A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Flavor: A Real Hip-Hop Magazine

From 1992 to 1995, Seattle was home to global hip-hop magazine, The Flavor. It wasn’t a magazine about Northwest hip-hop: It was a world hip-hop magazine based that was based in Seattle, with a peak circulation of 70,000 printed copies per issue. As editor and writer Mike Clark explains, the hip-hop genre was fairly new, there was a lot going on, and they “wanted to promote artists that we loved and help them be successful.”

This eight-minute documentary from King Khazm and Will Lemke is wonderful viewing. It’s a joy to learn the history of The Flavor, and the people interviewed are candid about their struggles alongside the successes of the magazine. They were the first magazine in the world to put Nas on the cover, only one example of how they were ahead of their time.

Publisher and editor Alison Pember acknowledges that local rappers would grumble about not being on the magazine cover, but they did have a strategy for putting the Northwest on the map: “Us putting a local artist in an issue with a national artist on the cover… People will pick up the magazine and they’ll read it.” Mike Clark adds the story of how The Flavor connected legendary local group The Ghetto Chilldren to a major label record deal with Geffen.

Finally, you’ll delight in learning about Carl Johnson’s infamous crossword puzzles. They were so incredibly hard and dense with rap lyrical references that the only person who ever solved the puzzle was later hired to work at the magazine.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Diaries of A Mad

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Blank Canvas

Filmmaker and hip-Hop musician Rafael Flores spent six years making The Blank Canvas: Hip-Hop’s Struggle for Representation in Seattle. The film attempts to document the unique identity of hip-hop culture in Seattle, through interviews with over 100 rappers, producers, DJs, graffiti artists, break-dancers, fashion designers, and promoters from The Town.

It takes us on a journey that investigates the origins of Hip-Hop in the Northwest, the legacy of Sir-Mix-a-Lot, the notorious 1985 Teen Dance Ordinance, Clear-Channel’s dominance over commercial Hip-Hop radio, the increasing popularity of white rappers in Seattle, and hip-hop’s struggle for representation in a seemingly liberal city.

The full 96-minute film is available for rent on Vimeo for $5. Watch the trailer below.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

This is 206 Zulu

Georgio Brown gives you a look inside the Hip Hop Collective 206 Zulu. A chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation in Seattle Washington. Founded by Afrika Bambaataa and Led by Zulu King Khazm, they promote Peace, Love, Unity, and having fun as well as doing positive things in the community. Meet its members and hear why they are a part of 206 Zulu.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Think Tank

Seattle collective the Mind Movers released this ambitious record in 2008. City-wide in scope, the talents of over 30 Town emcees, vocalists, DJ’s and producers were utilized in the creation of this solidly underground compilation; probably exposing many of them to an audience that may have not heard them before, thus making it somewhat of a Do The Math for the Northwest’s third wave of hip-hop.

Think Tank is 21 varied and energetic tracks in length, and each song has multiple contributors. Crew cuts! I for one had only known of a few of the collaborators when I picked this up; it certainly opened my ears to a ton of great talent. The Mind Movers are made up of emcees Khanfidenz, Inkubiz, Mic Flont, Open Hands, Phreewil (who also handles production, and now resides in Hawaii), and producer/DJ Dead Noise. Besides those cats, the massive Seattle crew Alpha P/First Platoon represents as well, with features from emcees Jerm (also of Cloud Nice), Inkubiz and Phree Wil(again!), Kasi Jack Gaffle, Diez, Asad, Rajnii Eddins, Rufio, Jerz, Julie C, Yirim Seck, and Asun, who especially kicks it all over these tracks. Other names appear as well… It’s a huge who’s who.

Musically the beats are heavy, dusty underground gems. With six beatmakers in attendance, the tracks are surprisingly cohesive, although the ranges of styles are vast. Drum-heavy, broody, atmospheric tracks are heard in abundance (thanks mainly to Phree Wil), alongside upbeat soul samples, and mellow jazz piano loops. Whatever, it’s all nice; no beats out of a can here, this is artistic craftsmanship from the bottom up. Despite the huge undertaking, only the surface of the last decade’s hip-hop scene has been scratched with this release. The Town is bursting at the seams with talent. This is just a decent slice of it. (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

Westlake: Class Of 1999

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.

