A film about Northwest hip-hop from

A Long Walk

Chong The Nomad’s latest fresh and ambitious mind-bending EP dropped in August of this year. On a comment thread, someone really nailed the vibe, describing how “A Long Walk contains the endearing quirks and whimsy we’d expect, but with a new, palpable sense of confidence that gives the songs a sort of weirdo swagger.” Yes, there are guest features from heavy-hitters Benjamin Gibbard and Ben Zaidi. But it’s the other new songs, like opener “Go Away” … The ones that rely on her unique mix of sampling and distorted vocals to explore the most interesting edges… Songs that take you to sonic and emotional places you barely thought possible. Listening to this EP, we’re reminded of a young Sir Mix-A-Lot, circa 1985, being told that music made with computers can’t possibly be considered hip-hop, and him laughing all the way into the future. Again this year, Chong The Nomad scouts the terrain ahead for all of us who are following behind.

Here’s another take:

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked A Long Walk as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2020, saying:

The idiosyncratic producer known for boiling quirky sounds into wildly original electronic music takes a sizable leap forward on her latest EP. Its whizzing and whirring compositions are more the work of a full-fledged songwriter than beatmaker, thanks in part to increased confidence in her vocals, and cameos from Seattle staples Hollis Wong-Wear, Ben Zaidi, and famous fan-pal Ben Gibbard.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

NEWCOMER

This 82-minute feature film is an intimate introduction to Seattle’s vibrant hip-hop underground. It was assembled from hundreds of tiny performance clips—shot for Instagram—into a single, continuous concert mosaic, and stars 93 of the top hip-hop artists from The Town.

Here’s how KEXP describes it in their review: “NEWCOMER stretches the idea of the concert film to an artistic extreme: Sub-minute snippets artfully arranged to resemble a field recording of Seattle’s rap scene, the pieces fractured and pieced back together in a truly engrossing way. The narrative flows through venues like Barboza, Cha Cha Lounge, Vermillion, Lo-Fi, the Showbox, the Crocodile, and dozens more. It’s Khris P pouring Rainier into a Solo cup while he raps; bodies packed into regional landmark ETC Tacoma; SassyBlack improvising a song urging concertgoers to buy her merch; the delightfully awkward dance moves of white people in KEXP’s Gathering Space; Chong the Nomad beatboxing and playing harmonica simultaneously; Bruce Leroy bullying a beat next to the clothing racks at All-Star Vintage; Specswizard rhyming about his first time performing in front of a crowd while standing before The Dark Crystal playing on a projection screen. The film is about the moments we experience—as lovers of live performance—just as much as the performances themselves.”

NEWCOMER was directed by Gary Campbell and was an official selection at the 2020 New York Hip-Hop Film Festival and the 2020 Golden Sneakers International Hip-Hop Film Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Throughout November 2020, the film screened for four weeks on the Northwest Film Forum theatrical screening site in honor of Hip-Hop History Month.

You can watch the full movie below.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Residency Presents: The Town

In the early weeks of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, when the music scene was knocked sideways by the cancellation of live concerts and “stay-at-home” orders came into effect, Macklemore’s The Residency and Crane City Music organized an hourlong cross-generational Zoom conversation between some of the biggest-ever hip-hop artists from Seattle’s past and present. The event was hosted by Town legend Jace.

Each of the participants was invited to offer up their individual perspectives about the past, present, and future of Northwest hip-hop, as well as talk about how the pandemic was personally affecting them and their music. At one point, Sir Mix-A-Lot says he hopes Seattle’s up-and-comers will “get on my shoulders and jump!”

The event was streamed live on April 18, 2020.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Bobby Ro$$

Bobby Ro$$ is a vibe-heavy hustle through the landscape of art, blackness, and self-love. On it, Porter inhabits a trap music avatar of the much-loved PBS painter and uses snippets of interviews with cultural luminaries such as Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Maya Angelou as a narrative lattice to paint himself into the canon of black art. NPR calls him “A skilled rapper and a multimedia threat,” while Respect My Region says that “Perry Porter paints a masterpiece with his latest album.”

