip-hop from the South Sound; the clip for “Alive” was directed by Peter Berkley of The Art Dept.

VIDEO: “Rockstar x Chief’n” – Diffy Boi & Twizzy Boi

From their We Strizzy Boi LP, Young Diffy and Ju-Ju Twist behave like you’d expect very young people to behave. I suppose there’s a time and place for this track but that time for me is not at this moment. Do you, though, fellas.

NEW MUSIC: Life Before – The Good Sin

The Good Sin - Life Before

The Good Sin recently relocated to Harlem, NYC and put in hard work on his new album, Life Before, which dropped yesterday. Click the album cover above to purchase on iTunes and stream it below.

NEW MUSIC: “Forerunner Foray” – Shabazz Palaces

SP - Forerunner Foray

 “Forerunner Foray” is the latest from Shabazz Palaces’ Lese Majesty (due July 29 on Sub Pop). It’s a spectral hip-hop jam from the future featuring frequent collaborator Catherine Harris-White of THEESatisfaction. It’s also a description of the antics my bro and I used to get into in the earlier part of this century in my ’94 forest green Toyota. We don’t need four-wheel drive where we’re going, bruh.

(h/t Gorilla vs. Bear)


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