New Year, New Website … Presenting: The Coastal Elite

The creators of 206UP got tired of sitting on their hands. As it turns out, numb fingers encrusted with Cheetos dust is not a popular look in Los Angeles.

So they’ve set about creating a new website. It’s called the Coastal Elite and you can visit it here.

CE will continue featuring hip-hop music originating in and around Seattle, WA but not to the comprehensive degree of 206UP. This new endeavor is all about expanding our horizons, exploring new worlds and seeking out new civili … Wait, that’s something else. But you get the picture.

There will still be music writing and probably the same kicked-around soapbox, but more for the brain to chew on as well.

Please consider following along. Thanks. – CG

Views From the Peanut Gallery


Yesterday afternoon, my wife, mother-in-law and I were in Venice, CA having an overpriced lunch at one of our favorite overpriced cafes in the sunny, scene-y gentrified Southern California beach community. About three weeks ago we spotted a distressingly schlubby Leonardo DiCaprio in the same cafe, fully equipped with aviators, stained white v-neck, dad cargos, and two blonde, barely-dressed supermodels. Afew months prior to Leo, we caught a casual Maeby Fünke placing an order at the same counter. This is our life in California now and though we’re certainly not of this world, we’re fully interlopers within it, and, perhaps embarrassingly, semi-charmed by it.

At this point, celebrity sighting in Venice, CA is so whatevs and as such I wasn’t surprised to see yet another famous person waiting in line behind us yesterday. But this time I was far more excited and, because of a deep yet impersonal relationship to said celebrity, was emboldened to say “Hello.”

Ishmael Butler, aka Ish, aka Butterfly, aka Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces was, by far, the coolest man in line at Gjusta yesterday afternoon despite how other patrons attempted to present themselves. Vibing in the Sun as if descended from our star itself, and friendly to a disarming degree, Ish flattered the fuck out of me when he said — after I introduced myself and explained how 206UP was my website — “Oh yeah, I thought ‘Chul’ sounded familiar.”

And with that, I found my peace with ending 206UP.

This website began on a whim in July 2009 in New York City. Tired of writing about hunting down decent cups of coffee in Manhattan (remarkably the slow coffee movement hadn’t fully taken hold), and coming up with clever ways of journaling online about getting mugged (twice) without my parents freaking out, 206UP was the culmination of my affinity for hip-hop music, missing my Pacific Northwest home, and my obsession with “responsible” music criticism: That is, the place where objectivity in observing art and social justice issues intersects. Rap music, like very few other art forms, presents a great landscape for intellectualizing the fuck out of such matters.

To my mind, 206UP both achieved and failed spectacularly at its mission.

To wit: I’ve been a homer for Blue Scholars and an unfair critic of Macklemore, admitting to the rapper Bambu during a backstage interview at SOBs that I always felt like the Scholars were Griffey and Mack was A-Rod — only one of the former Seattle athletes was deserving of our undying love and respect. Macklemore used to follow me on Twitter but at some point he stopped. It’s probably egotistical of me to believe the unfollow came after one too many critical think pieces, but my small world allows me to subscribe to this. (Note: Blue Scholars still follow me.)

All that to say, objectivity is such a fleeting precept, impossible to possess in an unadulterated form, leading me to believe the goal with 206UP was never to find harmony in fairness, but merely to add my voice to the community. And as my writing becomes more engaged in other endeavors, I’m losing touch with that community and, most tellingly, finding myself okay with it.

A chance encounter with Ish in Venice represented 206UP’s full literary circle. In its seven years of existence, the website’s greatest claim to fame was getting a mention in a New York Times article of which the subject was, yes, Shabazz Palaces. I have no idea if Ish became aware of my name because of that article, or if someone within the Seattle hip-hop community hipped him to 206UP at some other point in time. For me, it doesn’t really matter. All that counts is that I was a familiar presence in his universe, as he has been in mine.

Views From the Peanut Gallery

THOUGHT BUBBLE: The Art of Going Viral – On Spekulation’s “Bout That Action” and Seattle’s Existential Super Bowl Angst

Beast Mode On

As I sit in front of my WordPress stats page, bewildered at the rapid increase in blog hits as a result of Spekulation’s now gone-viral remix of Marshawn Lynch’s charmingly glib Q&A session with Deion Sanders, two thoughts enter my mind: 1) Why the fuck didn’t I think of that? And 2) What, pray tell, is actually the perfect recipe for a meme to go viral? (It then dawns on me that if I truly knew the answer to #2, I wouldn’t be asking myself #1. So it goes…)

Going viral on the internet is as unpredictable as forecasting the weather. It’s something akin to opening a massive restaurant with a menu containing millions of items, and for some reason the grilled cheese with anchovies sandwich ends up being the most popular one. As the proprietor of said restaurant, all you really know is your customers are coming hungry, but for what exactly is unclear.

