Sam Lachow & Raz have officially given you 5 Good Reasons—their joint project, available on and other respectable digital domains. Raz, you'll recall, turned in what is possibly the realest song Seattle hiphop made in 2012, "They'll Speak (Intro)"—whose bars, I daresay, could've been spit by Kendrick Lamar himself. On the other side, Lachow—Shankbone alumnus—mines in a far poppier, takin'-it-easy-guy kind of vein, and it works wonders for him (young Seattle's earnest-bro rap scene really puts on, "tho"). It ends up a bit of a tug-of-war, vibe-wise—and "Nothing's Gonna Change" is a little too reminiscent of that Nelly/Tim McGraw cut for its own good—but it's still solid. Hit up the triple-threat release party for this project, plus new music from Moor Gang reps Steezie Nasa and Gift uh Gab, at Neumos on Friday, October 5.

I first wrote about Estonian-born rapper Danny Degtjar in 2005, when he was still known as Young Avatar. He had come up under the wing of NW knights Oldominion and the Stuck Under the Needle crew in their full swing—Yo Son! was popping at Chop Suey and Boom Bap Project ruled the roost—while he was still a high-school freshman, among whatever else ("World class trapper, you can't see me," he spit on his 2009 cut "NASA"). Under the aegis of the mysterious Shadow Company, Avatar soon dropped the "Young" prefix, but eventually added the suffix "Young Blaze" in tribute to his incarcerated streets mentor. All the while, he pumped out consistently high-quality product, including one of my favorite locally sourced mixtapes ever, last year's Danny Darko. Recently, Av hit me up to let me in on the fact that he was consolidating his aliases and was now to be known as Avatar Darko, just in time for the release of his 11th (!) full-length release, the sweltering Soviet Goonion.

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