A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Posse On Broadway

Mix famously came up with the idea for this song on tour after noticing how there was a “Broadway” in every town in America, and he wanted to tell the world about the one he knew best, here in Seattle.

The cover photo on this EP shows “the posse” standing on the corner of Broadway and John, across the street from what is now the Light Rail station entrance. You can see Dick’s in the background.

Everyone knows this song: Mix and the crew go cruising around Capitol Hill and the CD in their black Benz limo, picking up ever more homies and women until their car’s muffler is hanging on the ground. (You can even look up the route on Google Maps.) They decide to go to Dick’s only to spar with a local rival crew, played by Incredicrew in the music video. (The video wasn’t actually shot at Dick’s because, at the time, the owner wouldn’t give Mix permission.)

Contrary to views expressed on “I’m A Trip” a couple of years earlier, gear head Mix shouts out his fandom for the Roland 808, noting how “the 808 kick drum makes the girlies get dumb.”

This 12” EP contains “The Godzilla Remix,” a glorious seven and a half minute version of the song, featuring sub-bass beats, scratching, new bass lines, and extra verses. The remix is followed by a further two minutes of bonus beats.

On the flip side is the cut “F The BS,” a track that appears on the cassette and CD versions of SWASS but not the vinyl, so this is where I always go looking for it. The beats on this song simply roar and Mix tears it up with rapid-fire raps.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from


Sir Mix-A-Lot is one of Seattle’s Greatest Of All Time Rappers. It’s surprising how often Mix gets written off as a one-hit-wonder, as though the dude doesn’t also have multiple platinum and gold records to his name. (He’s also made $100+ million dollars from that “big butts” song, making him not only our first major rap star but also our most-ever commercially successful one.)

His debut album, made four years prior to “butts,” is a self-released gem called SWASS. It’s the one with “Posse on Broadway.” The album sold so many copies on vinyl and cassette and CD that it went gold, and then platinum, and indeed, between 1988 to 1991, it was the bestselling record to ever have been released in the Northwest in any genre of music.

Think about that for a second.

For the three years prior to Nirvana’s Nevermind, Seattle was suddenly on the map as a rap success hotbed, known all around the world as Sir Mix-A-Lot’s town.

This album—a debatable acronym for “Some Wild Ass Silly Shit”—is a gonzo trip, full of West Coast attitude, electro-gangsta beats, and humorous stories. On the front cover, Mix grabs the Space Needle as if it were a giant cock. The album plays like a concept album: you follow Mix and his posse as they pull heists, go clubbing, drive around the CD and Capitol Hill, and end up at Dick’s. (Note that the song “Bremolo” towards the end is an unfortunate blight of sexist trash and you should skip it.) This record put Seattle on the national rap map for the very first time, the beats and rapping are fire, and it’s as bizarre and entertaining to listen to today as it was 33 years ago.

You can find SWASS on Spotify, and I strongly encourage you to go listen to this slice of Seattle hip-hop history today.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from


Rippin’ / Attack On The Stars

The “Rippin’” EP is a true double A-side: Center circles are labeled “1” and “A.” Both singles are strong, but the best cut by far is a mind-boggling three minutes and forty seconds called “bonus beats.” Mix chops up Kid Sensation’s beatboxing into a wild construction, demonstrating how truly skilled he is as a beatmaker, sampler, and turntable scratcher. At the end, he boasts to Nes that his competition “better retire.”

To best understand early Mix-A-Lot, picture him as an identity worn by Anthony Ray, the same way Bruce Wayne dons the guise of Batman. Early Mix was “Adam West”—a campy, computer-obsessed nerd with style who knows how to rock a party.

“Rippin’” plays like a send-off for this early Mix, looking back at his early hits and summarizing his rise to success. The lyrics revisit the themes from “I’m A Trip,” a section of “Square Dance Rap” makes a reappearance, and he samples vintage Electro greats Kraftwerk and Gary Numan.

After this record, the Mix character becomes brasher, bolder, more gangster… a guy who’s tough because he’s a gun-toting badass with a posse, and not just because he knows how to oscillate the bass kick on his computerized gear.

It’s always been curious that most of Mix’s earliest tunes have never been released digitally or on streaming: These songs are mostly great fun, weird, geeky, production marvels. Go seek out the original vinyl records! I found many of these in used bins for $1. You’re in for some wild ass silly shit.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

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.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!