Get Heard out of the Hood
You, yes you, can find your thug motivation at the Neptune on Tuesday, March 27, as Atlanta's Young Jeezy brings his slightly crime-oriented rap back to Seattle. Yeeeeeah along with him, kids!
Opening is Fatal Lucciauno, and I couldn't imagine a better fit from the local mix outside of Av Young Blaze, who opened for Jeezy last time at the Showbox. Both cats, fresh off dope new releases, are building and solidifying their fan base here, but it's felt frustratingly slow to catch on, as the huge influx of local fan support in the last few years does not seem to correspond with anything outside of the narrow, posi-party sensibility. Now to be clear, kids, I'm all for the posi-party and good life choices, but can Seattle street rap ever really catch on? Seems like a lot of factors stand in the way of that happening.
There's the fact that it's Seattle, meaning not Chicago's South Side or something. Yeah, there are real hoods here (FYI, "hood" means more than just an impoverished locality, it also refers to the folks representing it), but a person from another city (or a better-off section of this one) might never believe it. Mainstream Seattle, aka middle-aged-to-old white men and women, as it stands, have nothing to gain from helping proliferate the messages of a marginalized people's pain and anger. The push has to come from the streets, but the "streets" haven't provided the cushion of support for local rap (be it monetary or simply moral) that you might see in Atlanta, Oakland, the D, or what have you. Maybe this has to do with another factor: The grand majority of Seattle street rap (there's a lot) has sucked, historically. (Don't, like, shoot me—you can probably assume I'm not talking about anybody I've written about and bigged-up in the last nine years.) Why should the hood support or keep supporting an artist (buy product, spread the word, go to shows) who doesn't think they deserve better than hella outdated, cheap-sounding beats, zero personality or detectable rap skills, and rehashed clichés they can hear executed far better via devilish commercial TV and radio? (Taste! People have it everywhere.) It's fine if you're a hoodstar turned rapper, but any of that goodwill is going to dry up when the product is more stepped on than fucking Taco Bell meat.
My unsolicited advice: Get prolific! Drop lots of really good music. This seems to work pretty good. Also, cats bragging about getting money: Invest it in promo. Not wrapping the SUV status, I'm talking cool, quality videos, plus actual radio and internet promo (blogs! People read them I guess?). Beats: Get with the times, understand that the 2001 joints aren't cutting it. Maybe even develop some taste for spacey/edgy/forward-thinking production. (Just look at what Nacho Picasso's been doing with Blue Sky Black Death, look at Main Attrakionz, G-Side, and a million others.) I for one want to see somebody kicking some hardcore shit get the town (and, most importantly, beyond) behind them to the point that they can't be ignored, here or anywhere else. And that is the gospel.