A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Mack Daddy

An undeniable classic. All Seattle rap today, in many ways, is indebted to, influenced by, a reaction to, or a refutation of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Mack Daddy and its mega-mega-mega-hit “Baby Got Back.”

This rocket ship blasted off from the Emerald City space pad in 1992–during the pinnacle of grunge–marking a time when Seattle was momentarily the ultimate hub of mainstream cool for both ’90s rap AND rock music. Go give this a spin. It still sounds fresh today.

Here are some fun facts: Mix recorded this whole record at home, in Auburn, WA, in a digital home studio off the side of his dining room. Mack Daddy was self-released by Mix on his own new record label, Rhyme Cartel, having announced his divorce from NastyMix in 1991. The album’s working title was Possessed. The record was distributed by Rick Rubin and Def American, who reportedly invested one million dollars into the promotion and marketing. Mix-A-Lot once estimated he’d made more than $100,000,000.00 from royalties from the song “Baby Got Back.”

A couple of years back I was lucky to catch Sir Mix’s semi-secret show in front of Dick’s Drive-in on Broadway. And man, the guy is still on fire almost 30 years later.

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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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