A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Otherside

The Otherside is an hour-long documentary predominantly covering Seattle’s Capitol Hill-centric “third wave” hip-hop scene, circa 2010. This was a time when MP3s and streaming were fairly new and completely reshaping the music industry. Artists like Blue Scholars were experimenting with Kickstarter and direct fan support. Everyone was trying something new.

There’s a wealth of great interviews, concerts, and backstage footage from artists across the Town. There are hella people in this movie. It’s clear the filmmaker tried to talk with anyone and everyone who was willing. There are some great long chats with Jake One, Prometheus Brown, and Sir Mix-A-Lot. There’s also lots of footage of pre-stardom Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as they prepare to drop The Heist.

Larry Mizell Jr. offers up a four-point guide to being successful in the Northwest: “Be truthful to yourself. Be respectful and knowledgeable of what’s going on and what came before you. Be good: Work on your craft. Further the culture at all times.”

The Otherside premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival and was an audience favorite, selling out two consecutive screenings. It was also chosen as “Best of SIFF” by festival programmers.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Old Fashioned

In 2012 Billy The Fridge dropped his second full album titled Old Fashioned and Seattle was never the same.

At first glance the album is just a sad mockery of an art form that was once based on life-or-death issues in New York City, but this project is infinitely more layered than one might immediately realize. Billy has been trying to meme his way into the public consciousness for a long time. One of his early viral songs was called “Cake Day” based on the Reddit tradition. Billy’s first album in 2009 (Million Dollar Fantasy Freak Show) captured his berserk Biz Markie ‘comedian-of-rap’ quality, but Old Fashioned saw exponential growth in his artistic process.

Fridge created a character who matches the weirdness of Slim Shady, appearing to be in on the joke even despite all the sleaze. It’s a complex performance by a man who mastered kayfabe in semi-pro wrestling for years before turning to rapping. His poetic voice is somewhere between George Carlin and Blowfly.

To be clear, Fridge is no novelty rapper, he is a legit talented rapper who tackles novelty subjects, a distinction that is very important. And his actual voice is no less remarkable, as he manages to frantically spit speedy complex lyrics with the clearest diction this side of the Atlantic.

The listener enters a world narrated by a ghoulish character with a wicked sense of humor. Think Al Yankovich trying to do MC Ren or Geto Boys. Fridge is hardcore, Old Fashioned is not a kid-friendly album, but it sure is immature. Tracks like “Brown Bag,” “8 Ton Gorilla,” and the ridiculous crowd-pleaser sing-along “Dumb” present an artist who creates an ‘insta-vibe’ and makes a song out of it. Many of the tracks are memes of pop-culture properties, for instance, “Workaholic” is not-so-loosely based on the sitcom. “Just A Bill” reimagines Schoolhouse Rock while Fridge lands nuclear punchlines on you like elbow drops. It sounds stupidly simple because it is. Fridge is an internet sensation, and he has a classic rap album. (Written by Novocaine132.)

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

The Beautiful Baby EP

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