Okay, milkbreath, I'll make this brief: Go see Diamond D this Friday at Nectar, or you're an asshole. It just doesn't get more official than the Bronx-bred D.I.T.C. OG who brought the world Stunts, Blunts & Hiphop. Cancer Rising, Scribes, and Eardrumz & Sentric open up, the host is the best rap writer Seattle ever had (Samson Spears), and the DJs are Fever One and Marc Sense. We absolutely crystal here?
Now let's chat about Khingz. Since he's been on the scene—and that's been a long time now—he's made his hallmark not just his fierce lyrics and lightning-struck delivery, but his individual vision, his refusal to be boxed in. From utterly decimating MC battles to grassroots activism to decrying colonialism and homophobia on his now eight-year-old debut album, Mi Vida Negra, the cat most know as Khalil has always forgone being hard in favor of being complicated. His last decent chunk of work, Abyssinian Creole's Sexy Beast, was a study in the contrasts between him and his brother Gabriel Teodros, with Khingz providing the brassy, boastful counterpoint to Gabe's righteous affirmations.
On his long-awaited sophomore album, From Slaveships to Spaceships, Khingz rolls out his own personal vision of the Harlem Renaissance's New Negro: an outsider, a bookish black skater, a proud "Southside rider" from Rainier Valley who grew up around gangs and "more Filipinos than Daly City." Finding a shockingly expressive middle ground between head-taking lyricism and unblinking outrospection—just check the unstoppable "Bladed Poems"—Khingz is the best he's ever been. The production, mostly courtesy of newcomer Toast, is frantic and futuristic, if at times amateurish, but big K's full commitment insists to your ears that it's all intentional.
Khalil's uncontestable heart remains his greatest weapon, whether it's the sensitive poet's heart he spills dry on joints like "Escape Society" and the title track or the asphalt-bred hoart he shows on fuck-you-I'm-me anthems like "Pony Boy" (which is my serious joint): "It's funny I got dissed for being too dark/But not acting black enough and it tore me apart/Basically I was too nigga and not nigga enough/And it all finished the minute I stopped and said fuck 'em!"
So don't miss the CD release (Sat June 20 at Chop Suey) for someone who will always be one of the finest MCs to ever emerge from Seattle, no matter where his wandering feet take him, be it the Bay, Brooklyn, or Burkina Faso. Also on the bill are the Physics—who, quiet as kept, are readying some of the best hiphop this raggedy town will be lucky to claim as its own, come time—and Yirim Seck, who desperately needs to have an album out soon (be it solo, with LaRue as Black Aries, or with Pearl Dragon and Rajnii as Pyrate Radio). The whole throwdown is being spun by the trumptight Daps1 and hosted by the one and only Spaceman. Going up!