Hear this—the word Fundamentals is no longer purely the province of Christian terrorists and white basketball, it's also the name of the latest project from the CD's son Porter Ray, and it's a shot of life much needed in this very strange time. He is officially Ishmael Butler's first signee to Sub Pop, the label that built this city on rock and roll. If I'm not mistaken, the Pop's signed more hiphop than anything else since 2011, and there's now officially enough black faces on the SP roster to make an SPD cruiser slow down. Will this signal a scene-climate sea change as did the wondrous discovery of the banjo? Other NW labels, do you have the cojones, taste, or ability to market hiphop? I'll wait.
Back to P, tho—this, his fourth project to date, is another chapter of his young-life old-soul tales of expensive taste, fast sex, and easy setups, interspersed with phoned-in reminiscences from his behind-the-wall homie D-Bleeze. With a contemporary sway and a natural, uncontrived grasp of classic Seattle hiphop's watery essence, Porter and company—Nate Jack and Yung Ike—never fail to paint the CD blocks, our people, "this city of art and grass," as sharply as a young Nas so graphically did of his native Queensbridge. And that's no hyperbole. With glittering, mellow vibes provided by producers KMTK, B Roc, MFB, and Mugzy Stylez, and flourishes from JusMoni and Alana Belle, not to mention Moor Gang's Cam the Mac, Fundamentals is a primer of fly street life, as it's executed and observed here in our particular corner of things. Shouts-out to him and his team for making it happen.
More good news: Federal Way's young spitfire Romaro Franceswa is finally back with a new seven-track project with the OG BeanOne called Live from the Soufside. Ro's a thoughtful and fiery orator, gifted with a mean, malleable fire-hose-flow and high-register tone that somewhat recalls another Good Kid from another M.A.A.D. City, though the warm, understated production (Beanerino does some really great work here) and heady subjects within are more akin, vibe-wise, to Section.80. The team puts in great work for the 253 and the 206, advancing my secret agenda to see a formidable Cascadian rap renaissance that shakes up both the line beards of the old guard and the shortsighted yung-fuck brigade coast to coast.
I got ahold of a new project from Jamel Moxey and Kayne O under the name Imprints—from that Honor Roll (Kung Foo Grip) massive. The basement-demo quality is MF top-notch if you're into that sort of thing, which I certainly am—Moxey has some great, smart bars to match: "Don't get trapped in thoughts of trappin'/Skinned and sold, that's how you'll end up/Pelts and belts, held by contenders/Sandwiches with chicken tenders." Coupled with the Cake & $alad tape I reviewed some weeks back, among other things, it seems like HR is doing some great work in the underground/lyrical vein that reminds me why I ever tightened my backpack straps in the first place.