I wanna send love out to the friends and family of 206 Zulu's Tristan Stewart, who recently passed away. Stewart was well-loved and active in the community. As the founder/owner of Spoken Visuals (a live sound and lighting company), he was responsible for the Rise & Decolonize events at Westlake, as well as a slew of other community functions. "He gave 100 percent all the time for the people and the community," says his comrade Julie C, "and was always so happy to be involved and to support those who were serving the community." I didn't know Tristan, but it's readily clear that he is missed and loved by his folks. RIP.
I also wanna send some thoughts and love out to the 509—where the Spokane hiphop scene has been rocked by the loss of MC/DJ/journalist Isamu "Som" Jordan. My thoughts are with his wife, kids, friends, fans, and community, to which it sounds like he was a rock and an inspirational figure. I didn't know Som, but I was aware of the brother's work at the Spokane7 and the Spokesman-Review, as well as his work with his hiphop orchestra Flying Spiders. I caught word of Som's death—which was apparently self-inflicted after a long bout of depression—on what was officially Suicide Prevention Day. It's not at all about me, but it fucked me up to be honest.
I know I wrote about this in January, after the suicides of Freddy E, Capital Steez, and Chris Lighty, but goddamnit, we don't talk enough about mental health. Particularly in hiphop, and in the black and brown communities that hiphop sprang from, absolutely—but also in general. We variously front, put on a face, swallow pills, turn up, eat bad, sleep little, overextend ourselves emotionally and financially, and somehow expect that one day we'll just be rich enough—or just fucking high or checked-out enough—to make it all go away once and for all, without getting at the wound we really carry. Some days, the hurt we hold is as loud as jet engines, and we just pray no one else can hear it. Please, don't just hold that which feels like it will crush you—talk to somebody. I know that's easier said than done. Depression, anxiety, and addiction seemingly darken every corner, but hold on.
I hate to think of somebody skimming this column dismissively because I wasn't talking enough shit—or more to the point, about enough rap, or rap shows, and that is the ostensible reason we are here, so: NW veteranos Chicharones are at the Croc on September 18, the same night that Las Vegas breakout rapper Dizzy Wright appears at Neumos. Closet Bay Area backpacker Mistah Fab and friends can be found at Nectar on the 22nd, and DC double threat producer/MC Oddissee is at the Crocodile on the 23rd. If we're lucky, the last splashes of one of Seattle's most baller summers ever will light our way into the fall—it's gray as I type this, but who's to say what can happen today? Sweet weather metaphor, I know.