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Northwest Connection: What They Hittin Fo

In 1997, some of Seattle and Tacoma’s hardest rhyme spitters came together and assembled ten dope tracks into a compilation. The title is Northwest Connection: What They Hittin Fo, and according to the notes at Discogs the CD didn’t come out until fourteen years later when it was released by Death Wish Records in 2011. It is a solid release for those who like that gangsta-street content. Deuce Click has two tracks, a chopped-and-screwed-esque slow cut called “Keep It Comin,” and an inspirational, motivational creeper titled “The Break Of Light” that will put a smile on your face. Black Cesar (formerly known as Foul Play) also get two songs, reminding us of the importance of loyalty on “Love For Me” and dropping useful street game on “Without U.” Mr. D.O.G. makes an appearance with “Leave Yo Strap On,” warning listeners in multiple ways that he’s dangerous. The CD ends with a track by The DCP Organization, a Tacoma group in the early 1990s which included members of Criminal Nation.

My personal favorite track on the compilation is “Regardless.” Wojack and Candidt deliver over a smooth g-funk beat. “We sit back, relax, get ours regardless,” goes the chorus. “Regardless” rolls and dips like a low rider driven by these two OG Northwest rappers who are clearly gifted at what they do. Northwest Connection: What They Hittin Fo is an excellent display of late ’90s gangsta rap in Seattle and Tacoma. Compilations like this show that while the Northwest had a vibrant gangsta rap scene, the genre at large suffered from a narrow range of subject matter for most of the 1990s. As B-Self pointed out in a 2020 206ClassicRadio Youtube interview, the 1988 album Straight Outta Compton “succeeded too well,” meaning it was so influential that every young rap group wanted to resemble NWA to the point of abject imitation. It took years for rap music to recover from the long, tall shadow of Straight Outta Compton, and largely because of that album gangsta rap will always be a part of the fabric of hip-hop. Written by Novocaine132

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