A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Planet

Any of the times I’ve met EMI at a party, she’s radiated an aura of celebrity, as though there’s a spotlight shining down on her through the crowd. I suspect this has to do with the careful orchestration of her image, not to mention numerous gorgeously elaborate photo collaborations with Lea Godoy. (Of which this cover art is a great example.) It’s therefore of little surprise to find that PLANET, her too-short, eight-song EP from May, is centrally concerned with appearances and identity. On “Like Us” she endeavors to find the ideal analog to a perplexing relationship, singing, “I’d say we’re Bonnie & Clyde, but they fucked up and died,” before concluding, “They ain’t make ‘em like us no more.” Throughout this album, EMI asks big questions of those close to her: How do you want to be treated, are you part of my life, are you in the squad, are we in this together? Her heart often held forth, vulnerable, in all this seeking still holding on to hope. Play “Fools,” produced by Sevn Thomas and Rex Kudo, as loud as your neighbors and your stereo will tolerate. Trust me here. Synth-heavy and singalong, this is great late-night driving music and one of my favorite local releases this year.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Cognitive Dissonance: Part II

First off, a major shout out to Jake Crocker, preternatural producer and secret weapon of Black Umbrella Music. His stark symphonic backdrops on 2014’s Cognitive Dissonance, Part II are enchanting and luxe; the perfect accompaniment to Raz Simone’s elegant storytelling and robust vocabulary. Raz punctuates the narratives with worthwhile meditations on the questionable value of pursuing money at the expense of time and natural resources. This is a record of cinematic characters, of listening to a theatrical play, evocative of a mood and a place, and a plot, the listener lounging in plush seats as the house lights dim. I’d love to see Strawberry Theatre Workshop mount this album at 12 Ave Arts as a play.

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