Yesterday, before I wrote this, it was pissing rain outside. Today it is gray and merely spitting and North Face shells dot the sidewalk. It'll probably be hot and sunny when you read this. Appropriately, there's a new Dark Time Sunshine song—called "No Worries," so have none—and tour, jumping off at the Vera on Thursday, July 31.
Friday, August 1, is the album-release party at Neumos for Shabazz Palaces' (yes, my guys) masterful Lese Majesty. As of late, I've heard new yet-to-be-released music from THEESatisfaction (not to mention the solo loosies from Stas THEE Boss and Sassy Black), OCnotes, and even Porter Ray. The Black Constellation is heavy as a motherfucker and picking up speed. If that is not something you can wrap your shit around, or drop your dollars on, know that on that same night—over at the Crocodile—you got New Orleans beast Kevin Gates spitting his high-grade base-rock rap, sounding like gruff reincarnated bluesman turned corner boy.
Less than an hour south of Seattle, our neighbors in Tacoma are rolling out heat: Last week, the same night that the Sandlot guys (ILLFIGHTYOU, Jeanleon, Jai xJrm) inaugurated the opening of the eTc Tacoma store with live sets, the Y-Lyfer Leezy Soprano was celebrating his newest album, Never Enough, over at a sold-out Jazzbones. Leezy is on his best foot, with a well-maintained balance of understated g-swagger and boast, with well-crafted, thoughtful lyrics over slapping production—have money, have street, have heart, as E-40 said. Also new from the 253: Second Family's Grit City is hands down their best stuff and, much like Leezy's release, is well-balanced with hardcore, consistent-clever rhymes from Cally Reed, aka Element, and melodic, sticky hooks—some from cats like August Alsina, some by Cally himself. Sleep not. Tacoma has got a nice vanguard of hardcore, and I love it. Visualize a Cascadian hiphop scene that rivals anywhere else—it's not so hard if you try, try-hards. Any Seattle rapsters still on that ol' zip-code funk might wanna check their product—you better make sure your quality control is on par with the shit coming outta everywhere, but it certainly has to be able to compete with our cousins down I-5.
A couple hours south is Portland, Oregon, and 43 hours east from there you'll find Portland's son Luck-One, now a NYC resident. Accordingly, Luck, who was never a slouch before, has recently gotten his work ethic and exposure up with a 10-week-deep of weekly loosies via the 2DopeBoyz blog—nothing like New York to put the pressure on to produce. Portland, meanwhile, is bubbling under just the right conditions—an oppressive police force and a slowly awakening music scene. Mark my words, the entire NW will become a hiphop powerhouse in a decade. Another NW native ternt NYC resident, the Good Sin, has just released his latest album, Life Before, on iTunes—peep the singles "Two Lips (Roses)" and "Promise Me." Move around.