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Reprogram

The Stranger picked Reprogram as one of the “6 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2005” saying:

Karim, Destro, and DJ Scene are Boom Bap Project, and like Grayskul they’re signed to the Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers label. Reprogram is Boom Bap Project’s first full-length CD, and it was designed not to disappoint. Reprogram is packed with contributions from the best in the local and national scene. It has production work from Seattle’s big three: Jake One, Vitamin D, and Bean One. Mr. Hill and Jumbo the Garbage Man (of Lifesavas) also supplied beats, and Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Rakaa Iriscience (Dilated Peoples) supplied raps. This record serves as a model for the kind of hip-hop professionalism and ambition that can open the wide world to our mid-sized city.

Boom Bap Project released a fantastic track on Reprogram that exactly compressed a city’s dominant economic mode into a pure code of soul. The track is called “Reprogram,” it was produced by the king of local beat designers, Vitamin D, and brings near-perfect expression to an age, a city that’s dominated by software programmers. (L.A.’s Styles of Beyond have done something similar with their city, by making hip-hop that sounds like big-budget movies.) The music on “Reprogram” is slightly melancholy, melodic, with sound effects that imagine the experience of being inside the World Wide Web, and raps that demand, by reprogramming, the transformation of software consumers into revolutionary subjects. “Reprogram” is the crowning achievement of this album.

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Welcome to Seattle Mixtape

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Reigncraft, Volume 5: Process of Progress

In 2003 and 2004, executive producer KNDNM assembled and released four Seattle rap compilations under the title Reigncraft. In 2005, the fifth volume in the series stepped up to the plate. RC5: Process Of Progress shows that there was no shortage of hungry hip-hop fiends who wanted exposure. “Real Life” by Grynch is clever, as producer Referenz uses the (hot at the time but now quite vintage) sped-up soul sample technique to bring emotion into his chorus. “You don’t gotta be in jail to be doing some time,” raps Grynch, meditating on the power of a positive or negative attitude to change our outcomes.

Two tracks on Process Of Progress are produced by Northwest stalwart Bean One. “They See Me” by Framework is outstanding, listen for the Ofra Haza accoutrements. The song appeared on Frame’s terrific 2005 album Hello World. On “They See Me,” he employs concise, descriptive phrases for his verses, and even tosses in references to other rap songs. “Girl was in the cut, backing it up to Joey Crack’s Lean hit,” and also, “baby shaking it fast like I was Mystikal.” The other Bean cut is “Make A Hit,” by Damian Black who effortlessly distributes the smoothest rhymes ever, like a poker dealer whipping cards around the table. “Well, go ahead and say I’m cocky, but nothing you say will ever stop me, nothing you say will ever top me, nothing you do will ever drop me, just sit back go ahead and watch me, take some notes go ahead and copy.”

For explicit sex talk, look to “Don’t Front” by Twin G. I must admit that the chorus of Aquino’s “Left Coastin” gets me every time. “We pop shots cause we got to, I guess that makes us a pop crew,” with cutting and scratching to enhance the effect. I would have leaned in and titled the song “Pop Crew.” The Block Burners drop a serious heater titled “Big Bank.” At first the song seems overly basic, but different elements weave in and out while the MCs rip the mic. By the end of “Big Bank” you just want to rewind and listen again. Five volumes is a huge accomplishment for Reigncraft, and they weren’t even done yet. Written by Novocaine132

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Evolution of Hip-Hop

In 2004, Seattle’s hip-hop scene was in transition. Enter Tendai Maraire of the group C.A.V.É. which had recorded their album Holy Haters a few years prior in 2000. Tendai, a virtuoso musician who would later join with Ishmael Butler to create Shabazz Palaces, looked around Seattle, pulled fifteen tracks from fifteen different DJs and MCs, and combined them into this amazing compilation.

