A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1988
I Got Rules
Like Incredicrew, Chilly Uptown emerged from Seattle’s early breakdancing scene. Originally from Chicago, he moved to the Northwest for his military service. He became known for wandering the blocks in Capitol Hill and the U District with a huge boombox on his shoulder, ready any time to drop the box and dance.
I Got Rules is one of Seattle’s first full-length rap LPs, and it was made for B-Boys: Most of the songs feature long instrumental passages for dancing. On “Stroke” he regularly calls out “break” to announce these moments. Like his contemporary Mix-A-Lot, Chilly does it all himself—the programmed beats, the samples, the rhymes—showing off his skills at scratching and keeping the party moving. Locals will cheer at “Seattle Rockers,” with regional references like “3rd and Pike.”
Unfortunately, this is a record where you wish Chilly had stuck to the music. His raps on “Big” are not-so-subtly about his giant cock, channeling Kanye with a cringe-worthy “let’s all have group sex.” Title track “I Got Rules” veers into aggressive homophobia, stating “If you’re gay that’s your biz,” while threatening violence to any men checking out his butt. “Your Pregnit,” is a slut-shaming message from a concerned father to his daughter. A lot of this was the norm of profane rap in the late ‘80s, where being rude and courting controversy only made you a bigger star. Everyone wanted to emulate Miami’s 2 Live Crew. On subsequent albums, Chilly digs deeper into this muck of in-your-face sex and self, making it central to his brand.
I Got Rules was the first hip-hop record from Ever Rap records. After a multi-decade hiatus, they’ve started reissuing rap vinyl from this period, including Chilly’s third album, It’s About To Get Chilly.