graffitijohnschuhHere’s a post from today by Andrew Matson (music columnist for the Seattle Times), our faithful voice of realness in the too-often watered-down mainstream media (props to Andrew!). I would second everything he said in his blog entry — the Seattle hip-hop scene is blowing up like Saint Helens in 1980!

(Someone needs to sample the corny intro song to this video. We need an official Seattle anthem. You can’t tell me Marcus D couldn’t flip that folk song into a slapper worthy of a beat battle showdown!)

This blog is still in its infancy (I just started it the first week in July). Its creation was borne from a desire to write critically and thoughtfully about hip-hop and I purposely limited its scope strictly to Seattle because the task of keeping a blog that addressed hip-hop across the nation was absolutely daunting to me. (Not to mention virtually impossible for one person working a normal nine-to-five and attempting to maintain any semblance of a life outside the Interwebs — I don’t know how Shake and Meka over at 2DOPEBOYZ do it, but they hold it down admirably!) The point is, I’m quickly realizing that with the local scene blowing up, it’s hard even keeping pace on a website that’s limited to just our town!

Like A-Mats said, it’s not just an overwhelming quantity of music, but quality, too. Not even five years ago was there a movement this firmly-rooted in The Town. In the last two and-a-half years Seattle hip-hop has blown-up like Bret Boone’s biceps in 2001. It’s like an evergreen tree on PEDs, with a strong root system, a sturdy trunk, and new branches sprouting out every which-way.

There’s even an established hierarchy — though always unspoken. The most revered and respected artists know who they are and the fans who pay close attention can identify who’s got the National Juice by the rumored record deals, the national connects, the outsourced distribution, etc., etc.

Right now, though, it’s such a love-fest that no one’s beefin’ (all you gotta do is follow the rappers’ gabbing on Twitter to see that — it’s like a virtual fraternity house on there, for real).

Likewise, nearly everyone’s write-ups in The Stranger and Seattle Weekly are favorable. Critics don’t want to offend anyone. You’ve got local venues taking cues from their investment bankers: “Diversify your hip-hop, yo!” Fresh Espresso is sharing the stage with Dyme Def on one night, while Thee Satisfaction and Fatal Lucciauno share it on another. Like I said in a previous post, everyone is eating at the same table. And (thankfully) we’ve certainly not reached a Tipping Point, where the community starts to fragment itself into cliques. This happens in other cities — granted, in ones that are usually larger than our modest hamlet. Here’s hoping it doesn’t occur in Seattle.

For now, I say we continue to enjoy ourselves. I’m still gonna bump my favorite artists faithfully. And probably offer some unfair (?) criticism of others that I don’t favor. I suppose we should all take a cue from Brainstorm and “rock out with (our) cock(s) out!” as he recommends in “I’m Gone.” (But only figuratively, please. We don’t want this to turn into a Mad Rad concert…)


  1. Very well said.

    Problem I see is that it already is VERY cliquish. Everyone loves everyone. No one is critical anymore. Seattle Weekly, Stranger the whole bunch are in ca-hoots with the artists.

    I comment that was critical of Mad Rad to P Smoov a few weeks back on twitter and he responded by blocking me. Nice guy. That’s what I get for being critical and not belonging to the “circle”.

    I’ve got to get you together with my other buddy about the hip-hop scene. You guys would chop it up and it would be so epic. Quit being a stranger already.

  2. Ace,

    I hear what you’re saying. The hip-hop community as a whole does resemble a clique, of sorts. As an outside observer (I don’t know any of the artists personally) I can’t help but wonder if there’s any sort of inner-conflict going on. Maybe I’m just not tuned-in enough to see bad blood playing out publicly (ie. on Twitter, the blogs, at shows, etc.).

    Yeah, what’s up with your dude? Does he have a blog or anything?

    (One more thing: Tell your “Gal” that I dig what she’s doing over at SSG! Show me some love on the blogroll, ha ha!)


  3. Also, P Smoov is still following me on Twitter which I can only presume means he hasn’t read my previous post in which I hate (fairly or unfairly) on Mad Rad. Whoops!

    Just wait until he reads my review of “Glamour,” then we’ll see if he’s paying attention for real! (J/K, I actually have a love/hate relationship with Fresh Espresso that usually trends toward love, so it’s all good, Smoov!)

  4. I’ve chatted a bit with some people who have been around the scene for a LOOOOONG time and it is very clique-ish. How else does everyone get along so well? I think everyone is very smart and realizes that making move sin this city is about networking with other artists so no one wants to make any waves. Seems the only riffs have been between artists & promoters/venues not artists vs artists.

    The only pages smoover has is his myspace & twitter. He posts sometimes on the out for stardom blogspot page but nothing earth shattering. He self promotes like a mofo and won’t respond or read twits if he doesnt know you FYI.

    Whens that glamour review droppin? I got my own 2 cents about it as well.

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