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Homebass

The cover of Homebass features an in-motion collage of trees and records evoking the chaotic fury of our times. Do yourself a favor and slide on this six-song, 21-minute project the way you might a pair of immaculately tailored pajamas. Get comfortable and settle in.

Opening cut “OMG!!!!!!!” questions how one reconciles their dreams with reality while nodding to those small pleasures that make the struggle worth it. On a day like today, when the world recoils from George Floyd’s murder, Cypher asks “Do you play it safe?”

Many songs question our individual actions against the status quo while providing an invitation to get to know Greg Scott Cypher better. “They don’t understand me,” he says on “WOO WOO.” As a rhymer, Cypher is a fast-moving dribbler. Before you know it, he’s dunked another lyrical basket.

The album’s centerpiece is “Mi Casa” where, against a whirlwind of background voices and clamor, Greg speaks directly to you with an arresting intimacy in the age of social distancing. Producer Def Dee grounds every track with a deep sense of place using sublime studio skills. You’re there. In the room. As a loping Rube Goldberg beat unfolds on “Mi Casa,” as the wavering rumble of piano interrupts “NuthinToSay” (featuring KFG compadre Mr. Hentvii), and in the yard, banging beats on boards with the gang on “DAY UNO’s.” This cut pulls the slick Rik Rude outta retirement for a feature that Cypher says is an album highlight. It is.

Auto-tuned Greg on “Space” is at first unexpectedly jarring but proves to be yet another of this album’s many delights. Homebass is a solo debut, a clear statement in response to our uncertain times, a chance to hear a familiar voice anew, and a clear contender for album of the year 2020.

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NEWCOMER

This 82-minute feature film is an intimate introduction to Seattle’s vibrant hip-hop underground. It was assembled from hundreds of tiny performance clips—shot for Instagram—into a single, continuous concert mosaic, and stars 93 of the top hip-hop artists from The Town.

Here’s how KEXP describes it in their review: “NEWCOMER stretches the idea of the concert film to an artistic extreme: Sub-minute snippets artfully arranged to resemble a field recording of Seattle’s rap scene, the pieces fractured and pieced back together in a truly engrossing way. The narrative flows through venues like Barboza, Cha Cha Lounge, Vermillion, Lo-Fi, the Showbox, the Crocodile, and dozens more. It’s Khris P pouring Rainier into a Solo cup while he raps; bodies packed into regional landmark ETC Tacoma; SassyBlack improvising a song urging concertgoers to buy her merch; the delightfully awkward dance moves of white people in KEXP’s Gathering Space; Chong the Nomad beatboxing and playing harmonica simultaneously; Bruce Leroy bullying a beat next to the clothing racks at All-Star Vintage; Specswizard rhyming about his first time performing in front of a crowd while standing before The Dark Crystal playing on a projection screen. The film is about the moments we experience—as lovers of live performance—just as much as the performances themselves.”

NEWCOMER was directed by Gary Campbell and was an official selection at the 2020 New York Hip-Hop Film Festival and the 2020 Golden Sneakers International Hip-Hop Film Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Throughout November 2020, the film screened for four weeks on the Northwest Film Forum theatrical screening site in honor of Hip-Hop History Month.

You can watch the full movie below.

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Shorty Fresco

Shorty Fresco started as a series of relaxed summertime jams between Kung Foo Grip’s Greg Cypher and soul vocalist Jamel Moxey, both of them singing and rapping over beats from producer Grimeshine. Respect My Region says the result sounds like “a couple of homies spitting hot bars over a dope beat,” while The Stranger describes it as “an interesting mix of swirling, heavily indica beats on which Cypher and Moxey deftly dance around each other.” Either way, save this for those days when you wish you could hang on a lawn under blue skies that go on for days.

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2KFG

In the liner notes for this record, music critic Larry Mizell Jr. says “Kung Foo Grip have always been flamethrowers, but lately they’ve been eating straight gunpowder.” That’s the conclusion reached by anyone who’s heard 2KFG: CityArts magazine declared it their Album of The Month in February, describing its sound as “bass-heavy beats, braced with digitized melodies, classic West Coast minimalism and cloud rap.” Respect My Region states it plainly: “The new Kung Foo Grip album is finally out, and it is fire.” The Seattle Times says it is “infectiously cool… a knockout blow.”

Here’s another take:

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked 2KFG as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2018, saying:

This versatile hip-hop duo have made a name for themselves with explosive live performances, but emcees Greg Cypher and Eff is H show their true range on the Keyboard Kid-produced “2KFG.” One minute they’re kicking melodic hooks that could siphon Sol fans, while getting grimy with Nacho Picasso on the slithering “Risin’” the next. They have the bars to please purists, but Kung Foo Grip are neither boom-bap throwbacks nor cloud-rap play chasers — a group truly cruising in their own lane.

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Concrete Waves

A key moment in Seattle hip-hop happened this summer in the shadow of Capitol Hill Block Party—at the rogue Squadfest event happening next door at Vermillion: Kung Foo Grip’s Greg Cypher mounted the hood of a police car and jumped and rapped some much-needed anthems to an adoring crowd.

The next day, KFG themselves host a sellout rooftop event at 95 Slide, so packed beyond capacity that most of us stood down below on the street, listening the way Londoners did on that fateful day when The Beatles played building-top.