Do you know something about the history of this record? Do you have a favorite lyric or a favorite memory? Send us an email on why this is one of the great hip-hop albums from the Northwest. Thanks!

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Preludes... Diaries of A Mad

Khazm is one of Seattle’s biggest hip-hop movers and shakers. He’s a true hip-hop scholar and activist. He’s a performer both solo and with his crew Cyphalliance, as well as being in the super-group The Building Project with Dume 41, Specs One, and Khingz. His grasp reaches much further into hip-hop culture, as he is a co-founder of the MAD Krew production company, as well as being a co-host of Zulu Radio. Most impressively, he founded 206 Zulu, the Universal Zulu Nation branch here in Seattle. He was even awarded a community leadership award from Mayor Nickels! If this ain’t a career steeped in hip-hop, I don’t know what is.

This 12″ is a stark and heart-wrenching testament to Khazm’s own personal resolve and strength in the face of adversity. Recorded at the University of Washington Hospital by fellow MAD Krew affiliate and 206 hip-hop guru Gabriel Teodros, “Life Line” cuts to the quick. You can’t help but tune in and stay riveted until the end. “Rhyme Artist” isn’t as intense, perhaps thankfully, but it’s truly a dope track that is made even more dope by appearances from King Kamonzi and DJ Scene. Sadly, this 12″ only provides those two tracks in their vocal versions, but in addition, “Buddafly” and “Summertime”, presumably off Khazm’s full length, are included as well as the instrumental versions of the vocal tracks provided. This is a 206 hip-hop document that is as important and crucial as it is riveting and entertaining. Beats and lyrics by the powerhouse known as Khazm. 2005 ish, do not sleep. (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

Industreets

Here’s some forgotten greatness from the Northwest: Cyphalliance, a group of emcees, producers, and deejays spearheaded by Khazma 247, also known as the one and only Khazm. This was a relatively early project he and his MAD Krew was involved in (2003). Executive produced by 247 and Nosirrom, many of the tracks also give Khazm a producer and emcee credit as well.

Stylistically this is some high-energy, youthful consciousness mixed with a healthy dose of battle attitude. It’s some refreshingly energetic left coast music in the same vein as JKC or EX2, except that it’s so obviously from the 206.

The grayness that permeates so much of the tonality of Northwest music (both hip-hop and otherwise) is truly in effect here. The cover sums the music up perfectly – a group of young men standing in front of a cloudy sky backdrop, as seen in the reflection of a rain puddle in a drab parking lot. Perseverance in the face of the mundane. I was next to ecstatic when I found this long out-of-print chapter in Northwest hip-hop history, and I hope you enjoy it at least a tiny bit as much as I do. (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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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Sun To A Recycled Soul

As far as I know this is Gabriel Teodros’s debut, and it’s definitely rougher than his later records. He’s still developing his flow here, but the fire, eloquence, and themes he’s known for are already in place. It’s got that old-school, jazz sample-heavy flavor I love, and the rough, unmastered sound quality I crave in production. Jerm, Castro, and Khingz, among others, guest. It was re-released a second time with a whole bunch of additional guest emcees (Orko, Macklemore, Moka Only, Deps, Patrick, Rajnii). Vivacious music, from possibly the 206’s most impassioned orator. (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

Enter The Madness

Enter The Madness is an hour-long film from 2000 that provides an essential time capsule of turn-of-the-millennium hip-hop in the Pacific Northwest. It was directed by King Khazm and produced by DJ Scene, and includes flashes of late-’90s Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, too.

The film adheres to the four pillars of hip-hop, devoting a roughly equal amount of time to riveting turntable battles, incredible, lengthy breakdancing sequences, freestyles, rap battles, and walls painted with now long-gone graffiti. The film captures many moments that even at the time were fleeting… That today would be forgotten were it not for the existence of this film.

There are some curious editing choices here–like, say cutting back and forth between graffiti and a peeing elephant–or the addition of picture frame borders, fisheye lenses, and inverted film negative effects, but there are also dozens of blink-and-you’ll miss cameos from Seattle hip-hop greats like Silver Shadow D, Kutfather, Asun, Khingz, and others. Sit back with your favorite accompaniment and enjoy this visual spectacle.

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