A film about Northwest hip-hop from

&

Grey

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Grey as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2020, saying:

Whether in the booth or on a canvas, Tacoma-area rapper/painter Perry Porter is one of the most consistent artists in the region. (Perhaps you saw his handiwork on Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter street mural or custom charity sneakers for Pete Carroll this year.) Here, the talented dual-threat teams with up-and-coming producer OldMilk, leaning more heavily into his cerebral side as he skates lyrical circles around gliding house beats (“Move My Feet”) and the soulful pitter-patter of lead single “Custom.”

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

HappYer Now

Dan’s Tunes says MistaDC is “one of the most dynamic voices in The Emerald City.” His latest upbeat five-track effort freshly remixes his unique formula of neo-soul, R&B, and rap, with help from collaborators Jamie Blake and J’Von. The release party was a sold-out celebration at The Crocodile Back Bar. The Stranger calls HAPPYer NOW “short and sweet” and highlights the groovy disco-infused single “Pretty Pink.” Respect My Region say this EP is “dance-centric. It boosts the tempo and screams ‘shake that ass for me!’”

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Town Love Hip-Hop Awards

At the start of January 2019, Crane City Music invited Seattle’s hip-hop community to pick their favorite WA state hip-hop records from the past year in a public vote. A total of 267 records were in contention for the top prize. A total of 5,498 votes were cast. Parisalexa’s Bloom took home the top prize, narrowly beating out Kung Foo Grip’s 2KFG and Travis Thompson’s YOUGOOD?

The top 20 winners were revealed via an elaborate laser show countdown event held in February at the Pacific Science Center Laser Dome in Seattle. The laser show itself was choreographed by Joseph Reid and Gary Campbell. The event opened with a playlist of ’90s Seattle hip-hop and a short tribute to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s legacy and the 30th anniversary of his debut, SWASS.

A 14-minute film was made by Taylor Hart that captures highlights from the night.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Sorry We Lost You

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!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Bloom

“Bloom is the story of how I fell in love,” says Parisalexa. The seven tracks that make up this project tell a story of personal growth through botanical metaphors. We Out Here magazine praises “the storytelling throughout the project is impeccable,” while CityArts highlights the “lush vocal harmonies that flow over breezy, warm boom-bap textures,” adding that there are hints of soul, jazz, and the ’90s R&B. KEXP adds that Bloom is “empowering, lovely, and elating all at once,” while The Seattle Times calls Parisalexa “one of the brightest young stars in Seattle music.”

Here’s another take:

In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Parisalexa’s Bloom and FLEXA EPs as the two very best Seattle album of 2018, saying:

Two years after a talented kid with a looping station turned heads at Sound Off!, R&B wunderkind Paris Alexa Williams proved ready for the spotlight this year, debuting with two impressive EPs that earned her more votes than any other act on our list. The now-20-year-old flashes a maturity and confidence — both vocally and conceptually — beyond her years on Bloom. The seven-track main course is about personal growth and self-love through romance narratives. Williams taps the ‘90s R&B she grew up on, brushing piano beats with her soulful mellifluousness on tracks like “Hole in the Ground” and “Dandelion.” The artist on the rise brings a more contemporary swagger to her following FLEXA EP, gracefully spreading her undeniable hooks over bass-heavy beats on “Ballin’ ” and “LV” — an earwormy humble flex about being proud of what you have. The scariest thing about Parisalexa’s breakout year is the fact that she’s still developing her style, meaning the next few years could be even more fun.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Moonshine

On the opening lines of Moonshine, Cosmos frontman Campana spits, “Just about a year ago, they didn’t know my name and now… I gotta hunch that we’re gonna be colossal.” In September, the group traveled to Paisley Park, MN—Prince’s former estate—to represent the hopes of all Seattle at the national Musicology competition. This was just the latest step on the ladder for a band that crushed the competition at 2016’s Sound Off! battle of the bands. This 2017 mixtape, Moonshine, pulls together a mosaic of influences. While listening, I wrote this perplexing scribble: “math-rock Northern Soul EDM dance jazz rap.” They knit together this wide range of influences into a unified, singular sound. There’s so much sonic goodness to savor here, from the Hendrix guitar axe crash on opener “North Star,” to the house club dub of “Mixed Signals,” or the gorgeously weird moments in “To The Moon” and “Silver Lining.” There’s also a smart choice of featured contributors, including Parisalexa and MistaDC, two talents whose star power has been rising all year. This is shake-your-booty music, channeling all the energy of a live five-piece band, while also engaging in advanced studio trickery. Cosmos’s live shows, such as the 4/20 launch party that kicked off this record, are a highly recommend experience. These guys are destined for big things. That opening hunch ain’t so far off.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Hodgepodge

