A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Mash Hall Love Family Thicker Than Blood

Mash Hall Love Family Thicker Than Blood (2006) is the third release from Mash Hall, but in many ways, it is the group’s first full album. (2004’s Mash Hall was an EP with only six tracks, and The Mash Tape in 2005 placed Mash Hall tracks alongside remixes of songs by other mainstream artists.) The two MCs on MHLFTTB, Ronnie Voice and blesOne (sometimes as himself and other times as his alter ego Bruce Illest) combine to create a perfectly concise and balanced rap album. In a tasteful display of restraint, we get 15 solid tracks with very few skits/dialog samples to distract from the purity. This is concentrated Mash Hall, try not to overdose.

The album begins with a hypnotic prayer chant of the title, is this a cult? What’s going on here? After a few tracks, the album settles into a groove, and the alternating verses from blesOne and Ronnie Voice are steady and hard. Both MCs rap in a ‘Gatling gun’ blur with no space between the words. How do they breathe? I have no idea. Mash Hall is a speeding bus with no brakes. This is an out-of-control carnival ride, it’s exciting but you sure feel like you’re about to crash! The production frantically hangs on to the bouncing, scattered lyrics, or is it the other way around? Mash Hall are the triathletes of hip-hop, endurance and raw energy are their specialties.

Two tracks, in particular, I would like to highlight. The first is “Father’s Day” rapped entirely by Ronnie Voice. This track captures the feel-good production that makes Mash Hall ideal party music. Ronnie’s lyrics have the easy swagger of a wild west gunslinger ambling down a dusty trail. The lyrics tell a story of a villain who doesn’t want his kids to grow up like him. The other song that stands out for me is “Butterfly” performed by blesOne. In this track, blesOne weaves a complex and dramatic story about a woman who is nicknamed Madame Butterfly. The story immediately draws the listener in with pathos and visually expressive language. The words from blesOne’s mouth shoot out like air from a plane propeller, thudding and continuous. At first, his voice seems monotone, but the more you listen, you can detect a wide range of emotion and inflection.

MHLFTTB is part turntable scratch extravaganza, part storytelling masterpiece theater, and part neighborhood bully that just wants to watch the world burn. Mash Hall approaches rap like a barnstormer in the 1920’s complete with barrel rolls and wing walking. They are musical daredevils risking it all for the entertainment of the crowd. There is an awareness of the inappropriate lyrics, as the last track on the album addresses Mash Hall’s often offensive language. It’s called “My Favorite Word,” and the track is a ‘sorry, not sorry’ type of apology. Mash Hall explains they are sorry if four-letter words offend you, but they aren’t changing so listen with caution! (Written by Novocaine132.)

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Original Space Neighbors

Specs One aka Specs Wizard aka M.C. Eyeshock returns under the pseudonym “Mic Mulligan & S.Future”! Specs is an incalculable force for why Seattle has flavor, and in all his years pushing the movement forward he’s done nothing but get better and better. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Westlake: Class Of 1999

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

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1986

What an intro it is! Silas Blak from (Black Stax, Silent Lambs Project, and Blind Council) spits the most brain-stimulating abstract metaphors you can imagine, in delivery so dark and jarring it causes hiccups. He leaves you hanging on to every grimy word he speaks, while your head-nod slows to nothing, and your feet forget to dance. He’s the rarest kind of poet; one that is able to speak the most eloquent stanzas you wish you could think up, but in plain rap, straight to your brain.

There’s nothing frou-frou here, no self-absorbed coffee-house spoken word crap or tired-out boasting. There’s no wasted space. Every word is what he means. On beats, Silas is joined by Specs One, King Otto, Dropcast Music, and Vitamin D (who also lends a verse on one track). From 2006, released on CD-R. A darker and heavier hip-hop record has yet to be heard. For now, listen to this and yearn. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Pleaze Believe

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

Do you know something about the history of this record? Do you have a favorite lyric or a favorite memory? Send us an email on why this is one of the great hip-hop albums from the Northwest. Thanks!

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