Used to have minerals and zinc in it,
Now they say it got lead and stink in it.
—Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), "New World Water"
Don't want no lead in your child, but them gangstas put lead in your child.
—Nas, "No Idea's Original"
The place that gave us MC Breed, Ready for the World, and the Dayton Family—Flint, Michigan—has hot and cold running toxic waste coming out of its taps. A perfect storm of jaw-dropping neglect and disregard for mostly black, overwhelmingly poor Flint has resulted in a political house fire and a bunch of goddamn babies with three times the normal amount of lead in their blood. The effects of lead poisoning in young children can't help but remind one of the effects—cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and such—that are said to be the result of prenatal cocaine exposure. Crack babies to lead babies—baby, what we gonna do?
How many times they gonna kill us, how many ways? Kanye voice: How many? When is the criminality of the white executive class that obliterates poor people for profit going to become illegal? I'll wait. Please dust my skeleton from time to time.
I've been peeping how the local underground has been creeping back into Pioneer Square, which I think is a good move, as we all know that Capitol Hill's done gone to the fucking dogs—you could make at least a side of a mixtape with cuts bemoaning this fact (start with Don't Talk to the Cops' "Kicked Out of Capitol Hill," Wimps' "Capitol Hill," and Tacocat's "I Hate the Weekend" for starters). As the land barons build up, dive deep, infest the foundations.
The Central Saloon, one of the city's oldest bars, a spot that (I've heard) the entire Seattle rock scene used to cram itself into in the late 1980s, hosts hiphop on the regular via the Stay Happy Collective's 1st Thursdays—who keep the collective energy flowing, with everything from Black Magic Noize's crate-crust to DoNormaal's luminous queen-trap. Rap bookings happen other nights too: Midwestern throwback Landon Wordswell comes through on Wednesday, January 20, with BMN producer/MC Araless, underground hero Astro King Phoenix, Ill Writer's Guild, and Son the Rhemic. Move around.
It wasn't rap, but I just saw one of my favorite shows in a while at the Crocodile: Customs' DJ Paypal, DJ Mastercard, 7777777 (aka DJAO), and DJ NHK Guy show was revelatory and well-attended. The Croc keeps rap cooking in both its showroom and back bar, but this month's Home Slice, on Saturday, January 23, is in the main space with a double-stack of NW underground kings headlining: Specs Wizard and Silas Blak. Supporting this, aside from yourself perhaps, would be Sir Withers—the Marvel Team-Up of Seatown's Dil Withers and LA's Sir Froderick—as well as Rob Castro and Keith Naccarato's Meteor Killers project, and DJ Able Fader.
If you're still following the bread crumbs for good times under the radar, Filthy Fingers United are doing BEATSPACE at Broadway's Therapy Lounge—the same night Bone Thugs milk the 20th anniversary of "Tha Crossroads" at the Neptune (Sunday, January 24), and the night before millennial Trapsoul singer Bryson Tiller makes his all-ages Seattle debut at the Showbox (Monday, January 25).