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: “Them” – Raz Simone (feat. Fatal Lucciauno)

On the eve of the release of Macklemore Privilege & Chief on Keef Violence — his second album of 2015 — Raz Simone drops the song and video “Them” which functions as the rapper’s own paean to a so-called “post-racial America.” Much of Raz’s output the past few weeks has been antithetical in nature, directly adhering to the titles of his last two albums, Cognitive Dissonance Parts 1 and 2.

Is “Them” meant to diffuse some of the incendiary power balled up in the word “nigger?” Or is the track meant to illustrate the exact opposite: to upbraid the word’s usage among those to whom it was never intended to be directed? Perhaps it’s a little of both. In either case, Raz, Fatal Lucciauno and a marching, armed mass of children dressed in black pose a formidable affront to the sometimes milquetoast Seattle rap landscape.

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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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