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UniverSoul

E-Real Asim of legendary 206 crew Black Anger presented the world with these tracks via social networks, and they are absolutely amazing. Remember when hip-hop was dangerous? I remember the first time I ever heard Public Enemy, and the uncomfortable feeling that formed in the pit of my stomach. That certainty that these people were genuinely upset, upset at me, my family, and every other sheltered, privileged bovine/porcine like me. This was music and energy tensed upon a knife-edge. The sense of violence and righteous retribution was thick with vintage PE, and even as a young kid, I got that loud and clear. I didn’t feel safe listening to them. Well, E-Real’s tracks here bring that sense back like no one else I’ve heard. He holds nothing back, and it’s a real shame that there aren’t more emcees willing to go the full distance as he does. Fuck complacency. Brilliant lyricism brought to you from a freight train crashing through your ears, brain, defenses, and ego. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Amerika 911

Amerika 911 was a Northwest compilation that dropped in 2002 in response to the increasing hostilities directed towards the Middle East by the US. It’s a brave, gutsy little anti-war testament; as it examines the U.S. motives for engaging in war, and dares to point fingers in directions other than at the obvious motives (i.e. September 11th and Osama Bin Laden). Listen to Kylea’s verse on the first track, “A Call To Arms” for an apt summation of this record’s contents.

If it had been widely distributed it probably would have caused quite a stir among all those of us blinded by pain, bigotry, patriotism, and nationalism. But of course, it didn’t, since it was an unpopular view from an unpopular (at the time) corner of the hip-hop map–and that’s too bad in my opinion.

This compilation is dope on many levels, musically, lyrically, politically, and consciously. Bottom line, we’re all fam. Don’t let any of the powers that be tell you differently. Many notable acts contribute, including Khazm, The Flood, Yirim Seck, Castro, Specs One, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz (back when he was still calling himself Khalil Crisis), Kylea of Beyond Reality, Vitamin D, H-Bomb, Silas Blak, WD4D, E-Real Asim of Black Anger, Surge Spitable, and El Saba, who provides the defining moment with “God Bless Humanity.”

The album is an interesting mix of 2nd and 3rd wave Seattle hip-hop and captures the sound of the Town during that state of evolution. Executive produced by Khazm and G. Teodros, released in part through MADK. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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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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206 Mix Tapes (Worldwide)

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Maxed Out Singles

Black Anger is an extension of the sibling production team Bedroom Produksionz, consisting of DJ Sayeed and emcee Kindu. With the addition of E-Real Asim, they become Black Anger. In my opinion, they occupy the top tier of ’90s Northwest acts along with Tribal Productions, Silent Lambs, and Source of Labor. This EP was put out by K records in ’97 and remains a high point in the recorded output of local acts – especially “206 Mix Tapes,” one of the dopest tracks in ’90s hip-hop – period. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Feel What I Feel

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Damn!... Da Demo

From 1994, Black Anger’s Damn!… Da Demo cassette is one of the rarest and storied objects in the history of Seattle hip-hop. Collectors discuss it with hushed tones: “So, have YOU heard Damn Da Demo?”

I once had a long debate with Larry Mizell Jr over whether this cassette was amongst the greatest record of all PNW hip-hop.

Hailing from Tacoma, Black Anger was active and acclaimed between 1994 and 2000. Their recorded output consists of a handful of spectacular 12” EPs and a later compilation of these singles called Maxed Out Singles.

This demo was their first project and it hits hard with a confidence that carries through all of their music. The lead track on this demo cassette is “nigga stick.” It’s a song of magical metamorphosis. The lyrics loop around “the stick” … first, as a symbol of oppression, then as one of self-defense, and finally as an expression of phallic pride. On the second side, the song is remixed with a chill lounge vibe that makes it both more familiar and completely unrecognizable.

The group were both talented rappers and accomplished producers (working under the name Bedroom Produksionz). You can hear these twin talents in the interplay between the beats and verses, one finding the gaps in the other like gears. This music is remarkable to listen to.

Apparently, only a handful of these demo cassettes were ever made. Olympia’s KAOS radio was in the process of throwing out this copy when musician Dawhud saved it from the trash bin. Thank you, sir, for preserving history. This is easily one of my favorite of all-time records.

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