AUDIO: This Unruly Mess I’ve Made – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

M&RL - TUMIM

This Unruly Mess I’ve Made should definitely win the (mythical) Grammy for Most Aptly-Titled Rap Album.

Next year for that, though.

For now, tiptoe with the greatest of care through the online landscape lest your kicks become soiled with the mess of “White Privilege II” think pieces and — soon to come — album reviews of TUMIM.

Full disclosure: I haven’t listened to the thing in its entirety yet so I’ve no authority on making any sort of grand statement about the record. Suffice to say I was underwhelmed by the aforementioned “WPII” — it’s never interesting to watch or listen to white people struggle through their privilege, least of all when the catalyst for the testimony appears to be outside criticism and internalized guilt. It is possible for a pop artist to make a thoughtful, effective song about something as abominable as white supremacy that falls under four minutes and qualifies aesthetically for radio play. When it comes to provocation, I’ll take sneaky subversion over cheap scholarship six days a week and twice on Sundays. Our most interesting pop stars of the day pull it off with ease. Macklemore is not one of them.

He is, however, a capable rapper who, when relying on his natural humor and charm, can make truly fun songs. “Thrift Shop” previously, and “Buckshot” — featuring eyebrow raising guest appearances by DJ Premier and KRS One — here. Mack and RL are best when they stick to that formula.

One of my resolutions for the still relatively new year, is to try to reserve judgement against Ben Haggerty the human being; polarized energy is the last thing we need in our already overheated political environment. Instead, judgement should fall with impunity against a world that causes us to need to have these conversations. To be forced into a reckoning by a societal landscape in which the existence of a middling song like “White Privilege II” actually makes for a better place, is a much greater atrocity than seeing mediocre pop music dominate your Twitter feed.

Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: “Touchdown” – Dex Amora (prod. by Goldenbeets)

Dex Amora - Touchdown

MC Dex Amora and the always reliable Goldenbeets on production with their first drop of the (still) new year. I listened to this track in my Honda, driving through my sunny new home of Los Angeles, and indeed I saw that it was good. See Dex and ‘Beets “Touchdown” tonight at Seattle’s Lo-Fi.

Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: “100 Songs” – Sol (prod. by The Zillas)

Sol - 100 Songs

Earlier this month, Sol blasted back at Raz Simone’s dual indictments, “Same Problems”/”Charged Up”, with a dramatic reminder of why the positive-minded MC remains so heavy in the Seattle rap game: Pop-minded hip-hop notwithstanding, dude can spit.

Refusing to step out of his well-paved lane, Sol dropped the catchy “100 Songs” late last week as a follow-up to his Tuesday Bitorrent barrage of 99 songs which he released for free. “100 Songs” is the advance single from Sol’s album, The Headspace Traveler due March 4. It also marks the announcement of a national tour in the same name and with a grip of dates you can see here.

2016 is looking to be major for Sol.

 

Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: Unmixed Nuts Vol. 2 – Chocolate Chuck

Chocolate Chuck - Unmixed Nuts Vol 2

Seattle beat scene fave Chocolate Chuck dispenses with the pleasantries (and agony) of fine-tuning in favor of just getting his shit out there. Unmixed Nuts Vol. 2 is a peek inside the producer’s head over the course of the “past few years.” Thanks for allowing us the glimpse, Chuck!

Audio Audio / Video

VIDEO: “Acceptance” – King Leez (dir. by Andrew Imanaka)

King Leez is a blog favorite here at 206UP. Finding a new home at Black Umbrella seems to have energized the already powerful MC who has always possessed a gigantic presence. Every statement he makes — and “Acceptance” is no exception — seems grand in the hands of Leez. Listen to his Supreme Being here.

Audio / Video Video

AUDIO: Chrono Nigger – Sick Ill

Do-it-all media maven Sic Ill satisfies the hip-hop musical cravings of all you aging millennials out there: Check out the Tacoma rapper’s Chrono Nigger (streaming in its entirety below) which is — you guessed it — raps over the music from the seminal video game Chrono Trigger. Life in the digital age is so wonderful, no?

Audio Audio / Video

TIME’S UP… SORRY I KEPT YOU

The thing about side hustles is that their very existence is a function of how much “side” exists for the hustler to “hustle” on. In recent months, I’ve found that “side” reducing exponentially. October and November of last year found me on a plane nearly every week, shuttling between New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto, making moves that have no relation to this website but with direct effect on the frequency and quality of posts.

The end game to all this moving around was a major lifestyle change: A permanent physical relocation from New York City to Los Angeles. For the first time in over eight years, I’m back living on the Westside (*Ice Cube voice*).

So yeah, come find me chillin’ in Little Tokyo, Koreatown or the Arts District. I’ll be the one squinting quizzically from February sun rays, looking generally out of place in winter boots and wondering why I can’t get a decent slice of pizza at two in the morning within a three block radius of, well, anywhere. I’m looking forward to it.

And start checking the site again beginning this Monday for new content. So many thanks to those of you who reached out via Twitter and email to check in and see what the fuck was up. My move is done and time’s up for slacking on the blog. Sorry I kept you.

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