A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2017
Toward the end of the first track, “Welcome,” featured artist Anjaliqua warns, “You think they’re ready for this? They better get ready, and fast.” So begins the bold BabeSpace mixtape from Da Qween, the most fun 9-track romp you’ll experience all year. Seattle’s queer hip-hop scene is home to some of the absolute best music currently emerging from our city. But this record ain’t featured here as an exceptional black queer classic: BabeSpace is easily one of the top hip-hop gems of 2017. Back in the spring, I saw first saw Da Qween take the stage at Substation and lead us through a breathtaking performance in an immaculate white suit. I was subsequently captivated, and since have been enthusiastically singing Da Qween’s praises to everyone I know while waiting for this record to be released. Few long-players give so much pleasure from start to end, from entrancing R&B tracks worthy of Sade record (“BabeSpace”) to the demolishing pounding of rapid-fire spit verses on “H.O.M.O. (Hang Out Make Out).” The key change in “White Nightmare” always gives me chills. Da Qween explores themes both personal and familiar: From trying to find and establish your identity, to the small mundane social media moments of “double-tapping my ‘gram.” I’m reminded of a 20-year old single Vitamin D & The Note (from the Born Day EP) called “Who That??” which would slot in surprisingly well on this record. This perhaps goes to demonstrate how perfectly BabeSpace fits in the long Seattle hip-hop canon. Seek this one out, even though you probably ain’t ready for this.