A film about Northwest hip-hop from

My Hooptie

“My Hooptie” recounts another comic book caper from Mix-A-Lot, Attitude Adjuster, and the rest of the posse. It’s a bit of a revisit of “Posse on Broadway”: The crew are driving around the CD neighborhood, being fly, picking up girls, this time visiting McDonald’s. They run into Mix’s ex who tries to shoot out their headlights, but he runs over her toes instead. A bunch of silly stuff happens. The bass line is spectacular.

Mix namedrops “Hilltop” as a way to establish his street cred—and works in samples from N.W.A. and Public Enemy in case you didn’t think he was gangster enough. The posse roll into Tacoma to pick up the new Criminal Nation cassette and then visit a military club to size up the competition: Both obvious nods to the strength of Tacoma’s burgeoning NW rap scene. But Mix is hip to it, too.

This brings us to the key question: What is a “Hooptie” exactly? Mix explains that how his Benz is in the shop. So, for now, he’s gotta drive this loaner junk car, and it’s making him look bad.

It’s not hard to see “My Hooptie” as a clear metaphor for Mix’s increasingly strained relationship with his own label, NastyMix. CEO and money man Ed Locke was investing all those dollars Mix was generating into rock, speed metal, euro-disco, and synth-pop acts, diluting NastyMix’s identity as a Northwest rap label. Like his “Hooptie,” he’s gotta make excuses for this reliable clunker that he’s currently stuck with.

Throughout 1990, Mix stated his desire to start another rap label—this time his own, “so I can get a little more creative control over what goes out… I know rap… I don’t think NastyMix [does],” he said to The Rocket that year.

This 12” single features the stripped-down “Still Runnin’” remix and bonus song, “Society’s Creation,” about the government’s role in the nation’s crack epidemic.

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A film about Northwest hip-hop from

Seminar

On the cover of Mix’s second full-length album, he and the posse—Kid Sensation, Maharaji, and Attitude Adjuster—sit in Greek robes, carving their songs into stone. But flip it upside down and there they are again, in reflection, dressed as revolutionaries.

When interviewed about his latest album, Mix was defiant: “I don’t care if it sells just one copy… I’m happy with this record.” But Seminar was a smash. It sold a million copies. It went gold… And eventually platinum, too. It spawned three massive hit singles: “Beepers,” “My Hooptie,” and “I Got Game.”

It’s clear from the moment you drop the needle that Mix is trying something new. One year previous, Public Enemy’s Nation of Millions blew up rap like an atomic bomb, and every artist was now scrambling to incorporate messages of justice and race into their lyrics.

When asked about his own politics, Mix replied, “I love this nation… that’s why I criticize it. I love my car… that’s why I tune it up.” In the song “National Anthem,” he criticizes the systemic racism in our government and policing—as relevant in ‘89 as it is today. It will probably also inspire you to read about Iran-Contra affair on Wikipedia in order to decipher the lyrics.

The second side opens with “The (Peek-A-Boo) Game,” a sad story ripped from the headlines: A young woman is forced into the sex trade only to meet her end at the hands of the Green River Killer. In the late ‘80s, there was an active serial killer who murdered 71 young women in the Seattle and Tacoma area, and so people were understandably scared. (The killer wasn’t caught until 2001.)

The most baller track on this record is “Goretex,” an ass-kicking, foot-stop ode to great boots. The beats and synths here are massive, floor-shaking thumps. Mix’s verses weave and dodge and land punches. I always laugh when the chorus sings “sound effect” in response to each of the posse’s activities.

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