Midpoint, summer 2014. The number! Another summer! Get down—sounds like a fuckin' bummer. Another genocide, another war raging or brewing, another plane goin' dine. And on our side of things—another meme, another ratchet Worldstar distraction. Where we at? When Public Enemy dropped "Fight the Power," hiphop's anger was aligned with worldwide struggle in a way that felt powerful, fiery, transformative. We learned about South African apartheid and watched that shameful chapter end. Now all our anger, our interests, and our camera phones are aimed only at ourselves. Apartheid rides again, and Palestinian children are being blown to pieces by our best pal Israel, and we're not hearing anybody of national note—well, save Waka Flocka—saying a motherfucking thing about it. Athletes are editing themselves; journalists are getting canned for doing their jobs. People love to complain about "hand-wringing," but they don't give a fuck about all the necks getting wrung. Just like all those people who didn't care when ours were getting shoved into nooses—like, don't you kinda wish there'd been more of that other type of person around back then?
Okay: There's the Capitol Hill Block Party this weekend (don't forget to hydrate), or Mike Stud on July 29 at the Croc (just... don't), or Jay and Beyoncé on July 30 at Safeco Field (don't spend your rent check on tickets and gear). Do: Tell people you love that you love them, like one of y'all were gonna die tomorrow. Do: Dig extra-hard for the stuff you like—art, music, safe spaces to vibe—and if you can't find it, make it. Do: Peep new music from the duo of Alana Belle and KMTK (aka the Loops for Lovers collective), and from soloist Shaprece. Belle and KMTK make beautiful and emotive music together—you hopefully caught their initial Indian Summer from a couple months back. Their breezy and quick EPs tell a story of star-crossed love: "Eastern Standard Time (Suite II) begins where Indian Summer (Suite I) left off," Belle messages me. "Long-distance lovers at a crossroads. She realizes that when she left her love in LA, she ruined it all, because he was done. EST is basically her ode to him and her attempt to get him back." Shaprece's Molting EP is the sound of her never-a-secret potential being realized—she's made leaps and bounds and skips and flights since her 2011 debut. The spare production from IG88 (and the clean strings courtesy of arrangers Phillip Peterson and Daniel Butman) is every bit as icy as Prece's effortless cool—you could spin any of these cuts in between Björk and Amel Larrieux and get everybody swaying like seafloor coral. Find all of the above on the internet—which should remain free and not throttled by "Colluding Oligarchs" like Comcast and Time Warner.
Speaking of that song title I just slid in there, Shabazz Palaces' newest album, Lese Majesty, drops on July 29, and it is a motherfucker—a deep black Independence Day spaceship's shadow rolling over the Emerald City's frail alabaster citadels. We need this. It's streaming on NPR now. Sky up.