A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Doug Morris

The devilish OCnotes might be offended to see Doug Morris included in this list of essential Seattle hip-hop. One night, outside of a show, he vehemently insisted to me that his sonic output was not hip-hop, but instead occupied a whole other tier, some yet-to-be-discovered genre and that it bears little resemblance to what other people in this town are doing. And let’s be clear: he’s completely right. Doug Morris is an auditory voyage across subterranean and astrological terrain never before experienced by humans. On display is unbridled musical innovation. Take for example, “Never Never Die,” where a mournful soul sample is repeatedly punctured with bird calls, lasers, and the bell that marks the end of the third period. And yet somehow it works. While listening I’m reminded of classical composer Arnold Schoenberg, who in 1908 decided that key signatures didn’t matter and that you could—and should—use all the notes of the piano. The seven-minute track, “What Does It All Mean? My Definition of the Music Business,” recalls the sonic assault of Japanese noise artist Merzbow, who tests your listening limits with confrontational noise. Doug Morris, like much of OCnotes extensive body of work, will elevate your ears and your mind to places you never thought possible. I’m so glad we have innovators like OCnotes living in our midst, to chaperon us into the future. Regardless of classification, he has a lot of fans in the Seattle hip-hop community. One MC recently pulled me aside to say, “Don’t sleep on that Doug Morris shit, man. It’s fire.”

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