The Seattle Tattoo Convention, going down this week August 15-17 at the Seattle Center, is making a conscious effort to emphasize the urban demographic. In an interview on BET.com, convention organizer Damon Conklin pointed out that although much of tattoo marketing targets a rock 'n' roll audience, "It's my mission to educate the hiphop world about the quality, craftsmanship, and artistry that's in tattooing today." It's not like tattoos are a foreign concept to hiphop culture--if anything, graffiti artists have helped shape many of the new creative designs you see people sporting today. He said his push to target hiphop heads is both business and personal, adding, "It's implicitly a racist market, and I'm black. The tattoo media, because of their musical alignment, fails to reach the vast market of black people. You turn on BET, there are tattoos all day long, everywhere--on the rappers, sports players, and even on the R&B guys. I want my people to get the benefit of the wisdom that I've worked hard to find out on my own."
Sean "Inches" Jackson, Stan "Shakes" Fletcher, and Charles "Lil Get Down" Mason, three of the best players on the popular Spike TV show SlamBall, will sport their tats for the convention, along with Source magazine's Boogie Rosario, and one of the most infamous battle emcees of all time, Canibus. Canibus recently dropped his fourth album, Rip the Jacker, a release that proves he's still not over his differences with LL Cool J. While the major criticism of Canibus in the past has centered on the producers he's worked with, this time around he enlisted the talents of Stoupe (The Enemy of Mankind) of the group Jedi Mind Tricks. This is easily his best album since his debut, Can-I-Bus, and shows that the man isn't going anywhere--unless it's to the Middle East to combat the enemies of George Bush, as he recently enlisted in the armed forces and is rumored to be stationed in Fort Lewis. Rip has several standout tracks--like "Indibisible," for example--and overall it incorporates a much different sound and a real gothic feel. Time will be the real measure, though, to see if this album makes some noise outside the underground message boards that Canibus seems to have locked down.
What happens when a group of high-school kids wanting to do more for the hiphop community send a grant proposal to the city of Seattle? Well, the answer/results go down this Saturday, August 16, at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center, as DJ Kitman will be spinning for an emcee and b-boy battle that will also include a graffiti blackbook and DJ competition, as well as a performance by Cyphalliance.
With the Sprite Liquid Remix Tour hitting Auburn's new White River Amphitheatre on Sunday, August 17, the real question is, where's the after-party at? With artists like Talib Kweli, the Roots, the superfly chick that Nas currently has latched onto--Kelis--and her Star Trak crewmates Pharell, Chad, and Shay's N.E.R.D. , as well as VA comrade Skillz, it's an incredibly dope lineup. After the Roots headline, drummer/producer extraordinaire ?uestlove will be at the Baltic Room along with Vitamin D (10 pm, $10) spinning a DJ set that should be off the ringer--the last time the man came through the I-Spy, it was off the chain. These two can rock a crowd and their musical knowledge is high and comes from the True School era. To say I'm looking forward to ?uestlove spinning would be an understatement. This night will deliver the BEATS. SAMUEL L. CHESNEAU
REQUIRED LISTENING 1. Byrdie, "Fan Favorite" (N Flight)
2. Ras Kass feat. Pharoahe Monch, "I See" (Re-Up)
3. Jurassic 5 feat. Beatnuts, "One of Them" (Up Above)
4. Showbiz & AG, "Hot Spot" (Fat Beats)
5. Jedi Mind Tricks feat. Goretex & Tragedy Khadafi, "Kublai Khan" (Babygrande)
6. Family Tree (Iomos Marad & Capital D), "Push, Move, Build" (Family Tree)
7. Eastern Parallel, "Funk Is On" (Fuzzy Lounge)
8. Dead Prez, "I Have a Dream Too" (dropped from Sony)
9. Brother Ali, "Victory" (Rhymesayers)