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#GUAPSEASON

Ready to go viral, #GUAPSEASON is a hashtag-ready 2017 full-length from SneakGuapo featuring 12 trap-heavy tracks that explore our personal, intimate desires for power, our paranoia and our posturing for position. I’ve recently taken up running and this record has been my go-to all week. I get Sneak’s fights with insecurity and depression and his sense of striving, of pushing through, of putting a smile on your confidence even when it feels fake. Songs like “Hot Boy” and “Goals” come on just as I’m facing a big hill and I want to turn around and go home and hang up my shoes, and they help me to push through to the next hill. (And there are so many physical, mental and emotional hills to overcome in this city…) The production from tblunty on “Live” is sublime and full of surprises, as are the guest verses courtesy of Cam The Mac, Lil Dre, Badluq James and others.

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The Alhambra Collabs

The Alhambra Collabs is a 2016 compilation mixtape from Jarv Dee and DJ Rocryte, exclusively streaming on SoundCloud. It collects together a bunch of Jarv’s appearances on other people’s tracks, demonstrating both his dominance on the scene and acting as a who’s who of Seattle hip hop (Featuring Kung Foo Grip, Nacho Picasso, The Physics, Gifted Gab, Katie Kate and many more) Here, Jarv flies in with the superhero verse and is often accompanied by his loyal sidekick, Mary Jane. Rocryte uses his terrific turntablist chops to scratch these tracks into one continuous 45-minute mix. Head over to SoundCloud to hear the magic for yourself.

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American Boy

Brand new from Mackned, American Boy, is the latest local musical response to this year’s election spectacle. Starting with a Trump sample, here are eight meditations on “Making America Great Again.” Switching between macho posturing and sweetly misunderstood, there’s a broad range of styles on display, and Mackned excels at them all. This is his third release in 2016, after Celebrity Etiquette and Born Rich, the latter of which hasn’t left my car stereo.

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Chef Killa

Chef Killa is a 2015 mixtape from Cam The Mac. The blood spatter on the cover is accurate: These are 15 tracks of Machiavellian murder, loyalty, women, and rubber bands. But they eschew the loud, aggressive approach you might expect: songs like “Get some $” and “Rollin’ Again” are gangsta rap at half speed, full of understated, laid-back menace, quiet drums, and vocal harmonies, piano flourishes, and gentle high hat taps. “0-100 Freestyle” shows off Cam’s rap game, and is one of the many standout songs on this release, especially halfway through when the beats drop away into the sublime, slow soundscape. This is late-night, chill-out, homicide rap; calm, certain in its posturing.

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Satellites, Swishers and Spaceships

One of my favorite records from 2015: Go buy yourself a copy of Jarv Dee‘s deeply funny and intensely relevant album Satellites, Swishers and Spaceships. It playfully transfixes right from the operatic overtones of “Amen” to the soulful stylings of “Mary I’m in Love,” with Jarv covering this spectrum with his confident rat-tat-tat flow. I had the honor of hanging with this cat in Alaska–he deserves all your many “text-mail” accolades.

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FNDMNTLS

FNDMNTLS is a 2014 mixtape from vowel-adverse Porter Ray. This record is filled with studies–of stasis, and of the crystallization of memory. Take for example “Ruthie Dean” a 5 1/2 minute song of rambling recollection, while in the background the same piano loops over and over again. Porter’s stream of consciousness storytelling repeats reoccurring motifs across multiple songs: dice, his absent brother, shorty, the District, after parties, countless blunts smoked and bottles raised in honor of some lost time before, as Cam The Mac intones throughout “Blackcherry,” sex, drugs and money dominated his days. Or, as Porter himself says wistfully on “Meditate,” “I wonder where this rap shit is taking me.” This record was released around the time he signed with Sub Pop. Two years on, his first official SP release, Watercolor is finally, imminently due, and we’re about to find out where.

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