A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1997
The True Believers Crew (TBC) encompassed an underground Seattle hip-hop movement in the early 1990s. Members included Specs, E Sharp, Bean One, King Otto, Page 3, Proh Mic, Tracy Armour, and others. Producer Bean One and MC Proh Mic teamed up to create Footprints, and their first release was this 4 song, lo-fi EP titled The Stats. As Proh Mic describes in the intro, the tape was made “on some busted-ass equipment.”
Side A leads off with “The Planet” and it’s a major head-nodder. This beat by Bean One is droning and hypnotic, it seems to consist of emptiness. Galactic gravity rhythms pervade the low end as the high-treble scratches and laser sounds on the chorus explode like pop-rocks in your ears. Proh Mic may “want a new drug like Huey Lewis,” but to a hip-hop addict this track itself is going to get you high. “I represent the whole planet,” he raps, eschewing the phony East vs West coastal beef which fragmented hip-hop culture in the ‘90s. The second song is the short “And It Don’t Stop,” which has some punch but ends quickly. Then we get about two minutes of weird musical bits and samples in an interlude of sorts. This chaos puts me pleasantly off balance, reminiscent of listening to the classic disorienting record “A Childs Garden Of Grass” from 1971.
The B-side gets going with “Mental Acugenics,” a choppy and loose excursion with lots of noise and dissonance. Next is “That’s A Lie,” another cut proving that Footprints were serious contenders to join Seattle’s royalty. Similar to what he did with “The Planet,” producer Bean One absolutely slays it on “That’s A Lie.” Those two beats manage to accomplish so much with so little. They harness the power of nothing just like the hub of a wheel holds the spokes together in the famous Lao Tzu paradox. “That’s A Lie” features hints of harp strings, bird sounds, tiny whispers of music, but nothing you can grab onto. Proh Mic lyrically stands up for himself, “You think we gonna stay quiet?” he asks incredulously. “They want to say we start riots, that’s a lie,” goes the chorus, throwing out a challenge to anyone blaming rap music for violence. At the end, the tape fades out with two more minutes of spacey, gyroscopic, audio madness. The Stats really does have something for your mind, your body, and your soul. Written by Novocaine132