The Hiphop Tip

by Samuel L. Chesneau

For the past four years, the Howell family has successfully maintained a vegan sandwich shop, Hillside Quickies, in the University District. To celebrate, Ayinde Howell, a spoken word poet from the Urban Scribes Project, is throwing an anniversary celebration this Saturday, December 27, at Chop Suey with the legendary femcee Medusa of the group Feline Science. The all-ages portion of the show will also feature Jennifer Johns, DJ Topspin, and the Blue Scholars--who are busy prepping for their soon-to-be-released eponymous new album.

For those wanting to get crunk, the late show will feature the last solo performance of the year by Reggie Watts, as well as the instrumental band Iguales. DJ Gold Drop will be the selector for the late-night portion of the show while Topspin heads down to Baltic Room for the fifth installment of Zero, a successful monthly event that puts a house-party type vibe in the Cap Hill bar (Topspin will be working alongside Zero resident DJ B-Mello).

Now while for personal reasons it's hard for me to regret things that I've said, since this is the regrets issue, I will say I regret writing about Aaron McGruder--cartoonist for the socially/politically sharp comic The Boondocks--who decided to treat the good folks at Shoreline Community College to a cancellation two days prior to his speaking engagement. (Wack move on his part, but his strip is still funny and I hope he has a makeup date.)

And it was refreshing to see an abundance of new faces like Bad Luk and Young Have Not emerge on the emcee scene this year. On the other hand, when Brainstorm 3 finally went down in November, a teenage kid from California by the name of Bo-Rat took home the $2,500 prize and trophy--further proving that the current crop of Northwest up-and-comers really need to step up their game to beat the competition. Maybe 2004 will be the year when an emcee from the Northwest takes a prize home for the Wetlands so we don't regret giving another competition away.

Overall, though, 2003 was less about regrets and more about the Northwest hiphop scene taking another solid step in the right direction. Lifesavas, Onry Ozzborn, and Sleep catapulted themselves into national recognition by releasing hit albums to critical press appreciation, touring across the country, and, in the case of Lifesavas, having a song played on the hit ESPN show Playmakers. (Lifesavas will close their year on a high note New Year's Eve by performing at the Heaven and Hell Ball at Consolidated Works.)

In this next year, it'll be interesting to watch how the local and national hiphop scenes react to new material from Grayskul (Onry and JFK), Boom Bap Project's first full-length, and Byrdie's NFlight project. Hopefully this time next year they'll all look back on 2004 with no regrets.