Hodgepodge is a 2017 album from Samurai Del that came out back in February. It’s a polished showcase—a wide-ranging mix that demonstrates the versatility of “The Samurai” as a producer, while also featuring some of the top singers and rappers Seattle has on offer. This album was included in KEXP’s picks of the year which comes as no surprise. You’ll find sweeping synths, smooth EDM/hip-hop crossovers, and inventive sampling, like the vocals treatments towards the end of “Sailing to Japan on an Air Mattress” or the gorgeously sensual “Weightless” (featuring Kristin Henry). “What You Need” is a delightful surprise with Travis Thompson on the mic and also a banging dance number. The collab with J’Von contains one of my favorite verses of the whole year: “She’s like a breath of fresh oxygen, but if the concept of oxidization holds true, then over time I’m breathing toxins in.” (Damn, what a line!) I went to the launch party for this at the Croc 10 months ago and since this record has rarely been out of my rotation. Rappers and singers: Samurai Del is THE producer you want to work with on your next project. Hit him up. Hodgepodge is a treasure-trove of top talent.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Eviction Notice

Pour yourself a tall glass of Hennessy, curl up on a comfortable couch, and digest this album like you would a theatrical production. With Eviction Notice, Campana brings forth a deeply personal and emotional, autobiographical full-length offering, underscored by the loss of a friend and musical homie Thee Ruin, whose name is featured on the cover, spelled out in stars above a dark desert road. For a record so much about the loss of direction, this music has such a grounded sense of place. Such physicality in the instruments. The knocks we face in life teach us lessons, and on tracks like “Look Around” with its pop chorus, Campana comes out swinging, and on “Organics” he’s shaking the dance floor.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Northern Natives

I’ve been spending some time lately with the gorgeous and sensual Northern Natives self-titled five-track EP. This one unfurls like smoke curls in slow motion… It’s a showcase of five songs by five artists, and as a compilation is a surprisingly cohesive work, with R&B and pop influences, big synths and dance floor shaking tracks from Samurai Del, Soultanz, CiDi, DNZ and Sendai Era. If I’ve learned anything from these record write-ups, it’s how deeply talented and interconnected the Seattle scene is. City Arts declared this “Album of the month” in December and I’m not surprised. These amazing producers and contributors represent the future of our scene and hip-hop at large.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!

A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Ambaum

It’s been quite the year for 21-year old Travis Thompson: Last week he had a Li’L Woody’s burger named after his delightful 2017 record Ambaum. As a result of his involvement with Macklemore’s Gemini album, last month he performed on a little-known late-night TV show called The Tonight Show, and he’s been a regular sidekick on ol’ Mack’s North American tour, playing stadium shows across the country, including this Friday at Key Arena, where he’ll be standing in front of 17,459 people.

Not that long ago I saw him perform at the Crocodile back bar, in front of a dozen people, so congratulations on the big step up to these much bigger stages.

So let’s talk about Ambaum, his mixtape from August 2016. The Tyler Dopps production on the early tracks, and the pop hooks, and the earnest lyrics might leave you the impression that Travis is a worthy Mack-lite protégé. While I suppose he is—three tracks in, during “Born in ’96,” this record begins to defy those expectations. There’s a tonal shift where Travis repeats a self-aware comment that, while this may be his moment to shine, “every day they make another one.”

Indeed, at 21, he’s already questioning when the next generation will be nipping at his heels. And it’s an inflection point that pushes this record in a completely different direction, more serious and inventive, one of proud underdog autobiography.

Here are a couple of moments I love: When on “Candy & Corner Stores” he raps, “Them kids from the back of the class know a lot more about living than anyone.” Any time there’s a smart, sexy guest feature from MistaDC, Nyles Davis, or Parisalexa. The inventive house beat (courtesy of Nima Skeemz) that closes “Party Favors.”

Also on this closing song, Travis jokes that his music covers the “Lifestyles of the broke and rapping.” Perhaps a little less so after this year of success. Hats off to you, man. That Ambaum burger was solid.

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!