Concrete Waves lives up to the promise of this spectacular summer. Production from SCLY (aka Def Dee) feels like cruising down Broadway in a bouncing lowrider. The beat on the first track, “Low End/96 Shit,” is so undeniably, addictively fresh that you’ll find yourself replaying this one song over and over again before devouring the rest.

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Chemtrails

Kung Foo Grip are a wicked band with an amazing live show, and so I’m damn excited they’re playing this weekend at Barboza. In anticipation, I’ve been spinning their EP Chemtrails, which I always connect with Kylie Jenner for some reason. There’s so much to like here—the epic percussive synth stabs of “Zerkin,” and the guest verse from fellow Cabin Games label-mate Silas Blak on “ANTI-Social,” where the spitting and the beats circle each other in the ring, sparring. “Goin Up, Lookin Down” expresses the band’s frustration with breaking through, repeating the mantra “Gas, Brake, Gas, Brake,” a theme that appears again on “Pyramid” in the lines “break it down and rebuild.”

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The New Flesh

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

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Nine Six Webisode #1

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

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Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon

This sensational record has been in rotation for me pretty much every day for the past few weeks. Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon, a 2014 release from RA Scion and Vox Mod belongs in the upper-echelon canon of interstellar Seattle electro-rap. (Spin this when you want a break from Shabazz Palaces‘s Quazarz.) RA Scion is known for his enjoyably decadent five-syllable word choices and verses that deftly juggle “elucidate,” “pantheon” and “vacillate.” Vox Mod’s emergent, menacing synths call out to be heard on through mega-loud club speakers, alternately sharp and gurgling. There are many standout tracks including “Introspector” and opener “Passage to Transience.” But I also love the cuts where they step back and give the stage to featured contributors: DJ Indica Jones on the instrumental “Plush Portal Stylings” and double-tracked vocals from Kung Foo Grip‘s Greg Cypher on closer “Res Publica.” This whole record is all great.

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Growing Up In The Future

These dudes need to be heard to be believed, but it’s like being sent back to the great, grim days of Black Moon, Channel Live, and Mobb Deep. Add to that just the right amount of fresh, new school elements. They’re sick, and their recent mention in XXL magazine as “Ones to Watch” is way more than warranted.

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2013,” saying that:

Kung Foo Grip has graduated from a pair of highly excitable battle rappers to a duo with insight and well-constructed bars. That growth does not preclude Eff is H and Greg Cypher from making some of the most exciting, combustible hip hop in Seattle, however. Growing Up In The Future is the pair coming of age while simultaneously staking claim to being the dopest in their Eastside (Kirkland) environs. “Out Of My Element” is urban/suburban ennui as viewed through the lens of the marginalized youth, and “Tuskegee” is high-strung brag rap featuring Moor Gang’s cleanup hitter Jarv Dee and Brooklyn’s up-and-coming Kris Kasanova.

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The Sickle & the Sword

The Stranger picked The Sickle & the Sword as one of the “Top 5 Albums of 2013,” saying that:

RA Scion had a busy year in 2013. In spring, he released Adding to the Extra, an album produced by Todd Sykes (one half of Tacoma’s CityHall), which marked Scion’s return to the “old boom-bap” and introduced a new and very talented rapper to the scene, John Crown (he is on “Amalgam X”). But in the fall, Scion dropped a huge, beautiful, and deeply spiritual/philosophical LP, The Sickle & the Sword, which was produced by New York City’s Rodney Hazard. Three reasons for loving this record: One, the dubby, ghostly, gorgeous track “Bloodletter” is one of RA Scion’s highest achievements as an artist; two, it has a unified sound (thanks to Hazard); three, it takes a lot of risks and does not fear overflowing or even failure. Hazard and Scion need to join forces again.

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Indigo Children: Tales From The Other Side

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

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Young Seattle

Between 2012 and 2016, musician Sam Lachow created three collaborative short films, each bearing the name “Young Seattle.”

Slightly confusingly, the videos are labeled “Parts 1, 2, and 4.” Part 3 was released as an audio-only track with no video.

Here’s his explanation of the concept: “I make these Young Seattle videos each year simply because I’m a huge fan of all these artists. As a fan, I just thought it’d be badass to put them all on one track. My favorite thing about the Seattle hip-hop scene is that we don’t have any specific sound. There are so many different types of styles in this little city and yet we all fuck with each other. We’re all part of the same culture. It’s fucking cool.”

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Capitalize EP

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP gave this record an honorable mention as one of their top albums of 2011. They said:

From the land of pristine suburbia (otherwise known as Kirkland) comes Kung Foo Grip and their decidedly un-sterilized update on underground Golden Era rap. The term “old soul” can’t be more aptly applied to these two underage MC’s (Greg Cypher and F is H) who found upstart success as on-the-scene battle rappers. They’ve since moved beyond the corner into high-quality studio productions like Capitalize‘s get-lifted “Def Yoda pt. 3,” a celebration of youth and their own unequivocal dopeness.

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SeattleCali Fragilistic ExtraHella Dopeness

Seattle hip-hop blog 206UP picked this record as one of the “Top 10 Albums of 2010,” saying that:

The album equivalent of a 2-0-6 hip-hop house party, by design SeattleCali wasn’t exactly an official debut LP for State of the Artist, but a showcase for much of the talent in the city. The three SOTA emcees were consistently outshone by their guests and a lot of times the lyrics didn’t seem to make any sense. As strictly a party album, however, there wasn’t one better.

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