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Cidewayz: Full Circle

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Hollow Point Lyrics

Dividenz is a rap duo consisting of C.O.L.A. and Notes. Their first album is called Hollow Point Lyrics, and it came out in 2003 on D-Sane’s Street Level Records. Notes brandishes a bullet on the album cover artwork, while C.O.L.A. holds an umbrella. Skuntdunanna helps to fire up the party, dropping a punchline-filled verse on the album’s first cut, “It’s All Official.” “Too Much” featuring Bullet is one of my favorites on the album for its simple, gangstery beat and Nate Dogg-ish vocals on the hook sung by Jazz.

“Million $ Mouthpiece” features Seattle rap legend Byrdie, who had dropped his solo debut Poetic Epidemic two years prior in 2001, also on Street Level. Although the beat is catchy and smooth, the lyrics fall into the rap-about-rap trap, which limits the content of the track to solipsistic musing about being an MC. There are happy exceptions however, “I’m rollin by señoritas, yelling mama mia, they dream like they got shot with anesthesia,” raps Byrdie.

Fans of Hall & Oates may appreciate “We Don’t…” which interpolates H&O’s 1981 classic “I Can’t Go For That.” “I never been a sucker, I’m just a young hustler trying to have the world spinning in my hand,” goes a nice line from “We Don’t…” Overall, Hollow Point Lyrics is a solid debut. Six years later in 2009, the group would drop a second Street Level album, 10% Rap 90% Hustle. Written by Novocaine132

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The Streetz Iz Enough

Skuntdunanna dropped his CD, Trapped In Da Hatrixx, on Sea Sick Records in 1998. By the time his next album The Streetz Iz Enough came out in 2003, Skunt had joined D-Sane’s Street Level Records, home to Syko, IK, Byrdie, and the label’s marquee group F.T.S. The Streetz Iz Enough is a tour de force from one of the slickest rappers to ever emerge from Seattle. Spending all his time and effort in the studio paid off, allowing Skunt to develop a unique personality and character on the mic in real time, and the listener can hear him shifting gears between gangsta, hustler, pimp, comedian, and stone cold MC.

To me, one of the best things about Skunt’s material is the steady flow of truly hilarious punchlines. “Must have got help from the Post Office, because they turned thug overnight,” is one that always makes me chuckle. He makes joke after joke, using wordplay and insults, generally staying three or four steps ahead of the listener. Because his flow is so asymmetrical, there’s no way to know what he’s going to say next. Guest appearances enhance many of the tracks here. Wanz sings the groovy hook on “All I Got,” rap veteran Silver Shadow D lends some ragga chanting to “Soundproof,” and golden-voiced Byrdie drops a delectable verse on “Shake It.”

My favorite cut on this album is the title track, “The Streetz Iz Enough,” featuring underground Seattle rap hero Framework. This song goes so hard with lines like, “Memories of childhood days, but now instead of playing ball, I’m dropping flowers on graves.” Another hot track on this CD is simply titled, “Skuntdunanna.” “Pronounce the f***ing name right, dog,” he exhorts the listener. “Crazy Life Pt. 2” is an autobiographical piece which tells Skunt’s story of coming up in the Seattle rap game. There are even a couple of skits, “Rap Right Commercial,” and “Rejection Hotline,” which add to the entertaining vibe of the album. The cover artwork says this is the first official Skuntdunanna album, and the musical partnership between Skuntdunanna and D-Sane continued to grow throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Written by Novocaine132

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We're Back Seattle!

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Finally

Finally was manufactured in 2001 by Sea-Sick in Seattle, home to releases by RC Tha Trackaholiq, Skuntdunanna, and Central Intelligence. However, the album is not technically on Sea-Sick, but rather Emerald City Records, which also worked with local group Dividenz. In fact, the credits of Finally tease an upcoming Dividenz album which eventually came out on Street Level Records.

Label details aside, Oxagin consists of two members, Sli and Loe. Their debut Finally is predominantly a story of hustling, street life, and crime. For example, in the skit “Tha Jack Move,” they steal a car from a hapless fellow citizen. “On A Roll” continues the carjacking story, “I can’t blame him, I would have shot him, I spot him, and if you would have missed, I would have got him.”

The sultry track “I’m Chok’in,” featuring singer Francci, is all about the large quantity of weed smoked by the group. Vampire movie fans will like “Lost Boys” which repurposes the eerie choir-boy chants from the movie’s soundtrack. “Thou shalt not kill…” For a taste of Barry White, check out “Realer Than Real,” which flips the famous ascending bassline from “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More Baby.” “Takin Over” featuring DMS is a solid effort by both groups.

To me, the most interesting track on Finally is “Send Me An Angel,” produced by Scott. Australian synth-pop band Real Life had a worldwide hit in 1983 with their emo song of the same title. Oxagin repurposes it here for a dirge-like tale of a character killed in a drug deal gone bad. “You should have known that life falls just like rain, you should have known they killed you for that cocaine.” This track captures the despairing, helpless tone of the original, and shows the ability of hip-hop to basically reintroduce us to songs that are already familiar. Music never dies, it just whistles a new tune. Written by Novocaine132

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A Hustlaz Livin Hell

Self Tightld put out their first album Hustlin-N-Hell in 1998. On tracks like “Pleasure Pouches,” “Watch That B/N,” and “Growth And Development,” the five MCs showed their talent at the rap game. 1998 was a bittersweet year for the group, according to group member Maine 1’s Soundcloud page, which explains that the group lost member Rob Doe that year when he passed away. In 2000 the remaining four members, Maine 1, Popsykle, 2Elevn, and Sikface released their sophomore album, A Hustlaz Livin Hell. Many of the beats are handled by RC The Trackaholiq, with others by Beezie and Wingo. Star guest appearances include Mac Dre, Yukmouth, and B-Legit.

