A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1990
In a 2020 interview episode of 206 Classic Radio available on Youtube, rapper B-Self of Ghetto Chilldren explains the origins of Kenyatto McThomas as a force in the early Seattle hip-hop scene. In the mid ’80s Kenyatto was part of a rap group called School Boys at Meany Middle School. By 1990 Mr. McThomas had changed the group name to Ice Cold Mode, and released a 4 song cassette titled Ice Cold along with his brother DJ Ronnue McThomas. The cassette features hand drawn artwork with an Egyptian pyramid concept.
Track one on Ice Cold is called “No Manz Land,” and it uses a land war metaphor to describe what it’s like to be a soldier in the rap game. McThomas (as Ice Cold) drops multiple high-speed verbal challenges to other rappers to stay off the battlefield or risk obliteration. Track two is “Union Street Hustlas.” First a narrator’s voice explains the origin of the Union Street Hustlas crew in the Central District, then a police siren sets the mood as the verse starts. The track has that Roger & Zapp type funky bounce to make it a dancefloor favorite. “Union Street Hustlas” is a certified 206 classic in many Seattle circles, and was included on the Goods/Jake One Seattle rap compilation from 2010 titled Town Biz.
Track three is “Hipt 2 The Hype,” another uptempo dance floor jam which brings that Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock style high-energy fun. In fact, the whole Ice Cold tape captures the zeitgeist of 1990 with the merging of speedy rap and new jack swing. The last track on the tape is “Dance Wit Me.” It is a quintessential party track, and includes a call and response asking who is “in the house.” “Is Ronnue in the house? Is Ice Cold in the house? Is Seattle in the house?” Ice Cold Mode was a top Seattle group in 1990, and were featured in a Rocket magazine full page article that year along with P★D2 and Brothers Of The Same Mind. This 4-song cassette may be awfully short, but it was long enough to establish Ice Cold Mode as serious musicians who belong in the history books. Written by Novocaine132