I’ve sung the praises before of the Do The Math Podcast, created by Town hip-hop head Deven Morgan, but thought it deserved another shout-out here in preface of Deven’s AMA appearance on the Hip-Hop Heads Northwest Reddit page coming up this Sunday, November 9. Make sure to check in over there and ask the man some thought-provoking questions. And in case you missed it, 206UP did our own AMA back on October 26. Below is the most recent episode of Do The Math, featuring Samson S of Tribal Productions. Get learned, family.
Much thanks to Aaron Walker-Loud of Big World Breaks (and many other artistic Town endeavors) for hipping 206UP to this event. The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop is being billed as “an active exploration of culture, history and justice through interactive performance, film, a community panel discussion, art and other hands-on activities”. Learn more about the event here, and go here to watch the 50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide documentary which will screen publicly for the first time.
Whew. And if that wasn’t enough, peep a video below by one of the event’s featured performers: “The Hood Ain’t The Same” by Draze.
There has been a recent movement in the Town toward documenting, both aurally and visually, the rap-related things happening inside the bounds of this fair area code. From the good folks at Mad NW who are responsible for the excellent local rap documentary The Otherside, to blogger Jack Devo’s online vault of Seattle music rarities, and finally to the burgeoning Do The Math podcast, created and hosted by 206 hip hop superfan Deven Morgan.
Meant to be a StoryCorps of sorts strictly for the Seattle rap nerd set, Deven is both honest and earnest in his love for Town hip hop. Episode 2 features the vital producer Jake One waxing nostalgic about creating records in the former heyday of Seattle hip hop. Do The Math seeks to highlight the so-called “second wave” of Seattle rap, the time and artists just after Sir Mix-A-Lot’s apex, but before the rise of Blue Scholars and Macklemore. These are the typically forgotten artists, best represented by the loose collective known as Tribal Music whose Do The Math compilation album, released in 1996, is both the namesake and spiritual foundation for Deven Morgan’s podcast endeavor.
I can’t claim any amount of authority over Tribal or Do The Math other than what I’ve read — and heard — since starting this blog in earnest four and a half years ago. I will say, though, that Tribal’s brand of hip hop is the type to which I’ve always been most drawn in life. DTM is a Golden Era revivalist’s wet dream, created on the tail-end of that movement’s waning years* a time when rap music, it seemed, was less about singular identities and more about the movement. That’s fairly nebulous, I suppose, but so becomes history when the great windshield wiper of the mind blurs and distorts your recall over time. Thank the rap gods, then, that someone is committing these things to permanent record.
*Technically it’s post-Golden Era, but things arrive late in Seattle. So be it.
This post simply echoes Larry Mizell’s Stranger missive from last Friday.
Tribal Productions was a collective of immensely talented/influential hip-hop artists active in the Puget Sound throughout the mid-90s. I was neither present nor learned on the scene’s happenings at that time, so I leave it to the authoritative voices of Deven Morgan and Jack Devo — two precious resources for telling what Seattle rap life was like before the teeny-boppers started caring — to drop knowledge.
I don’t know much, but I do know this: If you care to think of yourself as a Seattle hip-hop head, it’s best not to believe that this shit begins and ends with “Thrift Shop.”