A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Circumstance Dictates

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Blessed 2 Mic Check

Blessed 2 Mic Check, the wax debut from Nomad Da Nomadic, is a quintessential slab of NW wax, and in many ways typified the Seattle area hip-hop scene in the late nineties. What that means is basically it was hella dope and you missed it. With production by Mr. Supreme on the title cut, and DJ Sayeed and DJ Swift on the two B-sides, this record is sonically tight – especially Sayeed’s track “Da Movement,” which happens to feature Sayeed’s group Black Anger. “Shantae,” Swift’s slower number, comes with its own bonus, as it’s blessed by local heroine Felicia Loud on the hook. Nomad has no problems holding his own amid all this greatness, and in fact, his direct and gritty flow is surprisingly complimentary to the bombastic delivery of Black Anger and Felicia’s gorgeous crooning. Likewise, the beats fit Nomad’s style perfectly, especially Swift’s dark and sedated track, with its murky organ and vibe loops. From here, Nomad went on to release a couple 12″s in 2000 and 2001, as well as a full-length in 2001. His entire output is strong and worth tracking down. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Classic Elements

Classic Elements was released by Olympia’s K Records in 1998. It contains tracks by sixteen Northwest hip hop artists, including some certified legends. The lyrics are consistently excellent throughout the compilation. These are songs for the mind, and many are vignettes in the true sense of the word, a good example being the captivating saga contained in “A.N.I.T.A.” by Nobody. The production on Classic Elements glows softly like a vintage Edison light bulb. DJ Sayeed (Black Anger) and Brian Weber (Dub Narcotic) both play a large role in shaping the sound of this compilation. Mr. Supreme drops a sublime Twin-Peaks-esque beat for Jace on “What’s Ya Definition,” and Topspin captures a tempest in a teapot with his beat for “Sleep” by Sinsemilla. Every track on this compilation is a genuine artistic expression, and that carries some risk because the performers put their feelings out on display which renders them vulnerable to misunderstanding, or worse, indifference. One of the highlights is “Hip Hop Was” by Ghetto Chilldren, which shines with professional polish among some of the dustier tracks. When you include a track by Source of Labor with Beyond Reality, “Aunt Anna,” and a couple of underground heat rocks from Silas Blak, “Only When I’m High,” and “Blak And Blind,” there’s every reason to make sure this compilation is part of your music collection. (Written by Novocaine132.)

Here’s another take:

Like the four leaves on a lucky clover, four ’90s era Seattle compilations showcase the diverse hip-hop collectives in Washington State and with them your windfall of sounds and explorations: Do The Math, 14 Fathoms Deep, Walkman Rotation, and here, Classic Elements (co-released by Impact Entertainment and K Records). Back then getting the handful of cassettes and comps was a great thrill, and the Seattle area offered up the best. Classic Elements was released at a time when the main place to hear local hip-hop was on the street at Westlake Center or on KCMU’s Rap Attack. Like the title, the classics here are Ghetto Chilldren, Source Of Labor, Black Anger, and Tilson, all offering hits that transcend national radio rap and bring a better class of words and thoughts. Some groups won’t be found outside of this collection – Nobody, Jaleel, 5E, Ski, and Arson have songs that play smooth and timeless. Classic Elements is as relevant today as it was twenty-some years ago. Released on cassette, CD, and on an abbreviated LP – Find it, get it. Good! (This review was submitted by reader Brett Sandstrom.)

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206 Mix Tapes (Worldwide)

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Maxed Out Singles

Black Anger is an extension of the sibling production team Bedroom Produksionz, consisting of DJ Sayeed and emcee Kindu. With the addition of E-Real Asim, they become Black Anger. In my opinion, they occupy the top tier of ’90s Northwest acts along with Tribal Productions, Silent Lambs, and Source of Labor. This EP was put out by K records in ’97 and remains a high point in the recorded output of local acts – especially “206 Mix Tapes,” one of the dopest tracks in ’90s hip-hop – period. (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

Feel What I Feel

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Damn!... Da Demo

From 1994, Black Anger’s Damn!… Da Demo cassette is one of the rarest and storied objects in the history of Seattle hip-hop. Collectors discuss it with hushed tones: “So, have YOU heard Damn Da Demo?”

I once had a long debate with Larry Mizell Jr over whether this cassette was amongst the greatest record of all PNW hip-hop.

Hailing from Tacoma, Black Anger was active and acclaimed between 1994 and 2000. Their recorded output consists of a handful of spectacular 12” EPs and a later compilation of these singles called Maxed Out Singles.

This demo was their first project and it hits hard with a confidence that carries through all of their music. The lead track on this demo cassette is “nigga stick.” It’s a song of magical metamorphosis. The lyrics loop around “the stick” … first, as a symbol of oppression, then as one of self-defense, and finally as an expression of phallic pride. On the second side, the song is remixed with a chill lounge vibe that makes it both more familiar and completely unrecognizable.

The group were both talented rappers and accomplished producers (working under the name Bedroom Produksionz). You can hear these twin talents in the interplay between the beats and verses, one finding the gaps in the other like gears. This music is remarkable to listen to.

Apparently, only a handful of these demo cassettes were ever made. Olympia’s KAOS radio was in the process of throwing out this copy when musician Dawhud saved it from the trash bin. Thank you, sir, for preserving history. This is easily one of my favorite of all-time records.

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