VIDEO: “Young Seattle 4 ” – Sam Lachow (feat. B Skeez, Gifted Gab, Raz Simone, Dave B, Key Nyata, & Ariana DeBoo)

Words by Luke Wigren

As I turned the ripe old age of 27 this year, and later as I watched Sam Lachow’s recent video “Young Seattle 4,” I began to wonder to myself: What is “young.” Who has it? Is it a physical state or a media conspiracy designed to make us go to malls? And most perplexing of all: Where does all the old stuff go?

“Young Seattle 4,” the latest in a series which began in 2010, didn’t really answer my questions, but I did like it. The video is not “young” in the sense that we have become accustomed to seeing many of these artists around the Town, but “young” because they do all happen to be among Seattle’s emerging rap vanguard. They face the daunting challenge of taking on the mantle of what, on nearly every measure, was a stellar wave of Sea-town hip hop, from Macklemore’s world domination to the Blue Scholars’ soulful dissent. (“Old Seattle” anyone?)

As if creating art and growing up in the shadow of giants weren’t hard enough, “Young Seattle” is maneuvering the pitfalls of this generation’s age obsession where appealing to Tweens on Snapchat trumps musical ability, where we narrowly obsess over an annual Freshman Class by a print magazine desperately clinging to relevance, and where, well, every 5th rapper is “Young Something.”

The “Young Seattle” new wave promises to be no less stellar than its predecessors, and this video is wonderful for our busted attention spans, but remember a sampler platter does not a meal make. Do as the video was meant to inspire you to do, and dig into the vast trove of music these artists have crafted in such a short time.

Check out Sam Lachow’s latest album, Friends, Funk & Liquor, here.

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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.

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AUDIO & VIDEO: Baby Jesus – Raz Simone

Baby Jesus - Raz Simone

Thus far in 2015 Raz Simone is outpacing all other rappers in the Town in terms of artistic output and bold statements. He’s turned this very website into his own virtual PR firm with a steady barrage of video and audio drops. He’s rarely taken a day off, it seems, and today is no exception.

Baby Jesus — available for free download here — is Simone’s third album project of the year and deals heavily with ideas of self-actualization, self-worth and the redemptive properties associated with those two things. Like his Macklemore Privilege & Chief On Keef Violence EP, the message isn’t always cut and dry; it’s complicated by meddling factors like the power of your own subconscious, your environment and the demands placed upon you by the company you keep. A world of cognitive dissonance, indeed.

Click here to watch Raz’s latest video for his song “Hallelujah.” and stream the title track from Baby Jesus below.

Update (4.10.15): Check out the video for the title track to Baby Jesus, below.

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AUDIO: “That Ain’t Love” – Raz Simone (feat. Leezy Soprano & Pusha T)

That Aint Love - Raz Leezy Pusha

Raz Simone with yet another drop: “That Ain’t Love” finds the rapper imploring motherfuckers to start acting right. Tacoma’s Leezy Soprano and the renowned King Push splatter venom all over the trap, too. If you’re down in Austin this week, watch for Raz and his bandmates roving around SxSW in a solar-powered bus. No joke.

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AUDIO: “Baby Jesus” – Raz Simone

Baby Jesus - Raz Simone

You ever wake up in the morning, take a good long hard look in the mirror and think, Good got-damn that is one sexy-ass motherfucker? Self-worship to the nth degree on Raz Simone’s “Baby Jesus,” from the upcoming album of the same name (due April 7). Raz takes no days off and never has a bad hair day.

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AUDIO: Macklemore Privilege & Chief On Keef Violence – Raz Simone

Raz Simone - MP&CKV front

Raz Simone - MP&CKV back

Raz Simone knocked the Seattle hip-hop world off its axis three weeks ago with the release of his song and video “Macklemore & Chief Keef.” Then the rising rapper continued to deliver body blows with three subsequent video releases that were equal parts incendiary and thought provoking. Now, what felt like a series of steam-blowing one-offs have actually culminated in a six-track EP which is available for free download today at DatPiff.

Macklemore Privilege & Chief On Keef Violence obliquely — and sometimes not so obliquely — addresses the tenuous relationship between a sacred hip-hop culture and the dispassionate valuation our free market economy applies to said culture. That Raz discusses these topics writ large within the context of the Seattle hip-hop community — calling out various local headliners by name, in some cases — makes this unexpected album especially pertinent. It’s already started a discussion which, hopefully, will continue in perpetuity.

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VIDEO: “Same Problems” – Raz Simone (feat. Gifted Gab & Fatal Lucciauno)

In “Same Problems,” Raz Simone continues to give musical life to oft-aired frustrations within the Seattle hip-hop community — including among its observers, listeners and fans — that don’t typically find their way onto wax; at least not in the full-bodied way displayed in this and other recent clips. There are a grip of reasons as to why that is, and they are as intertwined as an iPod headphone cord buried at the bottom of your backpack.

“Same Problems” (which features cameo bars from Gifted Gab and Fatal Lucciauno) goes beyond the tired “rap beef” label that many folks will want to place on it, and exposes a hierarchy — musical, cultural, economical, and, not least of all, racial — that everyone knows exists but is afraid to discuss openly. How do we grow beyond the stale dialogue that permeates the majority of discussion surrounding hip-hop in the Town? Only one is truly eating right now, and whatever trickles down from his mouth is just crumbs.

Expect to hear more on this topic on Raz’s upcoming Macklemore Privilege & Chief on Keef Violence EP coming March 3.

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