AUDIO: Nine to Fives & Afterlives – Spekulation

Spekulation - Nine to Fives & Afterlives

Spekulation’s name is known outside of the Puget Sound region because of two giant claims-to-fame, both of which found the rapper/producer more getting caught up in the fractious waves of meme-ification created by social media than a surreptitious manipulation of those same channels for personal gain. The Bitter Barista and “Bout That Action” were tossed-off, this close to subconscious afterthoughts driven by boredom and absent-minded digital noodling. The other side to Spek’s creative coin is far more calculated.

His newly released album, Nine to Fives & Afterlives, is a cogent attempt to speak universally at a community level. To date, that hustle is working. Last week’s Block Party at The Station, which the rapper co-organized, functioned as both a peace-minded middle finger to a similarly-named annual music festival that has forsaken its community origins and a showcase for local artists that arguably deserve a bigger stage and a more prominent seat at the political table. Indeed the humble Block Party even got the biggest fish in City Hall to bite when Mayor Murray’s staff reached out in hopes of a photo-op. The Block Party team’s response was — fittingly — democratic, if not refreshing.

Nine to Fives & Afterlives is a companion piece to the Block Party at The Station and a professionally-crafted musical summary of Spek’s social viewpoints which are on constant, public display on his Facebook and Twitter feeds. The irony of Uncle Ike’s rise to (legal) weed prominence in the Central District gets dealt with on “Uncle Ike” (see, also: “Irony on 23rd,” Draze’s similar critique). The critical failures by our elected officials to take care of their most vulnerable constituents is lamented on “This Is America” (featuring vocalist Michelle Khazak). These songs are examples of where Spekulation’s head is at in most moments. It is not lost on him that the well-being of his community is endangered by the same society that would rather make him famous over a few passive-aggressive (although hilarious) barbs at difficult customers instead of more meaningful work that brings critical issues to light.

Catch Spekulation with guests The Bad Tenants, Sleep Steady, Travis Thompson, and DJ Absolute Madman, at the Nine to Fives & Afterlives album release party at Barboza tonight.

Audio Audio / Video

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: “Can’t Wait” – Spekulation (feat. Mic Flont, Khingz & Paolo Escobar)

Mic Flont, Khingz, Paolo Escobar, and the maestro of the track, Spekulation, push it along in a Seattle summertime fashion. “Can’t Wait” is about not being complacent in art and activism, two things that inform each other in the lives of these artists. Catch them all, plus the rising Dex Amora and Jamil Suleman at Columbia City Theater this Thursday (7/30).

Audio / Video Video

AUDIO: “Get Gone” – Paolo Escobar (prod. by Spekulation)

Get Gone - Paolo Escobar

You probably last heard singer Paolo Escobar lending his vocal chops to Spekulation’s triumphant Town anthem “Home of the Mighty.” Now, Paolo goes for dolo on his new single “Get Gone,” which features production work from Spek and a wicked drum and horn arrangement courtesy of Saba Samakar and Nate Omdal, respectively. “Get Gone” bops along with an economy of catchiness familiar to fans of producers like Mark Ronson.

Audio Audio / Video

AUDIO: “Thanks For Asking (Won’t Get Fined Remix)” – Spekulation (feat. Marshawn Lynch)

Spek - Thanks for Asking

Consider these the motions then…

Again, from the region of socked-in cloud cover, emerge heroes bedecked in blue and green,

Statements of purpose made in bygone Roman procession (XLVIII).

The royal legion. The taciturn pivot-er.

If insanity is the repetition of action with recapitulated stead, then let us suffer again as ignoramuses,

Of Spekulation and Marshawn. Of Seahawks and Champions.

Audio Audio / Video

NEW MUSIC: “Christmas at Westlake” – Spekulation

Spekulation - Language of PeaceThat damn rabble-rouser Spekulation (in conjunction with producer collective Filthy Fingers United) celebrates “Christmas at Westlake.” It ain’t all good, people, remember that. Grab the new FFU compilation tape Language of Peace below.

Audio Downloads

NEW MUSIC: Enemy Within The Original Soundtrack – Nate Omdal & Spekulation

Enemy Within Soundtrack

Seattle-based producers/composers Nate Omdal and Spekulation scored the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed short film Enemy Within, an engrossing allegorical quasi-documentary featuring four of the most accomplished dancers in their respective genres. Even if dance isn’t necessarily your “thing” — and I’m certainly no expert on the art form — this film will hold you rapt for its entire 18 minute running time. That’s owed to the incredible ranges of motion exhibited by the film’s principle dancers who interpret Omdal and Spek’s vital instrumentals beautifully and evocatively. Enemy Within The Original Soundtrack shows the impressive range of these two Seattle musicians, both known for their work in hip-hop; here their compositions are also informed by jazz, classical and electronic music.


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