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7 Slaps In The Sack

7 Slaps In The Sack is a video interview series created by Carrick Wenke. Shot between 2014 and 2020, the show has more than 50 episodes, each of which involves going record shopping at Everyday Music on 10th in Seattle with “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.”

Everyday Music is sadly gone now, but you can view all the episodes from the series on YouTube. A wide range of Town talent has spent the day shopping with Carrick, talking about favorite records, influences, and craft, including Jarv Dee, Keyboard Kid, Nacho Picasso, Romaro Franceswa, Travis Thompson, and many others.

We’ve embedded a few of our favorite episodes below.

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Sir Mix-a-Lot on "Baby Got Back"

During this seven-minute interview with Vlad TV, Sir Mix-A-Lot goes into great detail about the song that has defined his career.

One Sunday afternoon, Mix was watching football. A Bud Light beer commercial came on featuring cartoon “party dog” Spuds MacKenzie and a posse of waif-thin models. He and his girlfriend at the time began discussing the lack of Black women on television, with bodies they recognized and women they themselves saw as beautiful. This led him to write something to confront the “norm” in media… The way fashion magazines like Cosmopolitan “defined any woman bigger than a heroin addict as fat.” He thought the song could make a statement in support of body positivity. But it had to be funny, or no one would pay attention.

Mix wasn’t even sure about the song when he finally recorded “Baby Got Back.” He felt it was perhaps filler material and considered cutting it from his upcoming album. Rick Rubin gave it as listen and suggested dropping the beat on Mix’s punchlines, and this change gives the song its incredible momentum. Mix also credits the influence of German techno pioneers Kraftwerk on his own beat-making.

There’s also some invaluable advice about the importance of musicians owning their own publishing rights. All-in-all, there’s lots of good game in this interview.

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Left

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All Your Friend's Friends

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G-Shit

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Desperate Boyz

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Fantasy Has Come 2 Seatown

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Möstly Crëw

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Déjà Vu

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Nick Johnson EP

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Born Day 2

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2014,” saying that:

This year marked the second time Vita has used his birthday as an excuse to bless us with a new set of tracks. Born Day 2 is all hard slaps, irreverent rhymes, and well-placed guest shots wrapped in the producer-MC’s trademark soulful compositions. Shoot this album (and its part one predecessor) into space as the be-all, end-all example of what Seattle hip-hop has to offer the universe.

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Evidence Of Things Not Seen

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2014,” saying that:

Gabriel Teodros is one of the most consistently excellent hip-hop artists in Seattle, an MC who knows who he is and what he stands for. In SoulChef, a producer from Auckland, New Zealand, GT found a collaborator to augment his socially conscious bars. Teodros is typically soft-spoken and Chef’s beats hit like a harder version of 9th Wonder’s: soulful boom-bap with crisp, smartly-looped samples. In the wake of Ferguson and Staten Island, the messages on Evidence Of Things Not Seen resonated even louder.

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Life Before

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2014,” saying that:

A rich mix of sounds ranging from the heady, airy slap of “In The Wind” to the thick-as-gravy boom-bap “Distant Love.” Sinseer covers his life as he knows it: a quarter-life coming-of-age on wax, informed by love lost and found, and loyalties and promises made to friends that run as deep as familial blood ties.

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Children of The Dragon

Gabriel Teodros’ new album, produced entirely by AirMe, is a mature, restrained, and beautiful record. It’s his most solid work to date, pushing hip-hop forward as few can. I hadn’t heard about this release until only a couple of nights ago. Since then, I’ve been enjoying this surprise immensely. For those familiar with this particular Seattle cat, suffice to say it won’t disappoint; for those new to Mr. Teodros, it’s a perfect place to jump in. His work has always demonstrated a passion for the art like few others, and here it shines distilled and crystal clear. Truly, this is a work of beauty. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Nation

