A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
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November 13, 2013 at 9:35 AM
Atlanta’s burly-voiced rap preacher Killer Mike has had an unusual career arc – coming up as part of the Outkast-affiliated Dungeon Family in 2000 before stepping out as an independent solo artist with his severely-underrated “I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind” mixtape series, then experiencing a late-career revival in the last couple years after collaborating with Brooklyn veteran (and former head of definitive indie-rap label Definitive Jux) El-P for his 2012 “R.A.P. Music” and this year’s Run the Jewels self-titled. Soundposts caught up with him via phone right before he had to head out on his last run of shows for the year to talk about politics and, of course, rap music. (more…)
November 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM
“Bad Guy,” the intensely dramatic opening track of Eminem’s eighth album, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” is over seven minutes of the Detroit veteran displaying that he’s not only still really, really good at rapping, but also still a master of “Da Art of Storytellin” (all due respect to Andre 3000). After the opening track reveals itself as a sequel to the first Marshall Mathers LP’s runaway narrative hit “Stan,” and the following skit track seems to pick up right where that same, now 13-year-old album’s closer “Criminal” left off, it appears for a brief moment as if Eminem might actually be rivaling his pre-”Encore” output – some of the best to come out of that era.
But then track three, “Rhyme Or Reason” starts. Within one minute, Eminem is rapping in a Yoda voice over a sample of The Zombies’ “Time Of the Season,” and any momentum built up in those first eight is swiftly dashed. Things fail to get much better from there, although Em’s spit-flecked, multisyllabic rappity-rapping is in rare (or just retro) form, almost enough to make you forget how awful these beats are. Those looking for pure lyrical skill might enjoy the “Marshall Mathers LP 2,” but the album’s appeal hinges mostly on how badly the listener wants to hear a 41-year-old rap over Joe Walsh and Billy Squier samples.
I’m no ageist, but something about Eminem complaining about his struggles with computers (“My apologies/no disrespect to technology/but what the heck is all of these buttons?”) is wildly hilarious and insanely depressing at the same time.
October 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Earl Sweatshirt has always been known as the youngest member of L.A.’s raucous skate-rap collective Odd Future, but his recent album, “Doris,” cemented the notion that he’s also its best rapper. With a style and deadpan delivery that echoes underground legends like MF Doom more than it tries to duplicate the dumbed-down, autotuned pop standard, Sweatshirt’s retro/modern raps are some of the sharpest, purest out right now.
9 p.m. Wednesday at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $21.50-$25 (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
October 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM
Last night Kanye West kicked off his Yeezus tour with a two-hour rap-opera of a performance that was grandiose yet minimal, unsettling yet inspirational — and often tiptoed the line between theatrical corniness and artistic genius. (more…)
October 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM
Polarizing producer/rapper/fashion icon and self-described “Number-One rock star on the planet” Kanye West has had a hell of a year both musically and in the public eye — from releasing “Yeezus,” the most ambitious album of his career, to having a baby with professional celebrity Kim Kardashian. This Saturday he kicks off his Yeezus Tour at KeyArena — the same venue where he started his last solo “Glow in the Dark” Tour in 2008 (though he did make a stop at the Tacoma Dome in 2011 with Jay-Z on their Watch the Throne tour). (more…)
October 8, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Seattle duo THEESatisfaction’s first major follow-up to last year’s breakout “awE naturalE,” their EP “And That’s Your Time” is both a return to self-releasing after a stint with Sub Pop, and their first release since member Stasia Irons’ recent move to New York.
Though the record is only 19 minutes long and roughly four of its tracks actually contain verses or vocals, the instrumentals and interludes are hardly wastes of space. Bits of thought-provoking dialogue and commentary fill in the blanks, from an ignorantly privileged caucasian’s rant about “5 things black people should think about doing,” to the album’s poignant last uttered phrase: “the Obama plantation.”
The art of the sample flip – something THEESatisfaction has always excelled at – is readily on display throughout the record, with the duo chopping up classic breaks and even the beat from LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl” into moody, autumnal head-nodders.
Standout track “Queen County (4 Women)” is a triumph in the form of an all-local, all-female posse cut of sorts, featuring Moor Gang “first lady” Gift Uh Gab and singer/rapper JusMoni contributing explosive guest verses. But even with the nearly show-stealing features, “And That’s Your Time“ is another distinct and well-crafted addition to THEESatisfaction’s already deep catalog.
October 6, 2013 at 5:40 PM
Last night the first Macefield Music Festival — once known as the Seattle Weekly’s Reverb Fest – brought some of Seattle’s brightest talents in beats and raps to Ballard’s Sunset Tavern. While the Weekly’s Reverb often had plenty of local indie/guitar-based offerings, it often fell way short of a well-rounded bill in this department, and Macefield’s organizers should be commended for booking three of the city’s best producers — Kid Smpl, Vox Mod and Keyboard Kid — and three heavy-hitting, fast-rising rap acts — Key Nyata, Jarv Dee and ILLFIGHTYOU – all at the same venue. (more…)
October 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Detroit rapper Danny Brown’s “Old” — the newly released follow-up to his breakout 2011 opus of drugs, sex and desperation, “XXX”— has a double meaning to its title.
On one hand it refers to his age and unconventional career arc, only rapping “seriously” since 2007 after serving jail time for charges caught while selling drugs as a teen, and being 30 years old when “XXX” dropped. On the other, it’s a shot at the former fans and rap nerds decrying his post-”XXX” shift in sound from more gritty dopeman narratives to electronic-leaning, molly-popping party rap. (more…)
September 20, 2013 at 5:03 AM
“I was essentially creating a music festival for myself,” explains Decibel Festival mastermind Sean Horton jokingly. “I didn’t like the fact that all this quality music was being produced and distributed all over the world, and there was no place for me to go experience it in a live context.”
Seattle’s annual citywide electronic-music event will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week as it packs 11 local venues with more than 130 artists and DJs from all over the world over the course of five days.
Headliners include recent breakouts and emerging talents — Russian-German electro-house producer Zedd, Chicago “EDM-trap” pioneers Flosstradamus, 16-year-old New Zealand electropop singer/songwriter sensation Lorde, deep house musician Nicolas Jaar (whom Horton says they have been trying to book for “close to five years now”). (more…)
September 13, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Production duo Blue Sky Black Death’s upcoming fourth solo album Glaciers — out October 1 — has just six songs on it, but only one of them has a runtime under 10 minutes. True to it’s title, the expansive compositions are “slow-moving, giant, and freezing-cold” epics that fully realize the group’s signature ambient instrumental sound.
Recently premiered track “III” which repurposes and expands upon a loop from “Black Hearts” — the eerie opening track from last year’s Presents: Skull & Bones album featuring local rappers Bolo Nef and Caz Greez — was recently revealed to have over 240 individual audio tracks making up its 13:27 runtime. Members Kingston Maguire and Ian Taggart say that “III” is the first time they have taken a rap track and expounded on it for an instrumental album.
“When we lived back in Santa Rosa like in ’05 we tried to do a 15-minute song,” Taggart says. “We never really finished it, but the idea was always there… we came to a point where we were actually able to execute it.” (more…)
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