Art Vandelay's Breaking Bad Tribute, Eighty4 Fly, and More
Come from a city where we all put in work and we all try to blow up...
Seattle's Eighty4 Fly has proved a savvy processor of popular sounds, giving a 206-bred twist on familiar radio rap—in 2010, it was in fact something like Drake's cavalier singsong shit (see "So Cool"), while today there's purplish shades of that post-Rocky trill ("Go Slow"). In the past, I've felt Eighty4 Fly has fallen short of imprinting his own personality beyond the aspirational, Republican-level balling. While inoffensive and industry-grade, he's still not quite enough to stand out in a world where expensive, imported European designer swag rapping is far cheaper than a dime a dozen.
So imagine my enthusiasm upon finding that the lion's share of Eighty4's latest, COLORS, is so much more satisfying a listen than his previous efforts. His easy balancing of in-the-pocket braggadocio and dynamic, icy-cold production is at its most effective. Not everything works—the interpretation of MGMT's "Kids" in "Cool Kid" is a goofy misstep, but "Slidin Down" sounds (pleasantly) like Modest Mouse's "Float On," screwed for the strip club, slowed down till it sways like underwater flora. The songs with producer A Dot, in particular, capture Eighty4 at his coolest, breezing over high-altitude-cloud sounds, glowing like pool lights at midnight—and by the time "Do It" rolls by, Eighty4 has actually managed to give a glimpse of a hustler hungry to put on for himself, his family, and his city.
You already know the producer Raised by Wolves by now from his work with his cousin Nacho Picasso. A name you might not yet be up on, though, is the Seattle MC 10iSee Williams, whose new album with RBW is cleverly called I See Wolves. 10iSee's snap-on syllable work recalls Detroit MC thoroughness, but better parallels might be made to beat-riding West Coasters like Blu and Co$$. Either way, Wolves is a solid debut for the MC, balancing slick brag-raps, good-natured wack-MC bashing, a yen for social commentary, and some too-infrequent peeks at a proper singing voice—while RBW's backdrops simmer and slap accordingly. So now you know.
Now, it's entirely possible you're doing the Bumbershoot thing, but you should know that Seattle native JaWaan Larue—now living and creating in Florida—is back here in Cascadia on Saturday, September 1, headlining at Nectar with Dyme Def (I hope you've been keeping up with the Fearce & Bean stuff as well as Brainstorm's consistent single joints), Juga Hill (maybe you've caught some of his YouTube free-verse videos), and Peta Tosh.
On Tuesday, September 4, at Nectar, QN5er, distinguished battler, and Brooklynite PackFM drops in with BK's Jonny October plus Art Vandelay, Type with his band Worst Animal, and Griff J. Art Van just dropped a new cut called "Walter White," naturally all on a Breaking Bad tip, and having only seen a few episodes, I didn't want to bump it and hear hella spoilers. No worries, though, it's just Ricky Pharoe pledging allegiance to the grind over Mack Formway's jittery (get it? METH) drums. As far as I know, no Mountain Dew two-liters or imaginary skin bugs were harmed in the making of this song.