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

Hear to Heal

On the song “Fly By,” featured lyricist Moka Only raps, “If vinyl could talk, it would probably say, what the fuck? Like why you put me through all the scratching and chops?” We throw around terms like “old school” whenever there are wax and jazz samples and turntable scratching. While those elements are all present here in abundance, there’s nothing old about Hear to Heal, a 2016 release from Ear Dr.Umz The Metrognome. I have OCnotes to thank for turning me on to this record, a 16-track prescription, where The Doctor collaborates with contemporary local cats to derive novel new approaches to boom-bap. This is a who’s who of the Seattle underground, featuring verses and beats from Able FaderSpecswizardSilas BlakMyka 9 and others. A standout track for me is “Whole ‘nother Level” with some special cool flows courtesy of Dex Amora and Zuke Saga, but really this whole record is solid from end-to-end, and a great response to “vinyl” on why all the scratching and chops.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

#TEN

Shout out to DJ Zeta and his ongoing series of All City Chop mixtapes. Pictured here is his latest, #TEN, a sampler of the best the local hip hop scene has to offer, featuring tracks from DoNormaal, Raz Simone, Dex Amora, Nacho Picasso, WIZDUMB and many more. He’s an awesome champion of Seattle hip-hop, has his fingers on the pulse, and has introduced me to more than a few amazing local musicians who were not yet on my radar. Get this sampler free on Bandcamp. Alternately, go see Zeta perform live at Vermillion every third Friday as part of his ongoing “Wild Style” residency.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Aura EP

There’re folks who rap on the beat, and some who rap offbeat, and then there are souls like Dex Amora who cartwheel whatever damn way they please like it’s the most natural thing in the world. A while back I was talking with some local hip-hop luminaries who referenced Dex as a cat to watch out for–and they are on point. The Aura EP pictured here is one of two short, and superb, records he released in 2014. Beautiful vibes, funky verses, and punctuated throughout with comedy dialogue samples that recall classic rap skits. Go get this one on Bandcamp. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by J’Von. Also, I’m just going to put it out there into the universe: I’d love to hear a rap battle/collaboration between Dex Amora and Dave B. How do we make this happen?

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

HerbsPenSoul

HerbPenSoul is an upbeat 2014 EP from Dex Amora. This was his debut, emerging into the world fully formed, with careful, precise vintage vinyl chop-ups and deft verses and wordplay. But what always strikes me when I spin this EP is its intimacy, as if you’re hanging with Dex on the couch, like old friends catching up, watching “Good Times,” feeling nostalgic about youth: “Pass the trees around and we’re all friends, presto,” as he raps on “Who I Be.” Flute samples are pretty rare, so it’s great to hear them at the end of “AimHigh,” a track also featuring Falon Sierra. After a too-long minute of laying low, he recently released some new tunes on SoundCloud, with the promise of more to come. Looking forward to hearing more from this cat.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

Left

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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