NEW MUSIC: “Zenith” – Grayskul (prod. by Smoke)

Grayskul - Zenith

Oldominion crew pioneers Grayskul (Onry Ozzborn + JFK) have jumped the good ship Rhymesayers for the just-as-reputable indie darling Fake Four Inc. That doesn’t mean the group’s upcoming Zenith (due September 17) is any less anticipated, though. Here we have the title track which premiered today on Complex. The album version will feature Wu legend Raekwon (with whom I recently had a memorable encounter in Toronto — see below).

And now, 206UP.COM story time…

Traveling back to NYC from Toronto this past Sunday, my fiancĂ©e and I had an entertaining run-in with Raekwon the Chef. Dude was waiting patiently in the Porter Airlines lounge at TO’s downtown Billy Bishop airport. No crew. Just him, this Herschel camo duffle, and some girl who couldn’t have been a day older than 21. Whatever.

So, as I’m geeking out, we’re walking down the concourse to board the plane and my girl spies a Borden (that’s Canadian for a Benjamin) just lying there on the floor. She picks it up. We deliberate on who might’ve dropped it. The only person between us and Rae is a middle-aged white lady wearing a fanny pack — the type of lady still spending travelers checks from 1993 — the hunny clearly does not belong to her. So Claire (that’s my future wife) asks the Chef (that’s the rapper from Wu-Tang): “Excuse me, Mr. Raekwon, but is it possible you might’ve dropped some cash?” (That’s not how she asked — she used way more tact — but you get the picture.) Rae said something about, “If it was a hundred, then it was probably me,” and then proceeds to pull a wad of Canadian guap the size of Shaq’s fist from his over-sized sweatpants pocket.

Dude shakes his head. And then, “These sweatpants, man, I keep dropping everything. Receipts, cash… Thank you, thank you.” (Flashes his fronts at Claire.)

I thought about making a Plaxico Burress joke, thought better of it (thank God), and just nodded my head and grinned like the Wu fanboy I am. Fun times in the T-dot.

Also, we saw Parker Posey on the flight over, and bumped into Michael Cera in a bar last Saturday. You know we major.

206UP Story Time Audio

My Hip-Hop Ear Glut


Real quick: I was making a list tonight of 206 hip-hop albums that I haven’t had a chance to really spend quality time with. Here’s what it looks like so far…

THEESatisfaction – Snow Motion

Grieves – 88 Keys & Counting

Gabriel Teodros – Westlake Class of ’99

Shabazz Palaces – Shabazz Palaces and Of Light

Champagne Champagne – Champagne Champagne

Yirim Seck – Hear Me Out

And that’s not even including new D. Black, Macklemore, and The Physics. (Whenever that’s dropping, which I hope is soon — I consider that CD the last possible ray of sunlight in summer ’09, but I have a feeling it will be more like the first drop of winter slush in 2010. No matter, it will still be absolute fire, I can’t f*cking wait! Physics are about to own hip-hop in this town, and you can put that in your savings account and collect interest on it, fools!)

Now, I listen to a ton of hip-hop; so much hip-hop that I feel like my Elton John CDs are starting to feel neglected. And if you think I’m wack for liking Elton John, just listen to “Kiss The Ring” off OB4CL2 and go ahead and f*ck off.

My point is, there is a glut of hip-hop swirling around the belly of the 206 and it’s a full-time job just listening to all of it. And I don’t mean just putting it on as background music while you Dustbuster your apartment. I mean really spend quality time with the sh*t, which, if you’re even interested at all in appreciating these artists’ grinds and hustles, you will do out of sheer deference.

Anyway, this rant is basically meant as a shout-out to those artists putting in work for the love of the music. As fans, we appreciate it, and we are paying attention. Stay up and keep making music like your lives depend on it.


Views From the Peanut Gallery

Rock the Bells Loves Seattle (?)

RockTheBellsSEAaug09While we’re on the subject of shows, another one you probably shouldn’t miss is this year’s incarnation of the now seminal Rock the Bells tour (Friday, 8/14, The Showbox at the Market).

And, while the Seattle lineup is certainly nothing to sniff at, you’ll notice some glaring ommissions from the roster appearing at larger venues across the nation. Namely, Nas, The Roots, Common, Ice Cube, EPMD, and, uhh well, the list goes on…

So this year’s version of RTB is not only big-time scaled-back from last year (when it was at The Gorge), but Seattle is receiving an even further stripped-down version than say New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which, due to our market size, stands to reason.

Oh well, should be a good show, anyway. The lone local act is Khingz, one of our most important artists doing it big around the 206. I’m still getting down on From Slaveships to Spaceships (it’s hella deep), and hope to pass along my thoughts soon.

Live Coverage