A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1996
Windy City Hustle
Michael Lord was an audio engineer in the 1980s and 90s who created a recording studio in the Lake City Way neighborhood of Seattle. He ran ads in the Rocket magazine and many different groups paid him to give their music that “professional” sound. Some of his hip-hop clients included Brothers Of The Same Mind and P-D2. In 1996, Mr. Lord worked with a young hungry MC out of Chicago named Nomad who was relocating to the Northwest.
Windy City Hustle is a short cassette single introducing Nomad to the Seattle scene. The A-Side is “Windy City Hustle,” produced by Mr. Supreme and featuring Jake One. That’s quite a pedigree for a debut! It’s a lovely beat, with a jazzy, east-coast rhythm. The lyrics are autobiographical, and Nomad talks about how his difficult childhood forced him to make tough decisions. “Now I’m gettin my hustle on, and in various ways, from shopping bags to stealing, it seems like crime pays.” He raps about his dreams and goals in a basic, no nonsense style that I find very effective. “Chicago’s got my back,” goes the scratch throughout the track.
Side B of Windy City Hustle is “What Is Hardcore?” This track is more conscious than “Windy City Hustle,” and deals with social issues including class and racism. Nomad asks important questions and breaks down some key aspects of modern American life. The abstract ominous music and super-hard drums perfectly complement the mood of the track. Mr. Supreme made the “What Is Hardcore?” beat too, showing his versatility as a rap producer.
Later in 1996, after this cassette dropped, Mr. Supreme and his musical partner Sureshot dropped the Choked Up album, assuring their own rise to stardom. Nomad would return to the game in 1998 with his own company 300 60 Degree Entertainment, and a new song titled “Blessed 2 Mic Check.” Windy City Hustle is a solid debut, and it shows that Seattle contains many talented MCs lurking around every corner. It just takes a little digging to find them. Written by Novocaine132