What’s good, Bay Area family? You’re probably already up on this, but coming up on Monday, September 1st is the region’s annual Hiero Day, featuring an outstanding lineup of hip-hop including (but not limited to) Seattle’s own Sol and The Bar (well, half of The Bar, anyway). Best of all, it’s FREE! #KeepHieroDayFree
The Super Bowl story that’s not really a story: Marshawn Lynch and his (now trademarked) understated press conference appearances. Somewhere in here lives a thought piece on Marshawn’s brilliant upending of our country’s expectations of how Black athletes should present themselves to the public — the counterpoint to Richard Sherman’s outspoken cries of excellence. Why in God’s name aren’t we wringing our hands over this?!
Town rapper and producer Spekulation gives us the soundtrack for our rumination: “Bout That Action (Beast Mode Remix)” subverts our complex reactions to Marshawn’s curious behavior by employing a singular telling statement made by the man himself. The simple repetition of his sampled words, “Bout that action, boss”, are matched by the equally rudimentary drum pattern of the song, thereby distilling Lynch’s message to its fundamental constituent elements: He is, simply, ’bout that action, boss. And we should be, too. God bless everyone. And God bless the United States of Super Bowl America.
Update, 1.30.14, 4:45pm PST:
And the inevitable remix to the remix: “This Ain’t A Seahawks Anthem”, featuring Prometheus Brown rapping from what sounds like a busy sports bar lobby or the non-business end of his cell phone.
Alright, welcome me back from my week-long vacation out West. The irony of me traveling to Seattle (from my now more-than-temporary home of New York City) is that I don’t actually get any blogging done when I’m out there. Too busy drinking coffee, eating the best sandwich in the country, and splattering pho broth all over my shirt front.
Oh yeah, I’m also busy talking my way into sold-out Blue Scholars shows (thanks, Hollis!) whilst trying to avoid every drop of torrential rainfall the Pacific Northwest has to offer. (The U-Dub stadium parking lot was a river on Friday night. Sheets of water, I’m telling you!)
Anyway, BS kicked off their #TownAllDay Tour jaunt around the country on Friday with a sold-out performance at the Showbox Market. Geo and Sabzi have tightened up their live set (as if that were even possible) by interspersing a totally engaging series of video shorts throughout their rap songs. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the cities on the tour docket and have tickets, you’ll see what I mean.
The vignettes act as a narrative stitching the hyper-local focus of Blue Scholars together. It’s fun playing guess-the-Seattle-sights while watching the clips, but perhaps more importantly the sequences serve to eliminate that bit of regular hip-hop show fatigue — you know the one that starts settling in right around the 45 minute mark.
On Friday the group also debuted a new song, “The Decisive Moment,” which finds Geo getting back to MC basics. There’s no hook here and just enough of a groove by Sabzi to help impart the autobiographical, self-revelatory sentiments of one of the Town’s most beloved artists.
Also fresh: the video for “Anna Karina” (directed by Matt Jay) which has an interesting origin story and subtle provocativeness that speaks volumes without being bombastic. Blue Scholars continue to age like a fine wine.
Blue Scholars’ new video for “Slick Watts” is a pantheon of northwest hip-hop cameos — the food and Townfolk variety. Jordan Nicholson helmed the high-def for this one. Chances are good you’ve seen dude’s lens work on other local music sites. I implore you to Google further.
Hopefully by now you’ve seen Pro Brown’s spoken word commentary in the Seattle Times on the recent (and not so recent) gun violence plaguing Seattle.
It’s unsettling to see how regional (cough! *socioeconomic* cough! cough! *racial*) delineations in the city contribute to the imbalance in news coverage of identical acts of violence. But I don’t have to tell you that ’cause you already know, right? RIGHT? Here’s Geo acting as the much-needed voice of reason over a Sabzi beat you might find familiar. And if you have an extra moment in your day, make sure to check the Comments section of the Times piece. Some of the shit on there is abhorrent. These are our neighbors, fam. SMH.
When Cinemetropolis dropped last year I spent more than a few good minutes of my time trying to figure out the context of Geo’s second verse in “Seijun Suzuki.” That was because there didn’t seem to be any. Ah, but there’s the rub, fam: There is always context for the man’s lyrics. I eventually got the chance to ask him about it and for that see, here. In the meantime, just enjoy the entertaining video for the track, directed by SEA rap video extraordinaire Jon Augustavo.
It’s fairly clear from this clip that Sabzi should be the (un)official third host of The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project, a semi-regular comedic freestyle session that occasionally features prominent guests (like Blue Scholars, for example).
For the uninitiated: Hari Kondabolu is an up-and-coming (sorry, I hate that term) comedian who has roots and connections in Seattle. Check out his steez, here. His brother, Ashok, is the third member of Das Racist; and if you don’t know who that is, well then why are you even reading this? Get out of here. Now. I’m serious.
(Via Blue Scholars’ tumblr.)
Fresh from his Brownouts blog, Prometheus Brown (you know him also as Geo) just posted for your downloading pleasure, a compilation of “calabs, b-sides, rough drafts, photos.” For the rarities aficionados there are also some unreleased Blue Scholars tracks. Click on over for a tracklist and to download, here.