Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let's Go Back to Your Neighborhood

On the eve of GO! MACHINE – two days of local hip-hop shows at the Crocodile – a Seattle hip-hop post for your pleasure.
First up:

Yeah yeah: I still don't love the name Fresh Espresso, whatever, doesn't matter. The talent is undeniable – P Smoov is a beatmaking juggernaut that deserves attention. He recently posted a new mixtape, Face Scrunchers Volume 1, at Out For Stardom. Click here to get it gratis.

In a somewhat recent interview, P Smoov had this to say about the name of FE's album, Glamour:
One of the re-occurring themes on the record is grime vs. glamour. When we were composing this album Rik Rude and I were both well below the poverty line. I was homeless and Rik was unemployed. We definitely fit the “Starving Artist” mold. It was fun making music about how our grimey, poverteous lives were somehow glamorous. With the addition of Rabid Child Images' super clean photography it seemed to sum up the whole project under one word: “glamour.”
I like that. That is an all-encompassing creative direction.

My view on hip-hop at this point is basically that there used to be a lot of rules about what you could and couldn't do, in order to be respected within the sphere of real hip-hop. A lot of people still follow those rules, and with very few exceptions, they are boring as hell. If I want to hear how great 1993 was, I listen to the records I bought in 1993. Fresh Espresso and Mad Rad are among the crop of people most aggressively pushing forward.

They Live! photo by Rabid Child Images

They Live! The Dro Bots Saga Plus was another one of my albums of the summer, and seeing them live at Block Party was one of the more enjoyable concert experiences I had in 2009. Larry Mizell Jr. basically has to big up everyone else because he writes the weekly hip-hop column in The Stranger and hosts Street Sounds on KEXP, but for my money he is the best MC in Seattle, at least that I've heard, maybe with the one qualification that I haven't heard Infinite on a mic for ten years. I wouldn't say that They Live! is pushing forward in the same way as the aforementioned or Champagne Champagne, et al., but they strike a weird balance between Bomb Squad-era Ice Cube and and, like, the weirder King Geedorah cuts, and I don't know what... "Work the Angles"-era Dilated Peoples or Tha Alkaholiks' first album.

Plus, it is crystal clear at this point that they know how to cook a gotdamn hot dog:

The other group I would want to really highlight is Champagne Champagne, who I love on principle, as well as in real life.

Champagne Champagne at Sasquatch by (I think?) Kyle Johnson

You can click here to listen to cuts from each of the artists performing at GO! MACHINE. Listen to Champagne Champagne & Thee Satisfaction "Magnetic Blackness" many, many times.

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