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Was And It Will Be

The original collage cover of 2014’s Was And It Will Be from Ricky Pharoe and Phreewil is a perfectly apt description of the superb crate-digging, subversive, schizophrenic, Seattle record inside. This one takes you on a journey through money, success, hope and faith that’s worth taking.

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Ethiopian Tattoo Shop

This is a rare treasure: A document of a singular moment in time, fueled by wild creativity with the force of a pressure cooker. Beauty made under the gun. Phreewil, Nathan Wolfe, and Graves33 wrote and recorded this album, inspired by the book by the same name, in a matter of weeks.

Each track represents a different story or parable from the novel, and therefore the songs play out in a connected fashion; not linearly, but philosophically. Raw and brilliant work, at times jaw-dropping in its psychedelic urgency.

Despite the other-worldliness, this is not some Piper At the Gates of Dawn, “Listen To What the Flower People Say” sort of album. This is vehement and craving, conscious of its mortality. Which makes the hurried and inspired beauty found in each song all the more poignant. Phreewil noted that this is his favorite contribution to music, and although I’m not familiar with all his work I would be duly impressed to find another such passionate, metaphysically connected contribution to the art, from him or anyone else. Quite generously, the ETS crew opened their doors to several of their friends for contribution, including Asun/Suntonio Bandanaz, Leland Jones, Tru-ID, Milo, Khanfidenz, Audiopoet, and Page1. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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The Key With No Lock

This is the laid-back collaborative effort from Ricky Pharoe & Tru-ID, from 2007. Both emcees are adept at fire; Ricky P’s debut album, Civilized, was an angry young paranoiac’s manifesto, while Tru-ID’s one played out like the diary of a poet in front of a dramatic, cinematic score. Here they tune it down a few notches, creating an album together that rarely achieved the energy of either emcee’s solo outings, but instead played out easy like a late summer afternoon.

Neither emcee tries any stylistic acrobatics in favor of relatively basic flows and sing-song choruses. The beats are likewise relaxed and mid-tempo. Mr. Xquisit, Jewels Hunter, and Camila lend their vocal cords, and Budo, Apoulo, Laidback Luke, Stuart Rowe, Graves, and Artistic Propaganda produce. The album was recorded and mixed by Macklemore (who also contributes lyrically to “The Real Kings.”)

Up until recently, I wrongly thought Ricky was getting beef for making this record; as it turns out for whatever reason it was Ricky who didn’t feel it was up to par with the rest of his work. He may not be naked on the news screaming “come and get me” on this album as much as his previous efforts, but I for one appreciate it as a fine stand-alone record, and as my introduction to these two distinguished emcees. (This review originally appeared on the Bring That Beat Back blog and was written by Jack Devo.)

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Reigncraft, Volume 4: The Labor

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

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If We Try

Hmmm... There's not a lot of information about this project in the museum encyclopedia. We'd love your help! TOWN LOVE is maintained by an awesome community of passionate volunteers who keep it all up to date.

Do you know something about the history of this record? Do you have a favorite lyric or a favorite memory? Send us an email on why this is one of the great hip-hop albums from the Northwest. Thanks!

Did we get it wrong? It happens. Send us an email and let's get it corrected right away!