A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2002
Knock Out Kings
The 253 area code, or ‘5-Trey’ for short, was introduced in 1997 when rapid growth in the region prompted the NANP to split up the 206 code. Today the 5-Trey covers a wide zone including Tacoma, Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way. One rap trio from Federal Way was Black Diamonds, featuring Tryfe, Rion, and Q-Dot aka Quality. In 2002, Tryfe recruited some heat from the South End and he executive produced a rap mixtape/compilation titled Knock Out Kings. Many aspiring artists were added to the card, including producer J. Hen and his 219 Productions family. The list of bruisers on Knock Out Kings included Kuddie Mack, Stretch, K.J., Eclipse, Slim, G. Digga, and many more.
The cover image shows the three members of Black Diamonds joined by Rocka, the host of the compilation. Impressive artist K.J. is a dual threat, displaying earnest rhyming and singing on her ode to a dumped boyfriend, “U Messed Up.” There are two cuts by Black Diamonds, the peppy party starter “How It Get Pt. 2,” and the more serious slow burner “I Feel.” Kuddie Mack produces and raps on one track, the whispery, ASMR-inducing “Runnin Wit Us.” I’m always a fan of inspirational messages, and there’s a darn good one on “Darlin” by Eclipse. “I finally got past it, I’m feeling better now. I’m back on my feet, light as a feather now,” goes a catchy line from the song.
As a side note, two clique members, Eclipse and Stretch teamed up to form a duo called Parker Brothaz. According to Larry Mizell in the Stranger, “The two spitters are in a classic NW vein, combining West Coast savagery with an East Coast punch-line savvy.” Knock Out Kings displays some real South End talent, be sure to check it out. Written by Novocaine132