A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1999
In 1994, DMS dropped a short six-song album called Takin’ Ends on D-Shot Records which established them as serious players in the 206 rap game. Two years later, their spiky track “Keep Da Change” was featured on Loosegroove’s 14 Fathoms Deep rap compilation. By 1999 they left D-Shot Records and dropped their sophomore album titled The Playoffs, which came out on Clear Head Entertainment.
“Hytymez” and “Jonzin'” document the weed-smoking lifestyle which is so familiar in rap music, you already know. “Drunk Words…Sober Thoughts” talks about struggles with alcohol abuse. “206 N’It” includes shout outs to other Seattle and Tacoma rap artists, and also a list of some local landmarks like the Pike Place Market, Mt. Rainier, and the Space Needle. Most of the album lyrics relate to everyday life, their pride in our city, and their identity as rappers in Seattle. The genre is squarely in the reality rap camp, with less wordplay and concepts and more newspaper style reporting of daily events in the neighborhood.
Highlights on The Playoffs include a slow burner titled “Freak Show,” which is an interpolation of “And The Beat Goes On” by The Whispers. “My World Too” is a moving sequel to “My World” from Takin’ Ends, and this track written solo by group member Moe-B is filled with frank and honest lyrics concerning fear of failure and his own personal struggles. “Outro” names every track on the album in a clever twist. The best thing about The Playoffs is the level of lyrical and philosophical growth compared to the songs on Takin’ Ends. One minor complaint I have about this album is that the songs are all extremely long, and sometimes overstay their welcome. Sometimes a tight three minute track can say more than one that rambles for five or six minutes.
DMS were in a large club of Seattle rap groups and artists who were excellent at their game. They had the breath control which is so important for balanced verses, plus their vocal tones were varied and compelling. The beats were tight, conforming to the highest standards, and the aesthetic was 100% hip-hop. They had the dope style and the swagger to fit the description. If a group like DMS checked all the boxes, then why didn’t they become millionaires? The answer is what some people like to call the ‘X Factor.’ The X Factor means there is something magic or supernatural about your music that is undeniably unique, and thus your content instantly differentiates itself from that of other artists. Without the X Factor, DMS didn’t have one definable quality which could set them apart from the thousands of other rap groups in the 1990s. Therefore, even though they solidly represented their art form, this was their last album according to Discogs. Written by Novocaine132