206UP turned five years old this year and I, as my mother and carbon dating would assuredly tell you, turned 37 in human years.
As far as the blog goes, it has never been more self-sustaining. We (and I say “we” because, unlike the previous four years of the site’s existence, there are voices contributing now beyond my own) are a production company, a resource for insight into live shows in Seattle, and a nationally recognized tastemaking outlet on par with the Pitchforks, Consequences and Wonderings of the online music world. (In a strange twist, however, none of the editors at those sites ever return my calls.) I kid, obviously, but still… Things are going really, really great in the 206UP office.
In my personal life, I can’t recall a year when I experienced wider swings in happiness and anger. The happy part came when I got married in May (I know, mazel tov!). And the anger part heaved and fluxed throughout the year with the ease of a sighing elephant, as blatant transgressions within our society dominated feeds and headlines.
How’s that for light and dark?
Thankfully, however, hip-hop goes where we go. And Seattle, being a microcosm of the rest of the country, did as much to illuminate the sustaining, healing aspects of the culture locally, as other more pronounced voices did their part nationally. The most important music, in my opinion, spoke to our most important concerns. Below the jump you’ll find albums that did just that, and yet others for which escapism was an equally important task. In either endeavor, this is the hip-hop from Seattle that best held us down in 2014.