This looks like a book, but Nation is a 2014 hip-hop CD from the one and only Katie Kate: Right out the gate–starting with short intro track “The Visions”–this album takes you on a synth-heavy electronic cross-country roller-coaster road trip. There’s an otherworldly quality to this music: After a long day at the wheel, you’ve found yourself somewhere in the southwest desert, your car has broken down but you don’t care. It’s night, and there are just so, so many stars overhead. (I have this image in my head whenever I hear “Zombie”) Your guide supplements her supple melodies with a pulse-pounding rap flow, repetitive chanting, and sweet, ethereal singing. (Along the way, listen for guest hitchhikers Nacho Picasso, Jarv Dee and Rik Rude.) This special edition came as a luxe limited-edition 60-page book, with lyrics, writings, and artwork. The whole package was designed by Radjaw and a handful of copies are still for sale on Bandcamp.

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Aura EP

There’re folks who rap on the beat, and some who rap offbeat, and then there are souls like Dex Amora who cartwheel whatever damn way they please like it’s the most natural thing in the world. A while back I was talking with some local hip-hop luminaries who referenced Dex as a cat to watch out for–and they are on point. The Aura EP pictured here is one of two short, and superb, records he released in 2014. Beautiful vibes, funky verses, and punctuated throughout with comedy dialogue samples that recall classic rap skits. Go get this one on Bandcamp. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by J’Von. Also, I’m just going to put it out there into the universe: I’d love to hear a rap battle/collaboration between Dex Amora and Dave B. How do we make this happen?

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Hunnidz n' Nuthin Less

I discovered the music of Ralphy Davis only recently when I saw him nominated for a “Hip-Hop Oscar” at the Seattle Sound Music Awards in November. Hunnidz n’ Nuthin Less, his 2014 mixtape, with its cover art of rubber bands, is unsurprisingly a meditation on the hustle, with aspirations of fame and cars and millions. Ralphy has a fine flow and engaging verses, and the production is full of smooth drums and samples. I’m curious to hear what’s next from Ralphy–you have the mic, our attention, and an award nomination: what’s next after the posturing, the fame, the millions? Those seem inevitable with this talent.

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Barkada

I’m spinning this 2014 collaboration, Barkada, from Prometheus Brown (aka The Blue Scholars’ Geologic) and Bambu. Here’s a record that has become more relevant with age, with lyrics that deeply consider West Coast identity, immigration, the origins and future of America, protests and police; themes on the forefront of front pages during these first few months of 2017. These themes are communicated via a deeply playful playbook of technical prowess: “Coming (To America)” is almost exclusively built around with words that end with “o,” while opener “Live from Hawaii” contains more words than you could imagine that contain “bar-…” This is a fun album, ingenious and subversive. Hook your headphones up to it today. Also, I love the Photoshopped “record wear” effect on this cover art.

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HerbsPenSoul

HerbPenSoul is an upbeat 2014 EP from Dex Amora. This was his debut, emerging into the world fully formed, with careful, precise vintage vinyl chop-ups and deft verses and wordplay. But what always strikes me when I spin this EP is its intimacy, as if you’re hanging with Dex on the couch, like old friends catching up, watching “Good Times,” feeling nostalgic about youth: “Pass the trees around and we’re all friends, presto,” as he raps on “Who I Be.” Flute samples are pretty rare, so it’s great to hear them at the end of “AimHigh,” a track also featuring Falon Sierra. After a too-long minute of laying low, he recently released some new tunes on SoundCloud, with the promise of more to come. Looking forward to hearing more from this cat.

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Stas for Hire

A while ago, when Stas had a regular Wednesday DJ residency at Havana in Capitol Hill, I once saw her perform DJ magic: In the middle of playing a song from Beyoncé’s Lemonade, she extracted a phrase and looped it–imagine a carefully curated skipping record–leaving us in the audience rapt as we repeatedly anticipated an imminent crescendo, extending that one powerful moment into infinity, and transforming a well-loved song into something completely fresh and new.

Stas for Hire is a six-track instrumental beat tape from 2014 composed of short song sketches where she uses this technique is used to great effect, especially on a song like “Kilted then Skirted out.”

