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: “That Nigga” – Raz Simone

Part pep talk, part denunciation, Raz Simone’s video for “That Nigga” — a previously released single soon to be found on the rapper’s upcoming Trap Spirituals (due Nov. 3) — is more fodder for haters and rumor-mongers.

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EVENT: Beautify the Block Party (feat. Raz Simone, Nikkita Oliver & Jamil Suleman) – Rainier Vista, 10.1.15

You say you’re all about “the community?” Then get thee to Rainier Vista today at 4 PM for Jamil Suleman’s Beautify the Block Party, featuring rapper Raz Simone, poet Nikkita Oliver and the indelible efforts of the G.O.O.D. (Girls Out Here Opening Doors) Girls and B.A.D. (Build And Develop) Boyz, a crew of kids (read: future leaders) who will debut the music video for their new song “Bad Boyz.”

Rainier Vista is a “planned community” of mixed-income, single- and multi-family residences in the Southend of Seattle. True locals from the ‘hood can take you down memory road with far greater authority than I, but there was a time in my former life when I visited this newest incarnation of the Vista on a nearly daily basis, checking the integrity of the soil upon which these homes and community spaces would be constructed. Government subsidized housing in America is an imperfect science, but then we’re an imperfect society struggling to apply best social practices to a cultural core that has proven to be rotten.

Beautify the Block is a simple, organic response by Seattle’s oft-neglected neighbors, but it’s these brief celebrations that launch seeds to the wind.

(h/t The Stranger)

Events Live Coverage

VIDEO: “Oh Lord” – Raz Simone (dir. by Jacob Hill & Raz)

Raz Simone’s latest video entry, “Oh Lord,” finds the rapper speaking truth to power in a natural setting that looks conspicuously like the one Macklemore and Ryan Lewis used in their “Otherside” video. Raz name checks Macklemore in the third verse, noting the pop star’s as-yet unreleased “White Privilege 2,” a song rumored to be part of Mack and RL’s upcoming sophomore LP. (Some questions, though: How can a track called “White Privilege 2” be anything but reductive in an ongoing conversation about the very topic? At what point does Macklemore speaking openly about his privilege become more about him and less about the actual issue? After all, in about 99% of discussions about race it’s more productive for white folks to just shut the fuck up and listen than it is for them to ramble on about what it means to them.)

In any case, Raz’s output this year has generated more words-per-post from your loyal blogger than any other Town hip-hop artist, which means he’s either really good at pushing buttons, or he’s on to something much larger and provocative than his peers. It’s probably a bit of both. “Oh Lord” finds Raz at his best, reserving valuable bars for conveying concerns both communal and personal (see also: “They’ll Speak”). In other instances he can be frustratingly confounding — though no less visceral and inciting — which, I’ve mentioned before, engenders multitudes. That’s hip-hop, though.

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VIDEO: “Plottin” – Raz Simone (dir. by Jacob Hill & Raz)

Raz Simone has been on a creative tear for the last two weeks, matching the frenetic pace in output he set earlier this year. “Plottin,” is his third music video to drop this month and the tenth overall with Black Umbrella cinematography maven Jacob Hill. The new video is dark in a Wes Craven (R.I.P.) type of way, and seems to suggests Raz fighting off a horde of unwelcome soul-suckers.

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VIDEO: “Charged Up” – Raz Simone

Easier than finding eight rings in a haystack, Raz Simone emerges from his months-long social media silence to let loose some thinly veiled fury against one — shit, maybe even two* — of Seattle’s favorite rap sons.

Yes, that’s Sol’s beaming grill — the target of Raz’s barbs — right there at the beginning of Simone’s new clip, “Charged Up.” Did you happen to catch the Zilla’s “Same Problems”-referencing diss in his new track “Ain’t Gon’ Stop” on your first listen? (Uh yeah, like, we totally did too…) You certainly caught Sol executing the hack of all social media hacks (or were they??) earlier in the week, swapping out Raz’s snarling smirk with a ridiculous shot of himself in the shower, Mutombo finger-wag in effect, all like, “Gotcha Raz!Curiously the image remains on Raz’s Facebook page, which means either the internet giant is dragging its feet on relinquishing control back to Simone’s camp, or there’s something troll-y going on.

Sol shower

So is this real life? In the rapidly advancing age of media manipulation, that’s barely a question worth posing anymore. The battering ram of public discourse can unceremoniously take one fiction and hammer it into something slightly resembling fact. Is this just one massive Seattle rap troll hiding out in Fremont? Maybe. Are there better, more constructive conversations to be had? That’s a certainty. But maybe the platinum lining in this charade is a renewed conversation about the Tale of Two Rap Seattles, originally articulated by Raz in his “Same Problems” video, the very words to which Sol seems to have responded in “Ain’t Gon’ Stop.”

Rap politics, when enumerated tactfully, are often a microcosm of the body politic. And that right there is called “artistic value.” Personally? I’m waiting for one of these cats to declare a run for City Council. Then we really gon’ see.

*That could only be one man’s Volvo Raz is talking about, right?

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LIVE COVERAGE: Seattle Hip-Hop at Sasquatch! 2015

Sasquatch! | The Gorge | May 22-25, 2015

Photos by Rafael Ochoa.

Armed with a press pass for the weekend, 206UP sent our intrepid photographer Rafael Ochoa into the Sasquatch! fray. He emerged exhausted and sunburned, but triumphant in his efforts to grab some dope shots of Seattle hip-hop artists doing their thing. Check it out below.

Live Coverage Photos

AUDIO: “Why You On My Line” – Raz Simone

Raz Simone - That Nigga

Raz Simone continues his assault on 2015 with a new joint, “Why You On My Line,” off an upcoming album — that would make four within the calendar year, but who’s counting? — titled That Nigga; artwork above. And that bro-y sounding dude on the phone at the end of the track? That would be one of the Burch twins with whom Raz has apparently entered into a business relationship. More info to come, apparently.

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