Sometimes the viral-ized captures the zeitgeist — like Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Other times, it fulfills some sort of emotional need: The internet is so full of horrible news and horrible people commenting on said horrible news, it’s no wonder a tumbling sequence of adorable cat pictures with misspelled captions steals the productivity away from millions. And, yet other times still, going viral is simply a case of the blind squirrel finding the proverbial you-know-what.

My take on Spekulation’s “Bout That Action (Beast Mode Remix)” has nothing to do with dumb luck and everything to do with the Restaurant Corollary (terminology mine) I described above: There is a large community of Seattle sports fans that have no grand tradition(s) to fall back on in the lead-up to this weekend’s Super Bowl*. We — and I’m definitely including myself here — have rushed full-speed, head-on into a pre-Super Bowl state of celebration and agonizing anticipation, clinging only to our bankrupt estimations of what might — what could — possibly come to be. The emotions of a post-Super Bowl XLVIII universe where our favored team is inexplicably crowned the victor, is as unknowable and alien as life is on Mars.

“Bout That Action” is simply our gravity. It is the drum beat keeping regular time for our racing hearts. Hearts that threaten to destroy us by pumping lethal doses of anxiety into our already alcohol- and caffeine-saturated blood streams. Rapper Prometheus Brown seems to understand this. He cut a version of Spekulation’s track called “This Ain’t A Seahawks Anthem”, complete with precise, fastidious raps, and then followed up the song with these tweets:


The confluence of professional sports and hip hop in Seattle isn’t new, but the grand tradition of excellence has been fleeting. Until now, it’s existed just this side of a theory (1978-79 Sonics and present-day Macklemore notwithstanding). We are currently in a state of existential angst over these Seahawks. We are hungering at the door of an establishment we don’t truly know the inside of. There is a menu of items at our disposal, yes, but all we can really tell you is that we’re “bout that action”. That is, until the barriers guarding virtue fall on Sunday, and the mysteries of sports deliverance are solved in front of our very eyes.

*Yes, I realize the Seahawks have already played in a Super Bowl, but I contend this year feels different. Seattle fans have been able to stake a claim to having the best team in the NFL all season. The 2013 version of the Seahawks is an intense microcosm of what we’ve desired since the ’80s. It’s a little bit like the 2001 Mariners when they were the best… Until they weren’t.

Thought Bubble Views From the Peanut Gallery

206UP.COM’S Top 10 Blog Resolutions for 2014

C and H

And yet another list.

The ten resolutions below came to me in a vision in New York City during my walk from the A train Fulton Street stop to the corner of Wall Street, where I make my “professional” home and persist to steal time from a well-intentioned not-for-profit. (I hope my boss isn’t reading, but if so… HI!)

Failure to make good on a minimum of five of these resolutions will result in the immediate deletion of this post. You will never see it again nor will I make mention of it. (In other words: if you have any intention of using this against me, copy and paste now.)

With that, here are the Top 10 things 206UP.COM professes to accomplish in the New Year:

Misc Op-Ed Views From the Peanut Gallery


Abolish the name "Redskins".

[The image above was stolen from Bambu’s Instagram feed on November 21. Kind of like how America was stolen from Natives that one time. Enjoy your meal and the football game. Also, this image will feature on a limited-edition t-shirt, on-sale tomorrow at Bam’s online store. Show your solidarity by purchasing, here. Peace.]

Happy Holidays Sports Views From the Peanut Gallery


Celebrate the country today by questioning the status quo that clouds our collective vision. “Why Denzel have to be crooked before he took it?” is merely emblematic of a greater poison goin’ on. Word to Jadakiss and PE.

And on that note, go eat your damn hot dog.

Video Views From the Peanut Gallery

“LIKE” 206UP.COM on Facebook

"iPhoneography365 Day 206 Up Chucks" photo by Apolinar Fonseca

206UP.COM has a Facebook presence now. In addition to the Twitter and RSS feeds, you can also get your daily dose of all things Seattle hip-hop injected intravenously into your Facebook feed. Lots of feeds, I know, but if you’re already looking at this website then presumably you can’t get enough of that Town goodness. Please go “Like” it by clicking here or on the little button on the right side of the website. You know what it is.

A little about the photo: If you do a Google image search for “206up” the above picture is the first totally unrelated image that appears. I thought that was really dope so I went ahead and used the photo without the photographer’s permission. Hopefully that’s cool with him. His name is Apolinar Fonseca and he’s based in Cali. Dude has a lot of cool shots over at this blog (here) so please pay a visit.

Someday soon 206UP.COM will have its own legitimate branding, but until that day I’m’a have to keep jacking images and banners from folks who are far more talented artists than myself. Here’s to open source computing in the cloud.

Uncategorized Views From the Peanut Gallery