Brainstorm pulls the ol’ body-in-the-back-of-the-trunk trick again. Tiresome. Directed by AK Romero and produced by Blap Gang.
We are in a new era of protest: wars with nebulous “enemies” rage persistently in high-definition, immediately visible to anyone with a wi-fi enabled device; state-sanctioned murder of America’s own citizens in broad-ass daylight, brought to you in easily digestible packets of corporate-sponsored news.
RA Scion — call him Seattle hip-hop’s best answer to Pete Seeger — remains a dissenting voice above the fray. Operating with the same social spirit as other Town MCs like Gabriel Teodros and Prometheus Brown, Ryan Abeo’s lyrical approach is just this side of obtuse — if you’re not paying close attention, that is. Recently, he and producer Indica Jones let loose with a three-part movement called “America, The Funeral (Part One).” It loosely channels Vietnam-era protest music, albeit with breakbeats.
Welcome to the end of the rope.
EarthEE, THEESatisfaction‘s sophomore LP release on Sub Pop records, is an illustration of the fluidity of the Black American perspective. Beats shift from the ancient to the vintage to the modern. Lyrics deal in the historic complexities of sexuality, race and art. The vocals of Cat and Stas show how intrinsically tied are hip-hop and R&B.
EarthEE seems committed to shaking off the baggage of centuries of skirmish for the sake of finding a higher, more redemptive groove. The best thing about this record is how self-referential it is without seeming exclusionary, something THEESatisfaction’s musical cousin Shabazz Palaces has achieved time and again. Most of us are envious outsiders — culturally, philosophically, musically — to THEESat’s particular pedigree, but the music of these two women couldn’t be more inviting.
Preview tracks from EarthEE and purchase the album over at the Sub Pop website and watch the video for “Recognition” below.
In “Same Problems,” Raz Simone continues to give musical life to oft-aired frustrations within the Seattle hip-hop community — including among its observers, listeners and fans — that don’t typically find their way onto wax; at least not in the full-bodied way displayed in this and other recent clips. There are a grip of reasons as to why that is, and they are as intertwined as an iPod headphone cord buried at the bottom of your backpack.
“Same Problems” (which features cameo bars from Gifted Gab and Fatal Lucciauno) goes beyond the tired “rap beef” label that many folks will want to place on it, and exposes a hierarchy — musical, cultural, economical, and, not least of all, racial — that everyone knows exists but is afraid to discuss openly. How do we grow beyond the stale dialogue that permeates the majority of discussion surrounding hip-hop in the Town? Only one is truly eating right now, and whatever trickles down from his mouth is just crumbs.
Expect to hear more on this topic on Raz’s upcoming Macklemore Privilege & Chief on Keef Violence EP coming March 3.
Diogenes (producer and member of beat head collective Filthy Fingers United) and Phreewil (rhyme-sayer and frequent pusher of buttons himself) crafted this four-piece EP, Know Accidents. Dio’s crafty boom-bap and smart left field sample progressions are paired with Phree’s observational, bragging flow for an absolutely satisfying (albeit too brief) musical handshake.
Black Umbrella, musical home to Seattle movers and shakers Raz Simone and Sam Lachow, have recently been unveiling projects by other artists under their canopy. Producer-singer Kevin Lavitt will soon release his debut EP, Planets, and rapper-singer Magik holds court this week with his debut music video and single, “Long Run.” His face and voice will already be familiar to fans of Black Umbrella as he’s appeared in the videos “Action Figures” and “Good Reasons.”
“Long Run” is a concise, soulful statement of Magik’s musical goals with insight into a turbulent past and a hope for a brighter future. Co-produced with BU’s in-house maestro, Jake Crocker.
Graves33 drops ill lyrical science from a higher esoteric plane than most Seattle rappers of similar ilk. His brief but affecting Survive EP went live earlier this month. The highlight here is the anti-police brutality gut punch “Pelicula Tocino” (featuring Dox and Araless of Black Magic Noize), which will leave you nauseous and fucking pissed off — exactly where you should be concerning such states of affairs.
Watch the music video for “I Hope You Comprehend” (featuring Thaddeus David), below.
It appears the mythical Neema/Keyboard Kid collab The Cigar Room will indeed rise from the depths of an overworked hard drive and taste crisp Northwest air. See, Neema fans — it says “March 2015″ in the track artwork above. Do your vocal warm-ups now and get ready to rhyme along in the car with the region’s beloved super-rapper. In the meantime, enjoy the nocturnal, crawling lyrical workout that is “Ten Stacks” featuring Mr. Xquisit on the hook.