SHOW REVIEW & INTERVIEW: Twista at the Crocodile – Thursday, 10.16.14

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The Crocodile, Reign City, Ten Grand Marketing, and Soul Gorilla Present: Twista the “Dark Horse Tour” | The Crocodile | Thursday, October 16, 2014

Show review and interview by Emery Desper. Photography by JK Scroggins.

I went to the Twista show excited to take a stroll down memory lane. When I think of the legends of hip-hop he might not be one of the first people to come to mind, but once he ran through his catalog I realized this was a mistake. As I watched one of Chi-town’s finest emerge on the Crocodile’s stage with the most impressive jewelry I have seen up close (paling only in comparison to Slick Rick’s) I happily rapped my way into nostalgia.

The room was packed with dedicated fans. Twista opened his set with the title track off his latest album, Dark Horse, but the real strength of his show was in the older material. What impressed me most about Twista is the amount of hits he’s had and how fun all those songs are to hear live. As soon as the beat dropped from “Is That Your Chick,” and he began to rhyme at a pace that no one has been able to rival, I was amazed. Even though everyone knows that Twista is defined by his ability to rap faster than anyone else, seeing that kind of skill, mastery of language, power, energy, and simultaneous calm on stage all at once is impressive.

Interviews Live Coverage Show Reviews

SHOW REVIEW: Yasiin Bey at Showbox Market – Wednesday, 10.8.14


Showbox, Dead Nation and Reign City Present: Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) with Lilla & Raz Simone | Showbox Market | Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Show review by Emery Desper. Photography by Rafael Ochoa.

One could argue that it is hard to be innovative when it comes to rap music. It might even be harder to be innovative when performing rap music. Most musicians stand on stage, hold the mic, walk around a little bit, and then take a pause to say, “How y’all feel?” This is not bad of course. There is nothing wrong with just performing your songs; that’s what people are there to see, after all.

But Raz Simone impressed me by stepping out of the box and, in this case, off the stage to do something that never even crossed my mind until I saw it with my own eyes. Midway through his opening set last Wednesday night at Showbox at the Market, he hopped off stage after he had been working the entire room, and asked the crowd to gather in a circle. He rapped passionately in the middle of the floor, the highlight being when he performed his love letter to Seattle — a cover of Adele’s “Hometown Glory” — standing eye-to-eye with the audience. He hugged people in the crowd, jumped up and down and even finished his set by being hoisted up, literally on the shoulders of the people he was performing for. Call me sentimental, but this gave me a lot of hope for rap music in general and made me proud of Seattle rap in particular.


Live Coverage Show Reviews

SHOW REVIEW: Brother Ali and Bambu at The Crocodile – Tuesday, 9.23.14

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Show review by Emery Desper. Photography by Zac Davis.

On the first day of Autumn, a few hundred Seattle residents celebrated the city’s return to dreary gray weather by gathering to be a part of a sold-out show featuring two of hip-hop’s most profound underground MCs: Bambu and Brother Ali.

BamFull disclosure: I saw Bambu perform in LA when I was in college and became a total fan girl. Needless to say, his presence on Brother Ali’s “Home Away From Home” tour caused me to have exactly the same reaction. Dressed in all black like an omen, he appeared on the Crocodile’s stage full of Cali swag. And while his delivery is cool, make no mistake, everything about Bambu can be summed up in one word: Power. He was there to give you a show, yes, but mostly he was there to give you an education. Bar after bar, rhyme after rhyme, social justice delivered in dramatic form is the name of his rap game. With all the heavy subject matter — Ferguson, women’s rights, student loan debt, to name a few — listeners took away a better history lesson on what it’s like to be struggling in America than they could have from a classroom.

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SHOW: Hiero Day Oakland, CA – Monday, September 1, 2014

hieroday oakland

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

Live Coverage

SHOW REVIEW: Open Mike Eagle at Columbia City Theater – Saturday, 8.23.14

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Show review by Emery Desper. Photography by Zac Davis.

