A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Blessed 2 Mic Check

Blessed 2 Mic Check, the wax debut from Nomad Da Nomadic, is a quintessential slab of NW wax, and in many ways typified the Seattle area hip-hop scene in the late nineties. What that means is basically it was hella dope and you missed it. With production by Mr. Supreme on the title cut, and DJ Sayeed and DJ Swift on the two B-sides, this record is sonically tight – especially Sayeed’s track “Da Movement,” which happens to feature Sayeed’s group Black Anger. “Shantae,” Swift’s slower number, comes with its own bonus, as it’s blessed by local heroine Felicia Loud on the hook. Nomad has no problems holding his own amid all this greatness, and in fact, his direct and gritty flow is surprisingly complimentary to the bombastic delivery of Black Anger and Felicia’s gorgeous crooning. Likewise, the beats fit Nomad’s style perfectly, especially Swift’s dark and sedated track, with its murky organ and vibe loops. From here, Nomad went on to release a couple 12″s in 2000 and 2001, as well as a full-length in 2001. His entire output is strong and worth tracking down. (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

Watch Your Words

I’ve been hearing that DJ Shadow is dropping a new record here pretty soon, so I thought I’d post up this 12″, which includes the infamous beef track aimed at Shadow from Seattle’s Samson & Swift. Apparently, Samson took some offense at Shadow’s filler track on Endtroducing “Why hip-hop Sucks In ’96” insinuating that Shadow didn’t know shit about hip-hop and had no right to critique the culture. Actually, the song’s not just aimed at Shadow, but at all those who hated on 206 hip-hop for not sounding like Cali, and those in the game that aren’t “real” – aka players, gangsters, and (really, unfortunately) underground heads (which he portrays as “god damn tree huggers with backpacks”)… Yeah, pretty much dissing his entire fan base right there.

Whatever the reason, Samson & Swift take them all to task with skill. Samson’s robust flow is instantly recognizable from his 22nd Precinct days on the old Seattle comps, and his producer Swift crafts a smooth, mellow Northwest vibe. The B-side, “Help” has that classic Conception sound despite the fact that it’s Swift in the producer’s chair rather than Jake One or Supreme. I actually find myself listening to this song more than “Watch Your Words”, even with the notoriety surrounding the latter.

Back in 1998, I was patiently waiting for the Northwest to get their time in the limelight. Now more than a decade later that time has arrived, but sadly I hear that Samson has retired from the mic. And that is truly a shame. Let’s hope that Shadow’s new release will raise his hackles up enough to step back up where he’d be more than welcome. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Brothers of The Same Mind

Early ’90s Seattle hip-hop group Brothers Of The Same Mind reached such heights that NYC-based The Source magazine featured them in their October 1990 issue, as the “Unsigned Hype” group for that month, declaring them to be the next big thing in rap.

The Source shouted out the group’s “excellent street-wise production, unlike anything we’ve heard from the Emerald City,” while adding that “the Brothers can hang with many popular NYC rappers at their best.”

In 1991, on the strength of local and national praise, the group released their acclaimed debut, a seven-song, self-titled cassette. This album is a Northwest classic, full of hometown pride: The cover photo was shot in the Central District at East Portal Viewpoint, and the music video for their hit single, “Cool Drink,” was filmed at Seattle’s Gas Works Park. The video found regular rotation on BET, and the Brothers appeared in The Source a second time later that year.

Here’s a record that is insistent and relentless, comforting the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. It was delivered straight to the streets of Seattle, by five local legends—MC Class, DJ Swift, B-Max (aka Nerdy B!), Mellow Touch, and Sin-Q. This is that real, real Seattle rap.

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