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Reigncraft, Volume 3: Supply and Demand

Reigncraft Volume One was an excellent showcase of Seattle hip-hop across a broad spectrum of styles and genres. Volume 2 continued the pattern, and gave listeners a taste of diverse rap talent from our industrious, productive city. The third in the series is Reigncraft Volume 3: Supply And Demand, released in 2004. Supply And Demand is as ambitious as its predecessors, and it’s a very fun listening experience.

The first song that stands out for me is “Ra-M-O-S” by No Good Therapy. This one previously appeared on No Good’s 2003 indie CD We’re Back Seattle, which was re-released by California’s Thump Records with the title Come N Get It. “Ra-M-O-S” is a well-produced track from Beezie 2000 with lots of sonic twists and turns. Greasy Earl aka Ricky Pharoe absolutely nails it with “New Earl Order.” The sinister Isaac Meek beat looms threateningly like a second American Civil War. “A lot of people have tried to silence me…all of them failed,” goes the sampled movie quote throughout the song. Pharoe is the master of the sardonic, here he conjures up a maniacal dictator not too distant from George HW Bush.

Ricky Pharoe isn’t the only artist here with an alias. Seattle rap veteran Silver Shadow D gives us “Yum Yum” using his alter-ego Ferrocious. Shadow picks a solid beat here by producer Loop to drop some Jamaican-inspired lyrics in an energetic Patois. Dim Mak create a universe that is moody and full of emotion on “Breathe,” which was featured on their EPoch release. In another sampling victory, “Breathe” fades out to mysterious dialogue, “I studied day and night, to learn of those unseen forces that hold this world together…beneath the surface.”

Gangsta supergroup Lac of Respect bring that Street Level vibe with “They Know.” As a side note, Street Level founder D-Sane also produces “Take This Flight” by Crytical, and “Intro” featuring series host KNDNM on vocals. “Revel In Relevance” by Asun is unique in several ways. Asun is one of the more non-commercial artists to come from Seattle. Each time he goes out, he seems to be experimenting, and always reaching for different themes or flows. “206, that’s what I represent,” he reminds us in the chorus. Volume 3: Supply And Demand has a ton of different tracks to delve into, and don’t forget to check out the top-notch CD graphics by Billy The Fridge. Written by Novocaine132

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Reigncraft, Volume 4: The Labor

After three successful compilations, Reigncraft series founder KNDNM could have just thrown in the towel and decided that the innovative Seattle rap series had run its course. Thankfully for rap fans across the Northwest, that’s not what happened. This Reigncraft Volume 4: The Labor compact disc dropped at the end of 2004, and it is yet another action-packed assembly of varied hip-hop talent from the 206.

“Questions” by Unexpected Arrival presents a number of deep thoughts to chew on, set to a compelling, stark beat. “Dammit all to hell, my life feeling like a jail. We won’t win the war if we’re still fighting amongst ourselves,” goes a heartfelt line. “Questions” was also featured on Unexpected Arrival’s third album, My Life For Sale in 2005. Bad Luk is a Reigncraft veteran who had a track featured on each of the first three CDs. His cut here, “Expectations” is excellent, and it shows that his hard grind really paid off. Bad Luk’s voice carries a devastating urgency, and the lyrics are very personal. “I wish you had to wear my shoes, so you felt my scars, so you could deal with real life when you was dealt my cards,” he raps.

The strange, zippy Kuddie Mack beat on “Dents In The Trunk” is intriguing. Stretch uses a conversational tone in his lyrics, which makes his voice approachable and familiar sounding, removing the distance between listener and performer. Because of the subject matter, “Dents In The Trunk” reminds me of the 1988 classic “Cars With The Boom” by L’Trimm.

“Pick Me Up” by Cyphalliance and “Stomp” by A-OK both bring the backpack, freestyle-circle vibe. These two songs explore the “metaphorical oratorical” to use a line from “Stomp.” The whole point of Reigncraft is to place tracks from the wordplay world against other more gangsta-oriented type of joints. Now, twenty years later, the genre of hip-hop continues to expand into a splinterverse of styles and experimentation. Reigncraft Volume 4: The Labor reminds us that it all comes back to hip-hop, and we are all part of the same family. Written by Novocaine132

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