A film about Northwest hip-hop from

50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide

50 Next: Seattle Hip-Hop Worldwide drops you into a literal roundtable conversation between Town legends old and young. James Croone of The Emerald Street Boys tells the story of discovering how “poetry on top of music” could carry a message. Spyc-E shares how she first learned to write rap verses, at age 11, and is kindly teased by the group into performing her first-ever childhood rhymes. Later, Khingz thanks Vitamin D for mentoring him early in his career, and for how it helped him achieve his own success. This half-hour documentary captures several charming, rambling discussions about the long history of Northwest rap. The whole thing is a delight.

Eazeman from ’90s group L.S.R. reflects on how major-label rejection shaped the scene early, saying “If you don’t want to show us for who we really are, then we don’t need you. We’re going to make our own party.” Rapper Candidit adds, “Don’t come if you’re not prepared.”

The group passionately rails against the evils of what they describe as “capitalist hip-hop,” which divides communities and makes local artists into commodities to be bought and sold. There’s a need today for more love and mutual respect and not so much focus on money and fame and numbers. Instead, they explain how everyone making art in the Northwest has a responsibility to fight back against the mainstream, “intended to pacify society” adds CPS da Scientist. Rapper DICE encourages artists to follow their imagination, saying “who cares what is new and cool now. Figure out what it’s going to be cool next, and then be the first to do it.”

50 Next was released as part of a larger online interactive experience by Aaron Walker-Loud and Avi Loud, “a multi-media time capsule of what was, what is, and what’s next…” The whole project is still online and is viewable here.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from


Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2012,” saying that:

Sportn’ Life Records co-founder and OG in the Central District rap game Fleeta Partee (real name, no gimmicks) enlisted the two best area producers for the majority of Lifemuzik, an 8-song EP full of hard-worn street knowledge. Vitamin D lends board work for over half the tracks, his keyboards and drums on “Inception” and “Part of the Game” sounding bigger and deffer than everyone else’s, except for maybe Jake One’s whose “Apathy (No Love)” captures a blues feeling in boom-bap form. As far as the well-traveled Fleeta Partee goes, his free-wheeling, old-school flow rejuvenates rap purists’ earholes the way a pair of fresh laces lends new life to sneakers. Are you feeling bogged down by all the vapid swag excursions through chattering high-hats and cheap synth? Lifemuzik is the remedy.

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You Need A Thug / We Are

Seattle’s Sportn’ Life Records publicly launched in 2002 with this historic twelve-inch release. Trivia fact, the undulating Sportn’ Life logo was designed by none other than Bean One. This is a monster record! The two songs are top notch, which is no surprise because both beats here come courtesy of Seattle legend Vitamin D.

Side A is “We Are” by Last Men Standin. The group consisted of two rappers, Fleeta Partee, and Jamal “Hectik” Henderson. “From a G to a key, it’s about to get to cracking as soon as I count to three,” begins this hot track. Hectik is a little more laid back in his delivery, while Fleeta’s voice is higher and his lines are served with a little more heat. The two MCs complement each other well, seamlessly combining two different vibes. Unfortunately this was the only single released by Last Men Standin, but fans can still follow Hectik and Fleeta in their solo work.

“You Need A Thug,” by Danger is the B-side. Under the song title, his alternate name “D.black” is printed in parentheses. D Black’s dad is Captain Crunch from Emerald Street Boys, one of the first rap groups in Seattle. “You Need A Thug” is basic yet effective, and even at a very young age, D Black had an uncanny grasp of how to put a catchy verse together. He seems like he is just hanging out with you in a car or on the couch, but the wordplay and delivery is all professional stagecraft.

The year after this single, the label dropped The Sport-N-Life Compilation Vol 1 with classic tracks from stars like Fatal Lucciauno, Silent Lambs, Candidt, Narcotik, and many others. Both members of Last Men Standin had cuts on the 2003 compilation, Hectik gave us “Haters,” and Partee dropped “Sincerely Yours.” In the years that followed, Sportn’ Life became one of the most successful Seattle rap record labels ever, truly a force to be reckoned with. Written by Novocaine132

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