I t's been a long time. I shouldn'ta left you, but I had shit to do. So: 2014. In the first week alone, Seattle hiphop has weighed in heavy already. Shall we?
My dog OCnotes (conflict of interest alert: I comanage the guy) dropped Rap Loops on his Bandcamp, a 107-track collection of, well, loops to rap over. "I made this for the people that still freestyle with homies," OC wrote, "the lonesome L blazers that spit to themselves, the Rik Rudes, the LVs... the ones that can spit about somethin' off the head without everything bein' about how they can kill me, out-smoke/drink/drug/fuck me... this is for y'all." Rap Loops may just make your cipher complete.
Right on the heels of his High & Mighty album from October, Nacho Picasso actually dropped the first local release of the year—the seven-track Trances with Wolves, found on his Bandcamp. Thematically, it's in line with his infamous rock 'n' roll excess; qualitatively, it's on par with the last thing he called a "prixtape," 2012's Black Narcissus. For somebody who not too long ago didn't even consider himself a rapper, he's amassed quite an impressive catalog since his first release (late 2010's Blunt Raps). S.A.T., League of Starz, Jake One, Raised byy Wolves, and Mackned all check in on the production. Setting the year off right, the Nacho Man is in position for a big 2014.
Also this year, I predict the rise of the hidden kingdom known as UDF—producer Khrist Koopa and rappers Bolo Nef and Caz Greez (aka Skull & Bones, as they were on their collaboration with Blue Sky Black Death) inhabit a chamber of dead-eyed stickup kid rap, with an encyclopedic drug vocabulary and a certain black-metal-esque esoteric sensibility. Picture Queensbridge meets Memphis, with a side of #based, but somehow still that pure NW teen spirit. The Unity-Diversity-Freedom cult dropped two solid albums last year (Underworld Dust Funk back in April, Bars & Bullets in July), then capped off 2013 with the excellent Caz solo Misfit—and this month, Bolo's Sol Invictus raised the banner (and the bar) even higher. Local ethnomusicologists, please file with the Moor Gang, Avatar Darko, and Olympia/Denver's Gorgeous Children, because what else are you doing with that degree? Bandcamp, again, will get you right.
Lastly, on the entirely opposite end of several spectrums from OC, Nacho, and Bolo, is one of the many things I missed from 2013—Carl Roe & Ripynt's Underrated project. (If Nacho and Bolo evoke grunge, these two are pure adenoidal pop-punk.) Super-hyped vocally speaking and meticulously clean production-wise, the pair proves a natural combo, holding their own and blending seamlessly across nine well-composed tracks of pure mania of the post-Eminem/Yelawolf variety that I'd definitely rather listen to than Marshall Mathers LP 2. Roe comports himself well on the mic and the boards (locally sourcing "Want It for You" from Pearl Jam's classic B-side "Yellow Ledbetter"), and despite his Fukushima-level mouth odor, I can't deny that Ripynt is absolutely at his best here (peep revenge fantasy "The Crow"), so congrats on that (and moving outta Everett). Get that on DJBooth.net, take two, and don't call me.