A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Homebass

The cover of Homebass features an in-motion collage of trees and records evoking the chaotic fury of our times. Do yourself a favor and slide on this six-song, 21-minute project the way you might a pair of immaculately tailored pajamas. Get comfortable and settle in.

Opening cut “OMG!!!!!!!” questions how one reconciles their dreams with reality while nodding to those small pleasures that make the struggle worth it. On a day like today, when the world recoils from George Floyd’s murder, Cypher asks “Do you play it safe?”

Many songs question our individual actions against the status quo while providing an invitation to get to know Greg Scott Cypher better. “They don’t understand me,” he says on “WOO WOO.” As a rhymer, Cypher is a fast-moving dribbler. Before you know it, he’s dunked another lyrical basket.

The album’s centerpiece is “Mi Casa” where, against a whirlwind of background voices and clamor, Greg speaks directly to you with an arresting intimacy in the age of social distancing. Producer Def Dee grounds every track with a deep sense of place using sublime studio skills. You’re there. In the room. As a loping Rube Goldberg beat unfolds on “Mi Casa,” as the wavering rumble of piano interrupts “NuthinToSay” (featuring KFG compadre Mr. Hentvii), and in the yard, banging beats on boards with the gang on “DAY UNO’s.” This cut pulls the slick Rik Rude outta retirement for a feature that Cypher says is an album highlight. It is.

Auto-tuned Greg on “Space” is at first unexpectedly jarring but proves to be yet another of this album’s many delights. Homebass is a solo debut, a clear statement in response to our uncertain times, a chance to hear a familiar voice anew, and a clear contender for album of the year 2020.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

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.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

Symmetry

The 2010 album Gravity from Def Dee & LA is considered by many to be one of the greatest-ever records in Seattle hip-hop. Ten years later, we’re treated to a sequel of sorts. Symmetry reunites these two talented collaborators. The Biggest Podcast calls them “the dynamic duo.” This too-short EP features LA’s speed bag bars against a backdrop of the boundary-pushing boom-bap that Def Dee is known for. Songs hit the ground running and end equally abruptly. There’s conciseness, conviction, and immediacy that easily sets this record above the rest.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Gab The Most High

This artist needs no intro. I’m assuming y’all already big fans of the self-proclaimed “queen of Seattle,” Gifted Gab. Throughout the year I’ve had love affairs with other records, but it’s Gab The Most High, released in May, that I’ve consistently returned to again and again. Few records have felt so confident, demonstrating such complete command of instruments, writing, rapping, vocal sampling, and on. Gab is a magpie, collecting threads from multiple genres: funk, R&B, and reggae; and then layering in new textures, including showing off a soulful singing voice. The album release party featured a full Motown-style backing band.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Gab The Most High Swishahouse Remix

I’ll confess that I wasn’t super hip to the whole Screwed and Chopped scene before Gifted Gab started hyping this record and the unique remixing style of DJ Michael “5000” Watts. Starting with Gab’s startlingly great release Gab The Most High, Watts slows down every track by 1/3, and then introduces skips and repeats and scratches. Anyone who knows me already knows how much I love the source material, and here, slowing the music down illuminates the tiny musical details, and the repeats put the focus on the nuances of Gab’s lyrics and wordplay. Listening to these remixes makes me love the original album even more. (And this isn’t just a few tracks—Watts remixed the whole damn album.) This Swishahouse remix confirms Gab’s right to serve as Queen of Seattle. Please give her the Royal Warrant pronto.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

Concrete Waves

A key moment in Seattle hip-hop happened this summer in the shadow of Capitol Hill Block Party—at the rogue Squadfest event happening next door at Vermillion: Kung Foo Grip’s Greg Cypher mounted the hood of a police car and jumped and rapped some much-needed anthems to an adoring crowd.

The next day, KFG themselves host a sellout rooftop event at 95 Slide, so packed beyond capacity that most of us stood down below on the street, listening the way Londoners did on that fateful day when The Beatles played building-top.

Concrete Waves lives up to the promise of this spectacular summer. Production from SCLY (aka Def Dee) feels like cruising down Broadway in a bouncing lowrider. The beat on the first track, “Low End/96 Shit,” is so undeniably, addictively fresh that you’ll find yourself replaying this one song over and over again before devouring the rest.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

D-1000

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!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Nine Six Webisode #1

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!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Déjà Vu

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!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Möstly Crëw

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!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

33 and a Third

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2013,” saying that:

I have no insight into producer Def Dee’s Gmail inbox, but I would hazard a guess that it’s full of earnest requests for beats from rappers who probably have no business rhyming over them. Def is like that uber-talented sketch artist you see posted up on a sidewalk bench, drawing hyper-real pictures of what he sees in front of him. Except Def makes hip-hop sketches that bring to mind the producers that built the very foundation of boom-bap: Pete Rock, DJ Premier, J Dilla — you know, guys you’ve probably heard once or twice before.

Mello Music Group promptly added him to their storehouse of talented beatmakers last year. 33 and a Third is his first compilation for MMG and the guest list includes a corps of Seattle rap’s best (Mic Phenom, La, Grynch, OCnotes, Chev, Zar) in addition to a grip of national underground talent (yU, Oddisee, Black Milk, etc.). Def is that type of producer whose interludes you actually look forward to, the kind where you can practically smell the hip hop elements cooking in his kitchen. Chopped up samples and scratched records: There will never be a more satisfying combo.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Basementality

The Stranger picked Basementality as one of the “Top 5 Albums of 2013,” saying that:

Almost exactly one year ago, Wizdumb, a local producer, dropped a seriously wonderful collection of beats and raps called Basementality. If there was a hip-hop university, and this album was a Ph.D. dissertation on the styles, methods, and aesthetics of early- to mid-’90s hip-hop production, and I was on the committee for this dissertation, I would grant Wizdumb a doctorate for three reasons: One, he displays a deep understanding of the beauty of ’90s hip-hop; two, he does not sound like he is imitating that form of music but instead contributing to its program; and three, he is both an excellent instrumentalist and a beat producer for rappers.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

Gravity

Last night at Uppercuts, I got into an in-depth conversation with Def Dee about his record Gravity, released eight years ago in collaboration with LA (Language Arts). There are many cats in this town, when pressed, who will say this is one of the greatest classics Seattle has ever produced. Me, I’ve been a longtime fan of the stories rapped by this emcee and his pointed criticisms of how the town has changed… Back when Gravity was released in 2010, The Stranger‘s Larry Mizell Jr. described LA as “one of the strongest MCs in the 206 and more people should know this… With a clear ear for classic flows and sharp rhymes… He throws zero dirt on his own rep.” About producer Def Dee he said: “Vinyl-cracklin’ mid-90s-style boom-bap… Insomniac vibes, but sloppy emulation it is not. The beats have some of the album’s best moments.” Something I learned last night that has me spinning Gravity with fresh ears today was the discovery that this music was all recorded live in the studio: Def Dee on the MPC and LA freestylin’ overtop. If either of them f-ed it, they wound the tape back and started over. How many records are still made this way today? In a post from earlier this year, Respect My Region described Gravity as “an album of pure, raw hip-hop.” What do you say?

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!