AUDIO: Nightfall – Porter Ray

Porter Ray - Nightfall

Porter Ray - Nightfall

Sub Pop recording artist Porter Ray and his intrepid team are warming up for his “official” Sub Pop debut this summer. The six-song Nightfall EP is a primer, suitable for kicking it indoors and in rides as the darker winter days descend on the Six.

Audio Audio / Video

VIDEO: “Seattle Sweeties” – Draze (dir. by Atuanya Priester)

Seattle MC Draze and local bakeshop Cupcake Royale continue the roll-out of their “Seattle Sweeties” fundraising campaign, an effort to earn money for Mary’s Place, a shelter for homeless women, children and families. The campaign is for a worthy cause and the partners should be lauded for initiating it. The opinions that follow should be taken separately from how 206UP feels about the campaign but are still relevant because of how intrinsically tied the issues are.

Draze dropped the “Seattle Sweeties” single three weeks ago and 206UP had some things to say about the track’s good intentions but disappointing sexist subtext. The Stranger’s Angela Garbes echoed similar sentiments. Five days ago Draze followed up the single with a music video which you can view below. Similar to the audio, the visual is — again — disappointingly reductive for all the reasons 206UP and the Stranger have already given.

As far as making a meaningful, nuanced artistic statement about the endemic that is institutionalized sexism Draze and Cupcake Royale, with their song and video, have failed miserably. To be fair, however, that’s probably not their area of expertise nor their original intention.

In the Garbes piece, Cupcake Royale’s Chief Operating Officer Nicki Kerbs is notably glib in her response to the charges of the “Seattle Sweeties” campaign being problematic. It seems that, to her, a cupcake is just a cupcake.

Of course you don’t have to be Don Draper to know that in the advertising/marketing game it’s never that simple. The same factors that play inside your brain, convincing you you must have that cupcake now, wage war on the same subconscious battlefield that allows sexist viewpoints to institutionalize themselves and become societal norms. The term “sweeties” — as innocuous as it sounds — carries negative connotations for many women. If Draze and Cupcake Royale intended to usurp those connotations, then more power to them; it’s just unfortunate they did it in the wrong way.

(Click here to read more about Mary’s Place and go here to make a financial contribution.)

Audio / Video Video

VIDEO: “What Do Ai Say” – Dex Amora (prod. by Goldenbeets; feat. Scarlet Parke)

On the mic device Dex Amora is all fluid lyricism, coasting with uncommon ease from thought to thought; old (school) soul in a new body. “What Do Ai Say” was produced by Goldenbeets and features vocals by Scarlet Parke. It’s the first leak from Dex and Golden’s upcoming Ai Level EP.

Audio / Video Video

AUDIO: Punch Drunk – Dave B

Dave B - Punch Drunk

Dave B — former EMP Sound Off! champ and one of the prime ringleaders of Seattle’s current rap youth wave — dropped his new album, Punch Drunk, last Friday. Dave is full of his typical sly swagger here, obsessed with love and lust — refreshingly — in equal parts, and recalling the few formative moments in his relatively young life. At first listen, Punch Drunk coasts easily on these beats, riding Dave’s effortless charms and neo-boom-bap production. But secondary and tertiary spins reveal an especially self-aware young man with low-key neuroses he’s more than happy to flesh out on wax, albeit with a lyrical deftness slick as rainwater.

Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: Gorilla Warfare – 10isee Williams

10isee Williams - Gorilla Warfare

Area rapper 10isee Williams collates an army of thoughts and wages war against the okey-doke on his new, excellent Gorilla Warfare. This is just the type of hip-hop music conservative talking heads would point to as “divisive” and “inflammatory” in nature. Williams dispenses with pleasantries, instead cutting immediately to the rote nature of hip-hop consumerism and the resultant blindness to the political line in the sand drawn by hip-hop so many decades ago. Some might call this an “us against them” stance. Williams would probably call it “the truth.”

Audio Audio / Video

VIDEO: “That Nigga” – Raz Simone

Part pep talk, part denunciation, Raz Simone’s video for “That Nigga” — a previously released single soon to be found on the rapper’s upcoming Trap Spirituals (due Nov. 3) — is more fodder for haters and rumor-mongers.

Audio / Video Video

AUDIO: The First Ride – John Crown

John Crown - The First Ride

Tacoma’s John Crown is one of the best rappers from the South Sound, an MC with equal parts swagger and substance. The First Ride is the latest new music from him in a minute. It dropped earlier this month and 206UP is just now catching wind. You should too.

Audio Audio / Video