What is Sweatsuit & Churchshoes? It's not just the title of late summer 2010's must-have 206 hiphop LP, it's the traditional- issue wardrobe for your unk—your mama or daddy's playa-ass brother way too cool for you to just call Uncle—the one who had you mix his drank (and might let you sip it every once in a while), who always had a different bad one on his arm, who spoke to his patnas in his own language, a funky swamp of slang and game you were too young to navigate until a little older.
When I first got to Seattle in 1992, my playa-ass unk (in true ghetto fashion, we weren't really related, he was just my aunt's—well, technically, my cousin's—boyfriend) drove me around town, from the Esquire Club to Ms. Helen's, showing me what the lay of the land was, giving me some jewels over a plate of catfish and grits. Similarly, Candidt—a stylish, insightful, and endlessly quotable MC with a standout voice—spends Sweatsuit's hour-plus running time steering a big gas-gurgler through the hood, showing you the good, bad, and ugly things his people go through, but making sure to hit every barbecue and cookout on the way (and taking away a stacked plate every time). He'll let you see the funk and dramas (peep "No Stadic" or the Macklemore and T-Love–featuring "Cinnamon Nights"), but he'll also have you in the sun basking in the "Goodtimes" (a DJ Roc'Phella–laced banger that flips Fat Albert's schoolyard chant of "naa-naa-naa-gonna-have-a-good-time" into a mantra). His "b-boy soul" is an instantly recognizable Seattle vintage, funky as pot liquor but never too salty.
Even though he's retired his beloved two-year-strong monthly hiphop variety show, The Corner, Candidt personifies its mission, providing the missing link between hood vets like his CrazedDawgz clique (which includes Tacoma boss Wojack, T-Love, DMS's Dee.Ale, and others), the NW rap superpower Oldominion (whose members are all over Sweatsuit and are enjoying a great run of releases this year), and a new crop of young MCs like State of the Artist (who appear on the two-parter "Super Rappers"). His proven recent classics "Voodoo" (produced by DeeJay) and "Imaginary Stereo" (laced by Tay Sean) are tweaked and remixed here, made even more hale and heavy than before. The wardrobe from Vitamin D, Kuddie Fresh, BeanOne, MTK, Smoke, and Pegee 13 suits "Dizo" to a tee—letting him move smoothly from the block to the club to the function—street, slick, and sanctified.
Now to business: It's that time once again, kids—the Red Bull Big Tune is here! Thursday, September 2, at Neumos, the head-to-head producer battle you know and love goes down, with Seattle Legends Vitamin D, J. Moore, and Jake One hosting, the one and only DV One on the tables, and featuring no less than DJ Toomp, the ATL who helped crown T.I. with "What You Know About That," and Nottz, one of the illest slapcrafters in the game—Dr. fucking Dre called him one of his favorite producers, for Christ's sake. Come through, yell for your faves, boo the wack ones (or just the ones going against your friends)—and then argue about it later! That's half the fun. See you there.