Things you might've missed this month: In the first week of July, US police killed more people than they did any other week in 2015 (more than 500 people this year so far); a gang of people got shot (82) and killed (14, including a 7-year-old boy) over Fourth of July weekend in Chicago; and two staunchly defended symbols of American heritage, for vastly different segments of the population—namely, the Confederate flag and Bill Cosby—finally came down. (The former by state decree, the latter by the subject's own words.) Let it not be lost on you that the Coz's own testimony—where he admits he purchased quaaludes with the intention of drugging women—was unsealed only because a judge felt that Cosby's self-appointed status as a "public moralist" (chiefly at the expense of young black folks) made it a matter of significant public interest. Hope that pound cake tastes good.
Things you might've missed in the realm of local rap, though, include the second album from Central District rep East25, North Pacific Breeze (98144). He's been an underdog favorite of mine since I ran across the video for his "2 or 3 AM"—a personal classic off his 2012 album Learning & Earning. East's roughly recorded songs still manage to be blended whiskey-smooth; they're refreshingly understated in an old-soul mold that's rare to find these days. Whether he's singing his hustler's blues or something-for-the-ladies, he's never out of bounds, extra, or even disrespectful. "Ain't with all that yapping with a poked-out chest," East wearily intones on "Right and Tight." Down for his move-around (and that good ol' underground free market), he also bigs up his PDX connects down I-5 on "We Do (Trailblazer Hats & Space Needle Tattoos)."
Speaking of our neighbors down the interstate, Tacoma crew :30 have recently come on the scene way strong with their double-sided (that is to say, two whole SoundCloud playlists) debut tape, AM/PM. Made up of Keon Simms, Scooby Miles, Phx, SheedBe, and DJQJ, the crew waxes drowsy South Sound trap-funk over doped-up synths and lazy 808s—imagine a low-key, Northwest-coast take on HBK's grimier, cockier mobb-music revivals. The debut is pure "antisocial thug" shit, reptile-blooded and money-minded, naturally distrustful of those talking too much, too loud. Tacoma stays producing some of the Northwest's best hardcore rap shit, since Seattle barely knows what to do with it—so if there are still any actual rap lovers who read this column, get familiar.
Lastly, you might've heard that Malice & Mario Sweet have added a member—singer Shelby Poole—to the mix. This gem fusion (shout-out to Steven Universe) has created the super-charged SMS, whose new album sparkles with a summer-suited, carefree soul drawing from the last three decades' best sounds, thanks to ace producers Tall Black Guy, Vitamin D, and Jake One. (Speaking of Jake, SMS's too-brief take on Tuxedo's "So Good" on "SMS Radio" just makes you wish for more.) The once-duo is even more Sweet (and not syrupy) as a trio, blending like sugar, water, and lemon—so sip responsibly.