Bumbershoot-2009-wideIt is with great regret that I inform you (friends, strangers, fam-damily) that I will be unable to attend this year’s edition of the Bumbershoot music festival. My presence is required out of town. (I’ll be in the Big Apple, hopefully catching Mos Def on 9/12 at Governor’s Island — gotta get those tickets now while they’re still available!)

It’s a damn shame, too, because it’s another great year for hip-hop at the ‘Shoot. I was just checking out the lineup and lamenting the fact that I’m gonna miss it. Anyway, here’s a brief summary of the hip-hop performances that I won’t be catching this year, along with a few of my thoughts on the matter…

Dyno Jamz (Sat, 12:30 pm, EMP Sky Church) – Uhh, I have no idea who they are. An “eight-man hip-hop ensemble?” Winner of the “EMP Sound Off! battle of the bands competition”? Guess I need to do some homework. I do know one thing, however…they have a really wack sounding name.

Wale (Sat, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green Stage) – It’s everyone’s new favorite emcee! You can’t miss Wale, yo! I have his mixtapes in constant rotation on my iPod. Lyrically, he’s incomparable, but the honest truth is that his flow is only so-so. Doesn’t really matter, though, he shows more personality in half a verse than most rappers do on their entire albums. Plus his production is always top-notch.

De La Soul (Sat, 9:30 pm, Fisher Green Stage) – One of my top three favorite groups of all-time. What else can I say? You claim to love hip-hop? Then loving De La with all your mind, body, and soul is a requirement. Miss this show and you’re fakin’ it.

Dyme Def (Sun, 2:15 pm, Fisher Green Stage) – Got mad love for these local rap heroes. I could see these dudes blowing up nationally at some point. Brainstorm competed in the nationals at the Red Bull Big Tune beat battle last year. Their full-length debut, Space Music, was a break-through for Seattle hip-hop in that it was maybe the first legitimate mainstream-flavored (read: “commercial”) album to ever come out of our fair city.

Swollen Members (Sun, 5:00 pm, Rockstar Stage) – I heard they got hip-hop in Canada, too. This duo hails from our northerly neighbour, British Columbia. Other than that, I don’t know much about ’em. I do remember the joint, “Breathe,” they did with Nelly Furtado (also Canadian), which got my ass moving once or twice. When they perform live, do they do it in a theatre? (Canada jokes are funny, eh?)

Common Market (Sun, 5:45 pm, Fisher Green Stage) – You’ll see a lot of love for CM on this blog. RA Scion and DJ Sabzi are helping set the standard for Seattle hip-hop. Complex rhymes meet beautiful boom-bap. RA’s great on-stage, as well.

D. Black and Spaceman (Sun, 8:00 pm, EMP Sky Church) – D. Black is Seattle’s version of Biggie Smalls, natural and engaging on the mic; a true diamond from the South End. Spaceman is the eccentric court jester of Sportn’ Life. Together on stage they’re sure to get your hands up like the SPD. (Can’t wait for Black’s sophomore full-length, Ali’Yah, dropping 9.15.09. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Spaceman.)

Macklemore (Mon, 12:30 pm, Fisher Green Stage) – Like Grynch, this cat’s an unlikely beast on the mic. I was definitely sleeping on Macklemore until I spent some honest time listening to The Language of My World. Conscious, introspective, and funny, the album’s a sly charmer. I’ve never seen him live. Next time, I guess.

The Knux (Mon, 1:30 pm, Samsung Mobile Mainstage) – I bought The Knux’s album, Remind Me in 3 Days, based solely on a glowing Rolling Stone review. I was a little disappointed because they spend too much time in rock/dance/techno territory for my taste. The track “FIRE (Put it in the Air),” was one of my favorite songs from ’08, though. I bet this crew is dope live.

The Black Eyed Peas (Mon, 3:00 pm, Samsung Mobile Mainstage) – Ugh. Yuck. Blecchh. Avoid at all costs! I wish the three original members of the crew would hop in the DeLorean and go back to 1998. Their debut, Behind the Front, was legitimate hip-hop. After they added Fergie and annoying pop sensibilities in 2003, it was “goodbye” backpackers and “hello” sell-out city. How disappointing.

Champagne Champagne (Mon, 4:45 pm, EMP Sky Church) – I’ve been meaning to check out their full-length debut, but can’t bring myself to spend the $10 on what might amount to mostly just a bunch of glamour-hop flash geared toward the hipster set. Emcee Pearl Dragon is an underground favorite of mine. I think Pearl’s powers as a solo emcee would reflect more of a pure hip-hop spirit, but who am I to criticize his endeavors as part of this collective? In any case, I’ve heard their live set kicks major skinny-jeaned ass!

I guess that about covers it. Bumbershoot is still over a month away, so you’ve got plenty of time to learn all the lyrics before you go. If you see will.i.am, please tell him that I’m very disappointed in the direction he’s taken the group. (I’m sure he’ll appreciate the constructive criticism.)

Peace!

4 comments

  1. A couple thoughts:

    I’ve seen Dyno Jamz three times thus far. They are the roots with more jazz. The emcee is very talented but lacks versatility. His voice doesnt stand out and you hear the tone more than the words. His flow is smooth though. The name is childish as they weren’t taken it seriously before winning EMP Sound Off. They haven’t made a splash that I was expecting since winning and wouldnt be there if it wasnt for winning.

    Spaceman is whatever to me too. I dont have a problem with him, he is very monotone though. I have a review coming out on his show next week too.

    Macklemore’s album is ok. He did all production himself on it and it isn’t as good as I was expecting. He is talented and a super nice guy. I expect to sit down with him and get an on cam interview soon.

    Champagne Champagne is whatever to me as well. Mad Rad does this shtick and do it so much better. Pearl Dragon seems like a nice kid stuck in a niche genre. His solo stuff will be alot better. I almost expect an Andre 3000 creativity coming out of him. Maybe too high expectations?

    Also, did you sleep on Sol? He got 2nd place at Sound Off and is fairly new to the scene I suppose. He’s been rapping since he was 11 (yeah, i know – what’s that matter?) but has some cuts on his CD, The Ride.

    Common Market is going to be great as always. I just wish RA Scion wasn’t a prick off stage as much.

  2. Are you gonna make it to Bumbershoot this year?

    I’m bummed that I’ll miss De La, I’ve never seen them live before! Excited for Mos Def in NY, though.

    Hey, thanks for reading and the comments. Good lookin’ out! (BTW, I just happened to randomly stumble across SSG and saw your name attached to the Grynch post. It’s a small blog-world, I guess!)

  3. Yes I saw that. I guess there is no more hiding who I am. (Like it really matters anyways?)

    I didn’t get tickets for it or anything, but may end up with press passes (here is to hoping). Truth is, I have never gone before but would be nice to be there considering how much time I have spent in the scene this year.

    Also, I am looking into doing a seattle hip hop roundtable soon. Figure you would be a nice contributor to the table. Whatchu think?

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