A film about Northwest hip-hop from

When It Rains

Ryan “RC The Trackaholiq” Croone has been down since day one. His older brother James Croone was a member of Emerald Street Boys, one of the earliest rap groups in Seattle. As a young man, RC got into rap production, and in the mid-1990s he teamed up with rhymer Squeek Nutty Bug. They went in the studio and subsequently dropped Really Cheat’n, one of the all-time, five-star Seattle rap albums.

There are more than two dozen different rappers on RC’s 2002 compilation When It Rains, it’s a prodigious project. Loosegroove put out 14 Fathoms Deep in 1996, and as a theoretic successor, When It Rains could reasonably be nicknamed “24 Fathoms Deep.” This is guileless rap, concentrating on reporting life experiences. Put it this way, you won’t find anyone here looking through the dictionary trying to find five rhymes for “illuminati.”

“They Never Knew,” by sibling team Twin-G and Skuntdunanna is excellent, “possibly the first song they ever did together,” remembers RC. “You’re a one hit wonder, like Young MC or Jody Watley,” says Twin-G mockingly. I especially appreciate the spacey half-minute instrumental flourish at the end. Actually, Twin shows up again on “Greedy Made,” this time joined by Chedder Hound, Culpepper, and “Drop Top” star E-Dawg. “Greedy Made” has unpredictable, punchy energy from the start of verse one. E-Dawg explains, “I bust a tight verse and make St. Helens erupt,” referencing the May 1980 ash cloud which blasted across the region.

The late Gangsta Nutt represents hard on the g-funk blazer “This Ain’t Livin,” which is a textbook example of true synergy between a producer and a rapper. Nutt’s cadence goes together with the Trackaholiq beat like Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro. Another notable cut is the menacing “No Fabrikashun” by Crafty. Famous Seattle turntablist DV One does the scratches on the cut, and the beat creates drama and suspense. Meoshi drops a respectable verse on her edifying track “My Eyes.” “Some take the easy route, some take the pills to the head, because their problems overwhelm them y’all, they’d rather be dead,” she raps. But all is not lost, she reminds aspiring artists to, “strive to be the one immortalized from your hood.”

When It Rains is an ambitious project, it’s really a one stop shop to learn about the diversity of rap talent in Seattle. In 2022, RC celebrated the 20th anniversary of this release, and he recently told me that the compilation wouldn’t have been possible without the help of two key people, G Prez and DJ Kun Luv. G Prez ran Sea-Sick Records which put out the CD, and Kun Luv was the head of Seaspot Promotions, one of the largest media organizations for Seattle hip-hop culture. Thanks gentlemen! Written by Novocaine132

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