Evolution Of Hip Hop is an unfiltered look at Seattle’s diverse hip-hop community in the mid-2000s, and the music is top-notch. Ghetto Chilldren’s track “Young Tender” shows how good Vitamin and B-Self are at breaking words down to their syllables and rearranging them into a roller coaster of inflection. “Peaches and Cream” by Merm and Mal snaps the funk so hard that it was also included on the Town Biz mixtape six years later. In a nod to hip hop DJ culture, there are DJ-only tracks by Funk Daddy, Topspin, and DV One, three of Seattle’s veteran party and club entertainers.

Evolution Of Hip Hop has so many great artists that it’s hard to believe. With names like Candidt, E-Dawg, Jace and Blak, Boom Bap Project, Skuntdunanna, and many others, there is something for every possible listener. “Yeah Yeah Baby” by C.A.V.É. is one of the most blazing tracks on the whole project, careening like a car chase loaded with drama.

When compilations are at their best, they can capture a moment in time like a Polaroid. Evolution Of Hip Hop allows you to see through the camera from the point of view of a young Tendai Maraire. Push the button! (Written by Novocaine132.)

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Circumstance Dictates

Boom Bap Project put out their first single “The Trade” b/w “Writer’s Guild” in the year 2000. These two tracks introduced Boom Bap Project, Nightclubber Lang and Destro, as a rough and tumble duo of rappers who were all about the traditional 1980s hip-hop style of hard beats and braggadocious lyrics. By 2001, the group finished an EP called Circumstance Dictates. According to Wikipedia, after this EP was released, DJ Tré left the group and was replaced with DJ Scene.

Circumstance Dictates contains an intro beat, the two songs from their debut single, and six new tracks. Jake One handles most of the production here, and does an admirable job of capturing the golden-era rap aesthetic. “All Stars” features Tacoma group Black Anger, and has a groovy descending bassline carrying the beat. Hieroglyphics crew member Pep Love guests on “Net Worth.” The woebegone sounding “All I Have Left” gets a visit from fellow Oldominion posse members JFK, Snafu and Toni Hill. Breezy track “Who’s That?” produced by Nightclubber and Vitamin D floats by like a cloud on a warm day.

“Odds On Favorite” never really comes together for me, the yawning strings don’t enhance the drums but rather distract from them, and L*Roneus sounds like he’s cosplaying Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. “Take It To The Stage” begins with, “I give a f*** who we offend up in this motherf***er right about now,” and then pummels the listener with overt anti-gay messages. It may have been songs like this that caused Macklemore to drop his ode to acceptance and tolerance, “Same Love” in 2012. Written by Novocaine132

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The Trade

Boom Bap Project began with two rappers, Karim “Nightclubber Lang” Panni, and Damian “Destro” Oramas who were connected to the sprawling Oldominion crew. According to Destro in a 2021 KEXP interview, Jon “Wordsayer” Moore had booked the duo for a performance at the Sit & Spin, and he asked the two what they wanted to be called on the flyer. Lang and Destro told Wordsayer that they didn’t have a name yet, but they were working on a ‘boom bap’ type of project, and Wordsayer said, “well, that’s what I’m gonna call you.” The rest was history.

These hungry MCs had lyrics, but rap needs a beat. Who do you go to in the year 2000 in Seattle? You go to one of the best, in this case Jake One, who produced two tracks for the duo, “The Trade,” and “Writer’s Guild.” And not only did they have Jake on the beat, but 206 hip-hop legend Vitamin D also does cuts and scratches on both songs. What more could you ask for?

A-side “The Trade” is about showing skills. “Known for batterin, your saccharin-induced rhyme pattern, that caters to seduced minds splatterin,” goes one line. The chorus on “The Trade” features choice “boom bap” samples from KRS One and Q-Tip. Side B is “Writer’s Guild,” and it’s a natural head-nodder with catchy, staccato production. The verses on “Writer’s Guild” contain lots of wordplay and clever rhymes, for instance, “My beats serenade streets for all of my peeps who hate the police.”

The group positioned themselves as educated and conscious rappers, but they were awfully comfortable using homophobic slurs on “The Trade,” which creates dissonance in the listening experience. This was the first single for the group and also for their label Stuck Records, and a movement quickly coalesced around Boom Bap Project, pushing them closer to the top of the Seattle hip-hop scene. Written by Novocaine132

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