A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Straight Lace Playaz

E.C.P. (Emerald City Players) had three members, Stylez, L1D, and MC Linn. According to Discogs, “E.C.P. got into the music game through their close friend Kid Sensation, who landed a deal with Nastymix Records in 1990. The group first appeared on the debut Kid Sensation album on the dedicated cut “Maxin’ With The E.C.P.” On Kid’s second and third albums, The E.C.P. played a greater role by lending a hand with verses and production. In 1995 the crew released their solo album (Straight Lace Playaz)…” In the credits for Straight Lace Playaz the group gives respect to the E.C.P. original lineup, which included legendary figures like Attitude Adjuster, PLB, and Maharaji.

The rippling beat of “Twistin Corners” is nothing but smooth, glassy g-funk, with lyrics about car culture, a hip-hop staple. Perhaps the strongest cut on the album is the two-part, “Emerald City Players.” The beat on part one has twists and turns, but mostly just bounces along under the verses, which describe the pimping lifestyle rather literally. “Emerald City Players” part two is also about hustling and pimping, but it’s more of a view from 30,000 feet. For example, “Cake a** n****s wanna love em, take a h** home, hide em, hug em, kiss em, feed em, purchase em gadgets, whips, cars, clothes, gold, trinkets, I think it’s, way beyond player status, your profit’s gone.” The spoken word-ish cut “Cold Souls” by Star Breaka evokes the arresting street tales of Iceberg Slim captured on his 1976 album Reflections.

“When I Wonder” is a peppery cut with more reflective and personal lyrics than other tracks on this album, and it shows that while E.C.P. wholly embrace the pimp culture, they also have other topics from which to draw. “Livin in this Mecca of a city filled with dreams,” goes a standout line. Straight Lace Playaz seems to be the group’s only album, so if you like pimp tales then give it a spin. Written by Novocaine132

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Seatown Ballers

If you listen closely to the bass line at the start of “Seatown Ballers,” you’ll hear it morph from synthesizer to beatbox vocalization and back again. Throughout his music, “Seattle’s next rap star, Kid Sensation” finds many creative new ways to incorporate his human voice.

“Seatown Ballers” is a curious song. Another one that, like “Back 2 Boom” and “My Hooptie,” yet again revisits “Posse on Broadway,” both in sampling and lyrics. (While also sampling contemporaries Public Enemy and Beastie Boys, too)

It recounts “another day in the life of the ECP,” where Maharaji, Attitude Adjuster, Mix-A-Lot, and Larry—the white guy, real estate investor—are driving down Rainier, picking up girls… Wait, haven’t we heard this all before?

Indeed, these early NastyMix rap singles are like interlocking Russian dolls, or watching Inception: It’s all layers upon layers, right down to the cover photo. Kid and DJ Skill pause in front of Minoru Yamasaki’s Rainier Tower, and they’re holding copies of Kid’s “Back 2 Boom” records, too.

At one point, Kid raps, “I don’t need drugs to create this feeling,” and you agree, yeah, it’s all déjà vu. And the beats keep turning into his voice and back again.

The music video for “Ballers” was shot at the brand new Westlake transit hub which first opened the same year, 1990.

Flipside cut “S.B.I.A.” is an acronym for “Seattle’s Best In Action.” Although no one is directly credited on the cover, Kid passes the mic around to a cypher featuring his contemporaries from Seattle’s unsigned hip-hop underground: Richie Rapp, MC Willin’, and MC Linn all drop baller verses before Kid himself takes us home.

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