A film about Northwest hip-hop from

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

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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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Holy Haters

C.A.V.É. was a hip-hop trio in Seattle comprised of three brothers, Ziyani, Dumisani, and Tendai, who were all musical prodigies. Their father Dumisani Maraire Sr. was an accomplished musician from Zimbabwe, and the family spent time in both the US and Africa growing up. This gave them a chance to immerse in a new culture as children, and helped to shape their identity, expanding their consciousness. In the year 2000 they released a rap album as C.A.V.É. and chose aliases, Ziyani went by “Baby Boy,” Dumisani Jr. was “Draze,” and Tendai chose “Boy Wonder.”

Holy Haters is a Christian rap tour de force album. Bible verses are frequently quoted, and messages of the Bible are woven through every song. “You ain’t hard to me, Jesus the only superstar to me, the Lord’s a part of me,” is a good example from “Say That Then,” which starts the album. One lyric that always makes me chuckle is, “Look up in the sky, in the birds, it’s a plane. Ay yo what’s God’s name? Captain save a soul, man,” from “Emerald City Communion,” because the MC uses the same inflection as the classic E-40 verse.

Album highlights include “The Saint In Me,” for its minimal, smooth jazz beat. “Would you still love me if my last name wasn’t Maraire?” ask C.A.V.É. rhetorically. The three Rymer’s Anonymous cuts, “Rhyme-oholic,” “Hip-Hop Fiend,” and “Battle Dependent,” are more freestyle-based, and show off the wordplay of the group. The track I connect with the most is “I Hope They Feel This,” which explores the group’s thoughts about various situations in their lives. I must admit, to an atheist like myself some of the songs on Holy Haters are too preachy, but “I Hope They Feel This” doesn’t seem that way, rather it shines for its musical craft and lyrical honesty.

Several years later, Tendai curated the excellent 2004 Evolution Of Hip Hop Seattle rap compilation, including two new C.A.V.É. songs, “Just Don’t Stop” featuring heavy hitters Kutfather and E-Dawg, and the careening “Yeah Yeah Baby!” According to Draze, Holy Haters was the group’s only album, and in the mid-2000s the brothers each went their separate ways to pursue new musical paths. Draze stuck with a more traditional show-and-prove rap style for his very successful solo career, while Tendai took it to the fourth dimension and evolved hip-hop into something entirely new with his group Shabazz Palaces. Written by Novocaine132

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