A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Reprogram

The Stranger picked Reprogram as one of the “6 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2005” saying:

Karim, Destro, and DJ Scene are Boom Bap Project, and like Grayskul they’re signed to the Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers label. Reprogram is Boom Bap Project’s first full-length CD, and it was designed not to disappoint. Reprogram is packed with contributions from the best in the local and national scene. It has production work from Seattle’s big three: Jake One, Vitamin D, and Bean One. Mr. Hill and Jumbo the Garbage Man (of Lifesavas) also supplied beats, and Gift of Gab (Blackalicious) and Rakaa Iriscience (Dilated Peoples) supplied raps. This record serves as a model for the kind of hip-hop professionalism and ambition that can open the wide world to our mid-sized city.

Boom Bap Project released a fantastic track on Reprogram that exactly compressed a city’s dominant economic mode into a pure code of soul. The track is called “Reprogram,” it was produced by the king of local beat designers, Vitamin D, and brings near-perfect expression to an age, a city that’s dominated by software programmers. (L.A.’s Styles of Beyond have done something similar with their city, by making hip-hop that sounds like big-budget movies.) The music on “Reprogram” is slightly melancholy, melodic, with sound effects that imagine the experience of being inside the World Wide Web, and raps that demand, by reprogramming, the transformation of software consumers into revolutionary subjects. “Reprogram” is the crowning achievement of this album.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Preludes... Diaries of A Mad

Khazm is one of Seattle’s biggest hip-hop movers and shakers. He’s a true hip-hop scholar and activist. He’s a performer both solo and with his crew Cyphalliance, as well as being in the super-group The Building Project with Dume 41, Specs One, and Khingz. His grasp reaches much further into hip-hop culture, as he is a co-founder of the MAD Krew production company, as well as being a co-host of Zulu Radio. Most impressively, he founded 206 Zulu, the Universal Zulu Nation branch here in Seattle. He was even awarded a community leadership award from Mayor Nickels! If this ain’t a career steeped in hip-hop, I don’t know what is.

This 12″ is a stark and heart-wrenching testament to Khazm’s own personal resolve and strength in the face of adversity. Recorded at the University of Washington Hospital by fellow MAD Krew affiliate and 206 hip-hop guru Gabriel Teodros, “Life Line” cuts to the quick. You can’t help but tune in and stay riveted until the end. “Rhyme Artist” isn’t as intense, perhaps thankfully, but it’s truly a dope track that is made even more dope by appearances from King Kamonzi and DJ Scene. Sadly, this 12″ only provides those two tracks in their vocal versions, but in addition, “Buddafly” and “Summertime”, presumably off Khazm’s full length, are included as well as the instrumental versions of the vocal tracks provided. This is a 206 hip-hop document that is as important and crucial as it is riveting and entertaining. Beats and lyrics by the powerhouse known as Khazm. 2005 ish, do not sleep. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Enter The Madness

Enter The Madness is an hour-long film from 2000 that provides an essential time capsule of turn-of-the-millennium hip-hop in the Pacific Northwest. It was directed by King Khazm and produced by DJ Scene, and includes flashes of late-’90s Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, too.

The film adheres to the four pillars of hip-hop, devoting a roughly equal amount of time to riveting turntable battles, incredible, lengthy breakdancing sequences, freestyles, rap battles, and walls painted with now long-gone graffiti. The film captures many moments that even at the time were fleeting… That today would be forgotten were it not for the existence of this film.

There are some curious editing choices here–like, say cutting back and forth between graffiti and a peeing elephant–or the addition of picture frame borders, fisheye lenses, and inverted film negative effects, but there are also dozens of blink-and-you’ll miss cameos from Seattle hip-hop greats like Silver Shadow D, Kutfather, Asun, Khingz, and others. Sit back with your favorite accompaniment and enjoy this visual spectacle.

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