A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Emerald City Beginning

The Emerald City Beginning was released in 2020 as the first episode in a planned, upcoming series about the origins of hip-hop in the Northwest. The show was created by E-Dawg and Rubik: two Town OGs who certainly have all the right credentials to deliver an authentic portrait of ’80s Seattle.

They sit down with Sir Mix-A-Lot, Nasty Nes, and J-Skee. The centerpiece interview is with James “Captain Crunch” Croone, legendary emcee of The Emerald Street Boys. “Nobody could out-bop him,” says J-Skee about Croone’s skills on the mic. “They were sophisticated. They had no weaknesses,” adds Mix.

Captain Crunch tells the story of how The Emerald Street Boys met: Sweet J stole a rhyme from Sugar Bear, or that was the rumor, and they went off to fight him. In 1982, Seattle-King County Visitors’ Bureau had a contest to find a new nickname for Seattle, and “The Emerald City” was chosen. The Emerald Street Boys were originally named so as to take advantage of the newfound tourism buzz.

You’ll learn about some other of the artists from the mythical start of Seattle rap: Silver Chain Gang, Frostmaster Chill, Big Boss Cross, Chelly Chell, and Supreme La Rock. And you’ll learn how clueless the East Coasters were (and continue to be) about the Northwest. When Nasty Nes first brought Mix-A-Lot to NYC, the record execs said rap from Seattle was impossible, in a place “where there are only horse-drawn buggies and green grass.”

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Party Invader

West Seattle’s Big Boss Cross released his rap single, “Party Invader,” in 1986. The song is six-and-a-half minutes of electro techno-funk beats fronted by an ever-more creative series of rap boasts.

In the early ‘80s, Chris “Big Boss” Cross was in a group with Gary Jam, called Jam Delight. Later, he released a cassette called “Pimpin’ Wit Me,” which created enough buzz to convince California’s Macola Records to distribute “Party Invader” all across the country.

In the song, we learn that Big Boss Cross is a devastating force. He’s got “computers in the background.” He’s invincible. He’s “the rap messiah of the mixing board.” He’s “hotter than fire.” “A solid gold player in Rappinhood.” His “rhymes are never off tempo.” Some of these bars are truly entertaining. The B-side of this record features just the instrumental beats should you wish a break from the boasts.

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