Open Mike Eagle has described his brand of hip-hop as “art rap,” while typically being classified as an “alternative rapper.” While the art rap stamp rings true, I would beg to differ that what Eagle brings to the table is “alternative.” Or, if it is, everyone else needs to change the way they think and talk about rap moving forward because what Eagle offers should be the norm. What you get from Mike Eagle is everything rap ought to be: witty intelligence, great flow, comedic value, punch lines that make you think twice, and good supporting beats.

ome crownNormally I hate describing certain music as “smart” for the same reason I detest describing people as “nice.” More often than not these terms are lacking. However, since the word “smart” means “Having or showing quick witted intelligence,” there really is no better way to sum up what Eagle brings to the table. Clad in earth tones and a turquoise wood medallion, unassuming, thoughtful and reverent to the rap task at hand, Open Mike Eagle began his show at Columbia City Theater last Saturday night by wafting scented oil into the air tracing an unknown word in the air while holding a figurine, facing East to pray, and passing around a golden crown for the audience to touch before starting his set. This was a dope way to establish energy in the room while also alerting the audience to just how important his particular craft is to him.

Eagle has a smooth voice and cool delivery, and he clearly loves performing his well-crafted bars. Not one to move about on stage or call too much attention to himself, he leaves room for what is most important: his raps. He made intense eye contact with the crowd, was very personable, and not over-confident, even though his skills justify any bragging he might do about his own dopeness. Instead of all the bravado that rap is accustomed to, he just stood and delivered, song after song. Eagle pulled off something rare by making heavy social commentary without sounding like a show off.

Live Coverage Show Reviews

SHOW & V.I.P. TICKET PACKAGE GIVEAWAY: Open Mike Eagle at Columbia City Theater – Saturday, August 23, 2014 [CONTEST CLOSED]

Open Mike Eagle Columbia City

We are a beleaguered nation. It’s hard to imagine attending a hip-hop show this week in any sort of celebratory fashion, but yet here we are, left to find some amount of solace in a form of music with blessedly curative properties.

Open Mike Eagle might just be the right man at the right time to help Seattle heal through the fog of the nation’s ongoing race war. The native Chicagoan — and now Hellfyre Club affiliated, Los Angeles-based rapper — brings his distinct comedic hip-hop steez to the Columbia City Theater this Saturday, August 23. Mike pushes an absurdist/satirical edge in the same vein as Das Racist, but with far more coherent lyricism. Stream his recent Mello Music offering, Dark Comedy, below, and watch the video for “Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)” featuring the oft-hilarious Hannibal Buress.

And oh yeah, 206UP will help get you and one guest to the show in style. Our ticket giveaway* features a V.I.P. package that includes a chartered ride from your house (inside the Seattle city-limits only) and backstage passes. Enter to win using the form below.

*Must be at least 21 years of age to enter. Many thanks to Araless of Black Magic Noize (who are also on the bill) for the hook-up!

Live Coverage Ticket Giveaways

SHOW & TICKET GIVEAWAY: clipping. at Columbia City Theater – Thursday, July 3, 2014 [CONTEST CLOSED]


clipping. is a genre-bending hip hop trio from Southern California who will undoubtedly challenge your aural senses and very idea of what rap music is capable of sounding like. Their Sub Pop debut album, CLPPNG, has been stirring a fair amount of online buzz since its release on June 10th. The group’s sound, courtesy of producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson, falls somewhere between a stripped-down version of Hank Shocklee’s Bomb Squad histrionics and the Neptunes, circa Hell Hath No Fury. And lead rapper Daveed Diggs sounds like a street-seasoned spoken word poet channeling Ice-T. clipping. may not be everyone’s cup of coffee, but by listening you are guaranteed to feel some sort of way, and that alone means something in a rap landscape otherwise roamed by clowns and clones.

206UP has two pairs of tickets to see clipping. on Thursday, July 3, at the Columbia City Theater (21+ only). Joining them in support will be Seattle’s very own OC Notes and Sneak Guapo, two artists that this blog rides for consistently. Enter to win a pair of tickets by filling out the form below (one entry per person) or by shooting us a tweet (@206upBlog) with the words “CLIPPING RINGS THE ALARM!” in the body of the text. Two names will be drawn at random and notified by email on Wednesday, July 2 no later than 5 pm PST.