“The Many Ways In Which She Tried It” was reworked, rapped upon, and re-released on her 2017 album, S’WOMEN. Though there are no verses on this EP, the voice is sampled and used in oh so many joyous ways.

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Authentic

A couple of years ago I was standing outside Neumos when a young man walked up and handed me this CD. It was probably Prep himself, hustling to get the word out. Much respect to the hustle. I’ve been enjoying this album, so thank you. The unGoogleable 7-track Authentic EP by Prep came out in late 2014, yet another in a series of stellar recent releases from Tacoma hip-hop artists. (There is so much great shit is coming out of Tacoma these days!) The verses here explore troubled teen life and resisting the temptations of less-than-legal “easy” options. Highlights include the extreme slow down at the end of “Radio,” and the cavernous acoustic guitar on “Bless The Bottle,” and the Kanye-esque honesty on “Robbery.” And “Work.” Damn: This one just gets better with every listen.

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The BLK EP

Taylar Elizza Beth is one of the most exciting new artists in Seattle right now. I’ve been spinning Taylar’s first release, the seven-track THE BLK EP from 2014. I love the way she plays with time throughout her flow, speeding up and slowing way down and how this parallels verses that nostalgically speak about times gone by and yet to come. She also demonstrates an impressively diverse vocal range, a rap chameleon that morphs from smoky growl to soft whisper, or the arresting moment at the start of “Queenz of Da Beach” when she speaks plainly and vulnerably.

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FNDMNTLS

FNDMNTLS is a 2014 mixtape from vowel-adverse Porter Ray. This record is filled with studies–of stasis, and of the crystallization of memory. Take for example “Ruthie Dean” a 5 1/2 minute song of rambling recollection, while in the background the same piano loops over and over again. Porter’s stream of consciousness storytelling repeats reoccurring motifs across multiple songs: dice, his absent brother, shorty, the District, after parties, countless blunts smoked and bottles raised in honor of some lost time before, as Cam The Mac intones throughout “Blackcherry,” sex, drugs and money dominated his days. Or, as Porter himself says wistfully on “Meditate,” “I wonder where this rap shit is taking me.” This record was released around the time he signed with Sub Pop. Two years on, his first official SP release, Watercolor is finally, imminently due, and we’re about to find out where.

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Never Enough

A while back, someone suggested to me that you could love a whole record because of a single drum break or perfectly placed sample, and Never Enough a 2014 release from Leezy Soprano has them in spades. There’s one moment in particular, in the opener “The Whole World/Problem Child” where, just as Tacoma rapper Leez says “Pour some liquor…” a sample of ice clinking in a glass emerges to form the foundation of a synth line that then carries through the song. If you do nothing else, go seek out this moment: I look forward to it every time I spin this record. (At the end of the track, he says, “I love y’all, and I love this beat, too,” and you know he knows it’s great. “Star” samples Madonna in a fresh way, too. What brings me back is all the real talk on racial injustice and the need for change. “Colors” suggests that instead of one-day protests, there’s a real need for better ongoing education programs in black history and accomplishments in our schools. Fun educational fact: Leez’s Supreme Being record was one of the first I ever wrote about, inspiring this whole long series of local hip-hop write-ups.

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Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon

This sensational record has been in rotation for me pretty much every day for the past few weeks. Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon, a 2014 release from RA Scion and Vox Mod belongs in the upper-echelon canon of interstellar Seattle electro-rap. (Spin this when you want a break from Shabazz Palaces‘s Quazarz.) RA Scion is known for his enjoyably decadent five-syllable word choices and verses that deftly juggle “elucidate,” “pantheon” and “vacillate.” Vox Mod’s emergent, menacing synths call out to be heard on through mega-loud club speakers, alternately sharp and gurgling. There are many standout tracks including “Introspector” and opener “Passage to Transience.” But I also love the cuts where they step back and give the stage to featured contributors: DJ Indica Jones on the instrumental “Plush Portal Stylings” and double-tracked vocals from Kung Foo Grip‘s Greg Cypher on closer “Res Publica.” This whole record is all great.