Here’s another take:

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Bobby Ro$$ as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2019, saying:

Since the breakup of his rowdy mosh-rap group Sleep Steady, Perry Porter has established himself as one of Seattle-Tacoma’s unique talents through infectiously fun hybrid rap/live art shows. The charismatic rapper/painter (or is it painter/rapper?) looks and sounds increasingly comfortable grooving in his own watercolored lane on Bobby Ro$$, which arrived this summer with a track-by-track color wheel guide to match the variegated album’s many moods. The man can still annihilate a trap beat with the best of ’em (see: breathless five-alarm banger “Sink or Swim”) while alternately cooling down with beatific cuts like the closing “Watercolor,” which samples artist Kerry James Marshall discussing the dearth of “self-satisfied” Black people depicted through art. Porter, who often paints vibrant, bright-colored portraits of Black women, is refocusing the narrative while doing equally beautiful things with 808s and acrylics.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Town Love Hip-Hop Awards

At the start of January 2019, Crane City Music invited Seattle’s hip-hop community to pick their favorite WA state hip-hop records from the past year in a public vote. A total of 267 records were in contention for the top prize. A total of 5,498 votes were cast. Parisalexa’s Bloom took home the top prize, narrowly beating out Kung Foo Grip’s 2KFG and Travis Thompson’s YOUGOOD?

The top 20 winners were revealed via an elaborate laser show countdown event held in February at the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome in Seattle. The laser show itself was choreographed by Joseph Reid and Gary Campbell. The event opened with a playlist of ’90s Seattle hip-hop and a short tribute to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s legacy and the 30th anniversary of his debut, SWASS.

A 14-minute film was made by Taylor Hart that captures highlights from the night.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

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Love Memo / S'WOMEN

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

Do you know something about the history of this record? Do you have a favorite lyric or a favorite memory? Send us an email on why this is one of the great hip-hop albums from the Northwest. Thanks!

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love memo

Chong The Nomad was one of the breakout stars from Capitol Hill Block Party this past summer. The Stranger reviewed her set, describing her techniques of live-sampling ukulele and beat-box harmonica, and also the “heavy funk beats, marbles-scrambling bass frequencies, and torqued distortion… Holy shit.” NYC’s Tom Tom Magazine suggests that “multi-instrumentalist and producer Chong the Nomad is shaping the future of dance music.”

Here’s another take:

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked love memo as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2018, saying:

One of Seattle music’s biggest breaths of fresh air in 2018 came from this promising young beatmaker who hip-checked her way into the dude-dominated electronic scene with her coolly minimal love memo EP, which got a vinyl release this fall on Crane City Music. The real-life Alda Agustiano’s strain of hip-hop-informed dance music weaves eerie sounds through rippling sub-bass lines, with occasional tempo shifts keeping listeners on their toes during short-burst tracks. From the tasteful dubstep-y lurch of “for tonight” to the rapturous “chest pains,” the up-and-coming producer proves a master of subtle moods, gently shaking things up the second you’re too comfortable.

Similarly, The Stranger selected love memo as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2018,” saying that:

Over the last five years, Seattle’s become a hotbed of queer, non-male hip-hop, and relative newcomer Chong the Nomad (aka Alda Agustiano) stands as one of the scene’s potential superstars. However, her vinyl debut, love memo, isn’t strictly hip-hop, but rather a hybrid of that genre, neo-R&B, and edgy EDM. Chong the Nomad’s productions display a rare combo of emotive melodies and weird atmospheres while maintaining an off-kilter funkiness. In a feature I wrote about Agustiano, I described the seven tracks here as “more low-lit joints for intimate encounters than raucous club bangers,” but I sense that she could deviate from this steez and surprise all with her next release. I can’t wait to see where Chong the Nomad goes next.

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