Stream a few of clipping.’s tracks below and check out the lyric video for “Work Work” (featuring Cocc Pistol Cree) from CLPPNG.

Live Coverage Ticket Giveaways

SHOW & TICKET GIVEAWAY: Shad at Barboza – Wednesday, June 11 [CONTEST CLOSED]

Shad at Barboza

Shad is huge in Canada. Bigger — in 2010 apparently — than even Drake, when the London, Ontario MC beat out the T-Dot’s favorite son for one of Canadian music’s coveted Juno awards. (My wife, who is Canadian, would not like that I used the ridiculous abbreviated version of her hometown’s name, but she is not here right now and I’m pretending to not know any better.) Shad’s latest album, 2013’s Flying Colours, was similarly well-received in our neighbor to the north and now the self-deprecating, socially-minded rapper is beginning to find buzz in the States.

You’re in luck, Seattle, because Shad is coming to Barboza this Wednesday* (6/11/14), and 206UP is pleased to be offering a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Here’s how to enter: Send an email or tweet to or @206upBlog with the phrase “SHAD >>> DRAKE AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT!” somewhere in the body of the message; OR simply fill out the form below. We’ll pick one name at random this Tuesday and inform the winner by email. Reminder: Just because the legal drinking age in Canada is 18 doesn’t mean this show is for you — sorry, kids, 21 and over only.

*Also on deck for support are Grammy-nom’ed South Sound artist Q-Dot and BFA’s DJ and indispensable music video extra Nick Beeba.

Live Coverage Ticket Giveaways

SHOW & TICKET GIVEAWAY: Space Theory Presents MoRuf at Re-Bar – Saturday, June 7

space theory morfu flyer

Catherine Harris-White — one half of Sub Pop recording artists THEESatisfaction — will present an assemblage of supreme hip hop talent this Saturday at Re-Bar in Seattle via her Space Theory promotions company, an entity that has sponsored events in Seattle, Toronto and Brooklyn, and which seeks to examine your “perceptions of space through event production and curation”. Sounds dope to us.

Also sounding dope is this Saturday’s lineup which will introduce New Jersey hip hop artist MoRuf to Seattle. His fluid raps and sixth sense-like storytelling ability make for compelling listening. Check for his sounds here and watch the impressively cool video for his track “Buckle Up” below. Also joining the bill are local purveyors of that quality: OC Notes, Porter Ray and Cat’s partner in music Stas (appearing in strict selector form as DJ Stas THEE Boss).

Oh, one more tidbit: 206UP has your exclusive lead on a FREE PAIR OF TICKETS (er, make that guest list privileges — check ’em at the door — see what I did there?). You need only accomplish one of the following two tasks to win: Send us an email to OR a tweet to @206upBlog with the words “SPACE THEORY GOT ME HIGH!” somewhere in the body of the transmission. We’ll select one name at random and the winner will get passes for him/her and one co-pilot. This is a 21 and over event, however, so Space Camp kiddies need not apply.

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SHOW & TICKET GIVEAWAY: Don’t Talk To The Cops! at Chop Suey – Friday, May 9

DtttC POSTERDon’t Talk To The Cops! have reserved a special place in our hearts with the way resident b-boy, producer and selector djblesOne grinds new wave, punk, hip hop, and (especially) ’90s R&B cuts into a glorious concoction. It’s both nutritional and danceable — like a Vitamix for your ear holes. DtttC! are threatening to perform one final show with a grip of their talented friends Friday night at Chop Suey. Catch blesOne (it’s also his birthday!) and his DtttC! teammates Emecks, El Mizell and Goldbones on us!

To enter to win a pair of tickets to this show, do one of two things: Send us an email at 206upblog(at)gmail(dot)com, OR a tweet to @206upBlog, with the words “TONIGHT DtttC! WILL SAVE MY LIFE!” somewhere in the body of the transmission. We’ll select one name at random and put your name on the list with a plus one. You have nothing to lose except maybe the best night of your life.

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