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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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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