“Work” is interesting, and stands out for its bouncy, unusual style. “Guaranteed Profits,” produced by Seattle legend Mafia aka Skuntdunanna, has lots of open space for the Self Tightld rappers to do their jobs. Other highlights include celebratory track “Da Hustle Continues,” and the stark warning, “Don’t Enter My Domain.” One of the standout tracks on Hustlin-N-Hell, “Pleasure Pouches” featuring the aforementioned B-Legit, is also featured here on A Hustlaz Livin Hell.

This would be the second and last album for Self Tightld. Maine 1 has been a conscious MC since 2005 with the murder of his big brother, and now tries to educate people about the dangers of gang life. His recent tracks such as “Silent War,” Fake Love,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” are worth checking out. Rappers 2Elevn and Sikface also remain active in the scene. RIP to Popsykle, who passed away in 2018. Written By Novocaine132

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The Playoffs

In 1994, DMS dropped a short six-song album called Takin’ Ends on D-Shot Records which established them as serious players in the 206 rap game. Two years later, their spiky track “Keep Da Change” was featured on Loosegroove’s 14 Fathoms Deep rap compilation. By 1999 they left D-Shot Records and dropped their sophomore album titled The Playoffs, which came out on Clear Head Entertainment.

“Hytymez” and “Jonzin'” document the weed-smoking lifestyle which is so familiar in rap music, you already know. “Drunk Words…Sober Thoughts” talks about struggles with alcohol abuse. “206 N’It” includes shout outs to other Seattle and Tacoma rap artists, and also a list of some local landmarks like the Pike Place Market, Mt. Rainier, and the Space Needle. Most of the album lyrics relate to everyday life, their pride in our city, and their identity as rappers in Seattle. The genre is squarely in the reality rap camp, with less wordplay and concepts and more newspaper style reporting of daily events in the neighborhood.

Highlights on The Playoffs include a slow burner titled “Freak Show,” which is an interpolation of “And The Beat Goes On” by The Whispers. “My World Too” is a moving sequel to “My World” from Takin’ Ends, and this track written solo by group member Moe-B is filled with frank and honest lyrics concerning fear of failure and his own personal struggles. “Outro” names every track on the album in a clever twist. The best thing about The Playoffs is the level of lyrical and philosophical growth compared to the songs on Takin’ Ends. One minor complaint I have about this album is that the songs are all extremely long, and sometimes overstay their welcome. Sometimes a tight three minute track can say more than one that rambles for five or six minutes.

DMS were in a large club of Seattle rap groups and artists who were excellent at their game. They had the breath control which is so important for balanced verses, plus their vocal tones were varied and compelling. The beats were tight, conforming to the highest standards, and the aesthetic was 100% hip-hop. They had the dope style and the swagger to fit the description. If a group like DMS checked all the boxes, then why didn’t they become millionaires? The answer is what some people like to call the ‘X Factor.’ The X Factor means there is something magic or supernatural about your music that is undeniably unique, and thus your content instantly differentiates itself from that of other artists. Without the X Factor, DMS didn’t have one definable quality which could set them apart from the thousands of other rap groups in the 1990s. Therefore, even though they solidly represented their art form, this was their last album according to Discogs. Written by Novocaine132

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The Life In The Central But The Ways Of The World

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Phamily Orientated

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Hole In The Chest

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Time Flies

Phamily Tribal Gang combined the rhymes of rapper Dee-Love (Dwayne Love) with the talents of producer Big Beezie Mack (Fred Byrdwell). Time Flies was the group’s three-song cassette debut.

The song “Time Flies” opens with lone piano notes and drum hits that explore a distant, vast expanse. The sparse instrumentation slowly coasleses into melody. Guitarist “Biggie” Lewis and singer Lisa Allen join in. Dee-Love raps his thoughts about the passage of hours and days. He feels like “Time is goin’ at record speed.” Suddenly, it’s last call at the party. He tries to hook up with his ex, but she ain’t havin’ it. The next day, he’s chilling at the crib with friends. After everyone leaves, he reflects, “Thank God for one more day.” The tape includes two additional songs, “Old School” and “Phuck Me.”

Beezie Mack was part of the posse behind Def In The Family, a record store located on the corner at Broadway and Jefferson. They’d carry explicit rap CDs and tapes that other stores wouldn’t. Their shop also incorporated a small recording studio where many locals cut their first rap tracks. It served as an important hub for the city’s music community. The Def In The Family space was operated by Emery Buford, Godfrey Chambers, Sean Mcafee, Tunde Salisbury, and Damani Williams.

Phamily Tribal Gang followed up this single in 1995 with a 17-song album called Hole In The Chest. The CD’s cover art has no tracklisting or credits, leaving its many contributors and song titles a mystery.

In 1996, Beezie Mack and Dee-Love produced and recorded Phamily Orientated, one of Seattle’s earliest hip-hop compilation albums. Many new artists are featured, including Shabazz Coalition, a new rap collective led by former Di-Ra Boy Sean Malik.

Over three decades, Beezie Mack has contributed musical mojo to dozens of street-level Seattle albums including turn-of-the-millennium gangsta classics from No Good Therapy, Sarkastik, Self Tightld, and Walt Nut. Around that time, changed his moniker to Beezie 2000.

Dee Love dropped his own solo debut in 1996. The album, Show Me The Money, was produced by Criminal Nation’s Eugenius.

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