Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seattle...The Dark Side

No Grunge...

Times change.  This comp dropped in 1993, which to me was the year of the Great Upheaval in hip hop.  At that time, gangsta had outlived its welcome and new acts like Heiro and the Pharcyde were grabbing my attention.  In contrast, local artists like Mix-A-Lot and Kid Sensation had lost their cool and were the stuff of middle school dances.  So, by the time my I heard about this album, my ears were closed.  I was in high school, the future underground was in full swing, and local acts like the Elevators and Tribal had quite effectively turned the early-90's gangsta and r & b industry into a joke.  
I may not have appreciated this record at the time, but listening to it in retrospect I can hear the value in it. Here is some top-quality hip hop attempting to assert itself in the face of change,  And more poignantly, this is a declaration from Seattle's Afro-American community and a group of artists who were very much left out of the anglicized Northwest music explosion of the early '90's.
... Dark Side is a short record, but in its 35 minutes is effectively showcases an important time in the 206's long history of hip hop.  Stay tuned, I'll be digging deeper into the past soon enough!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

G Teezy

From the Northeast to the Northwest

This 2001 full-length has been circulating around the webs in its OG form for a while.  As far as I know this is GT's debut, and isn't included in his available releases - maybe there's a problem with getting sample rights or something, because it's not for lack of great music.  It's definitely rougher than his later records, and he's still developing his flow here, but the fire, eloquence, and themes he's known for are already in place.  At some point I would love to do a proper piece about this particular 206 artist, but I won't frame it at this time in the context of this album - for now just listen and enjoy.  It's got that old-school, jazz sample-heavy flavor I love, and the rough, unmastered sound quality I crave in production.  Jerm, Castro, and Khingz, among others, guest.  This rip came to me via an anonymous benefactor - thank you!  Track listing is intact, as this is the revamped version from 2002.  It's the second edition, which features bonus tracks with a whole bunch of guest emcees (Orko, Macklemore, Moka Only, Deps, Patrick, Rajnii).  Vivacious music, from possibly the 206's most impassioned orator.

STARS V2

Thursday, May 16, 2013

C.I.

In The SEA

Criminally overlooked, Central Intelligence was among the greatest Seattle hip hop acts in the 90's and early 00's.  Similar in sound and style to Black Anger, Source Of Labor and Narcotik, these five emcees spit knowledge in styles that were concrete, definitive, and mature.  The subject matter on this self-titled album from 2001 ranges from the personal to the political, spoken in 5 distinct, articulate voices.  With like-minded beats from two of the major architects of the sound, Vitamin D and Bean One, this album is a hidden classic of the Tribal era.
I sadly learned about this group after the fact, when Mike Clark and Jake One's amazing expose on the history of Seattle hip hop showed up on Cocaine Blunts.  Besides this album, CI also contributed to the crucial Sportn'Life Compilation from 2003.  They also were reputed to put on a mean live set.  A slim but 100% quality legacy.

Central Intelligence

P.S. this album, plus the two albums in the previous posts were provided very generously by Renee at flavafoyoear.  Thank you - All praises due!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Khingz County

Ghetto Math - Thank You Flavafoyoear!

Leave it to Khingz (aka Khalil Crisis, aka KA.lil) to make even a tossed-off mixtape a poetic work of brilliance.  Dropped in 2007, he took a bunch of varying-in-quality beats and laid down verse after verse of Real Shit.  21 tracks in length, with guest appearances from Gabriel Teodros, Modus Operandi, and Jills Laxamana.  His new album is about to drop - Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, on 6-4-13.  Keep your ears peeled.  His output over the last few years has been prolific, with a in-ordinant amount of quality, so I imagine this next chapter will follow form.

Khingz County

P.S. does anyone out there have his Bigger Than Jeezus Mixtape?

Monday, May 13, 2013

911 Amerika

A Call To Arms

Yet another compilation, this time from the Northwest.  This dropped in 2002 in response to the increasing hostilities directed towards the Middle East by the US.  Many notable acts contribute, including (ahem... wait for it...) Khazm, The Flood, Yirim Seck, Castro, Specs One, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz (back when he was still calling himself Khalil Crisis), Kylea of Beyond Reality, Vitamin D, H-Bomb, Silas Blak, WD4D, E-Real Asim of Black Anger, Surge Spitable, and El Saba, who provides the defining moment with "God Bless Humanity".  The album is an interesting mix of 2nd and 3rd wave Seattle hip hop, and captures the sound of the Town in a state of evolution.  Executive produced by Khazm and G. Teodros, released in part through MADK.