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Lese Majesty

If you’ve ever watched a sunrise, there’s this moment when the sun suddenly, miraculously appears, and all the shadows infinitely elongate, and you’re blinded by color and shaken by the experience. That’s a pretty accurate way to describe Lese Majesty a 2014 album from Shabazz Palaces. This album sounds like nothing else. The first few times I heard it, I found it so dense and foreign and perplexing that it sat on my shelf a long time, but lately has navigated a place in the regular rotation. This cover is an odd rubberized paper, deeply tactile. The music: deeply tactile as well.

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riZe vadZimu riZe

Years ago I bought a multi-track cassette recorder, and for a while, I became obsessed with recording four different, unrelated songs on top of one another. The results were mostly tortured audio chaos, but occasionally some unexpected beautiful musical serendipity would emerge. Listening to 2014’s riZe vadZimu riZe from Chimurenga Renaissance I’m reminded of those early experiments–this album contains similar auditory chaos. A project from Shabazz Palaces instrumentalist Tendai Maraire, songs are densely layered, with multiple melodies moving in multiple directions all at once. This is the sound of multitasking and the first few listens can be overwhelming. But commit to an active listing experience and this record will reward with much serendipity. Beautiful cover design by Civilization.

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Sand Clemente, WA

I first met Thad Wenatchee and the FFU crew a few weeks ago at Channel Fest, an event at Fred Wildlife celebrating local record labels. (They were, surprisingly, the only ones selling any hip-hop.) Thad sold me a copy of his 2014 instrumental beat tape, Sand Clemente, WA. Google tells me this is not a real place, but this record renders it completely: I imagine a seaside village somewhere along the coast near Moclips, remote. Mournful saxophones haunt like distant nautical horns, drums crash with the repetitive ebb and flow of ocean waves. This is the soundtrack of a languid, calm place, full of longing.

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Huckleberry

Huge props to Sam Lachow for his ongoing commitment to promote fellow rappers from the town. His 2013 one-off single, “Young Seattle, Part 2”–featuring a host of local MCs–was my first real introduction to the scene, and I voraciously sought out music by each and every contributor. Huckleberry follows suit, pulling in artists and collaborators on every track. It was funded through Kickstarter, allowing fans to be collaborators of sorts, too. The record itself is a fun collage of introspective, self-referential party rap, with killer pop hooks and top-notch beats. (A special call out to the wild guitar and vocal textures contributed by Maggie Brown.)

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Cognitive Dissonance

Master of the acapella verse, it’s no surprise that the cover of Raz Simone‘s Cognitive Dissonance depicts him as a lone figure against Rembrandt chiaroscuro. The first cut, “They’ll Speak,” is epic. This is serious, activist rap; laid-back with soft beats you want to bob your head to.

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2014,” saying that:

Raz Simone pushes weight both emotional and narcotic on this ten-track LP, the first release behind the rapper’s headline-making deal with Lyor Cohen’s 300 Entertainment. Raz’s point-of-view is clouded by contradictions, hence the album’s title, but his singular focus on stardom and stacking chips makes it impossible to not watch his every move.

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Was And It Will Be

The original collage cover of 2014’s Was And It Will Be from Ricky Pharoe and Phreewil is a perfectly apt description of the superb crate-digging, subversive, schizophrenic, Seattle record inside. This one takes you on a journey through money, success, hope and faith that’s worth taking.

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Girl Rap

One of the masterpieces of Seattle rap: Gifted Gab‘s Girl Rap. If this were a cassette I would have long ago worn it out. Rarely a week goes by that I haven’t spun this a few times. Gab has a potent ricochet flow and lots of truth to deliver.

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2014,” saying that:

Gifted Gab becomes a more fully-evolved artist with every release and Girl Rap was Gabby embracing ‘90s-influenced R&B in equal measures with the hard, bracing shit-talk we’ve come to know and love her for. This rapper is good enough to bat third in any crew’s lineup; she’s Griffey-like in the way you don’t want to miss an at-bat because you never know when she’ll do something incredible.

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