88 Ultra

AUDIO: Sirens – 88 Ultra

88 Ultra - Sirens

88 Ultra (also known as Kingston) is one half of production duo Blue Sky Black Death, the outfit responsible for some of Seattle’s most memorable hip-hop of late (see: Nacho Picasso). BSBD has a knack for churning out atmospheric and nefarious digital soundscapes, building off certain on-trend production values in a way that channels the oft gothic-like cloud cover of the Pacific Northwest. Sirens continues in that mode albeit reigned by 88’s hazy sensibilities alone.

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Tri Cities

AUDIO: “Smoke Pt. 1″ – C. Ray

C Ray - Smoke Pt 1

Channeling the meanest of the Death Row-era SoCal rap artists, Tri-Cities MC and producer C. Ray conjures the anti-hero we need in these trying times in “Smoke Part 1.” Thanks to Shao Sosa for putting 206UP onto C. Ray. The Tri is a little outside the perimeter, but then again so am I. Ha.

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RS1

AUDIO: “The Lights” – Raz Simone (prod. by Raz & Jake Crocker)

Raz

The final episode (number 11 if you’re counting) in Raz Simone’s lead-up to the release of his Cognitive Dissonance: Part 2, is a quiet moment. “The Lights” reminds me of Wyclef Jean’s best ballads: half sung, half rapped, with a spiritual heaviness and weary resilience that conjures rap music’s mighty forebear, the blues.

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Jake Crocker 2

THE SIX: Jake Crocker

Jake Crocker

206UP first met hip-hop producer Jake Crocker in February 2014 at a 300 Entertainment listening session for Raz Simone’s Cognitive Dissonance: Part 1. Jake was barely out of high school and about to embark on a bonafide real-world education with his close music partner, Raz. The classroom? The notoriously lecherous music industry.

By all accounts, Jake is an honor roll student, having survived a months-long tour in 2014 with Raz (whose team served as the opening act for Rittz’s OD Tour) and as an instrumental player in the roll-out to the hotly anticipated Cognitive Dissonance: Part 2, set to drop online for free tomorrow (Wednesday, 1/28). Jake again plays an integral part in the production of the new album, his dramatic musical backdrops lending emotional heft so vital to Raz’s confessional style.

Focused, dedicated and refreshingly earnest, Jake Crocker hopped on 206UP’s THE SIX to provide insight into his new life as a working creative.

Features Interviews The Six
Steezie Nasa

AUDIO: Trap Alien – Steezie Nasa

Steezie NASA - Trap Alien - cover

Profoundly weird and exceptionally profane, Moor Gang foot soldier Steezie Nasa’s new album, Trap Alien, is a buzzing obelisk hovering over the Six. Steezie’s vocals are unabashedly auto-tuned, which makes for a cold sense of isolation throughout the record. That is, until the final track where he finally shouts out “My Dogs.”

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Kevin Lavitt

AUDIO: “Night Is Over” – Kevin Lavitt (feat. Sam Lachow)

Kevin Lavitt & Sam Lachow - Night is Over

Kevin Lavitt is a Seattle-based singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. His debut EP Planets will arrive shortly we’re told. “Night Is Over” is the first drop and it features frequent collaborator Sam Lachow. Kevin reminds me of ’90s R&B crooner Jon B — do with that assessment what you will. In any case, blue-eyed soul is here to stay.

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Faded Cover

AUDIO: Faded – JASN & D-Sea

Faded Cover

The LACOSA camp’s JASN (formerly Mack-E) and D-Sea dropped this collaborative EP called Faded. The on trend production by Radical Kid is a sharp turn away from the duo’s typical backpack stylings (rolling high hats abound here) and the two rappers go in with a harder lyrical sensibility. Check the dope threats on “Forty7″ (featuring 206UP favorite Language Arts) for a good sampling.

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Raz

AUDIO: “Shoes On” – Raz Simone (prod. by Raz & Jake Crocker)

Raz Simone - CDP2

Episode 10 in Raz Simone’s lead-up to his Cognitive Dissonance: Part II release (due Wednesday, January 28) is “Shoes On,” a banger that draws parallels between your nine-to-five office job and the grind of a hustler. The lesson here? There is no additional glory in the street life other than the false romantic notions that get attached to it. It’s one shoe at a time for all of us, Raz says.

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Photo courtesy of the artists' Facebook page.

AUDIO: “Superstar (Twenty9 Remix)” – Malice & Mario Sweet

 

Malice & Mario Sweet - Superstar Twenty9 Remix

Something to shake your body to in the depths of the Seattle winter: Malice and Mario Sweet present the first single from their upcoming album SMS. “Superstar (Twenty9 Remix)” is the re-glossed version of the as-yet unreleased original which will (presumably) appear on SMS. Parisian DJ Twenty9 applied the synth touches and vocal swirls to this club gem.

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