Super tight and definitely inspiring.

Cole DeLeon, Isaiah Sneed, and Nick Beeba are Brothers from Another—the hiphop crew opening for De La Sol at Experience Music Project on June 20 as the kickoff to EMP's Influencers Concert Series. Having toured with Macklemore, Sol, and Blue Scholars, they're set to self-release their album Windows Down in July. The young men—who defiantly advocate the Rainier 12-ounce curl in a city full of potheads—spoke with The Stranger about the nature of their friendship and getting started in the hiphop scene.

What were your original impressions of this city, and how have they changed over time? Beeba: Love Seattle. Change is natural, and we're not going to like all of it. It's a unique time for our city and one filled with a lot of opportunity for everyone. Traffic still sucks, we still don't have an NBA team, the Mariners are still getting everyone's hopes up, and despite all of this we're still the most beautiful city in the world. Funk with us.

How did you meet, and how did you get interested in hiphop? DeLeon: Isaiah and I met playing Little League at Rainier Community Center. Beeba and I met on Myspace, ha. I'm the youngest of six kids—the five before me played nothing but A Tribe Called Quest, TLC, Tupac, and Outkast... I never really had a choice.

Sneed: In the basement of Lakeside School's digital-media building, there was a full recording studio. We chose studio time over midterm papers. My mom tried to shelter me from hiphop early on, but I stole my older brother's CDs and snuck away to listen to them.

Beeba: I was always really into music, played a couple different instruments, went through an alternative rock phase where I was in a band called the Faults. Shortly after, I saw A Tribe Called Quest live, and nothing was the same. Had my own hiphop radio show that was run out of a basement in Ballard and interned at Sunday Night Sound Session, came upon some turntables, and yeah, turn up.

Does the racial disparity make any difference in how the band is received? Has it been an obstacle for anyone? DeLeon: Pretty close. My mother is Panamanian. We just try to spread good vibes and contribute to the conversation where we can. Race has never been a factor from the inside, but I'm not sure what the perception is from the outside. Hiphop is an interesting genre, in that anybody with a computer can make the music. It's a strange and borderline-hypocritical place to be, where I see why people are annoyed with frat rap, but also in a weird, small way being a piece of that. At the end of the day, you just have to be who you are and try to do what makes you happy, and for us that has always been making music.

Sneed: It's never been an obstacle in my eyes. I realize we can't control how people receive us. People might think because I'm black, rapping with what appears to be two white guys on subject matter that's far different than what your average 40-year-old white woman would expect, I wouldn't be "accepted" within the different subsets of rap. I think that's ignorant, and I believe race is a huge part of that. Fact is, I'm a black kid raised on 28th and Yesler, who got shipped out to a private school on scholarship, and I rap about my life with my friends. We never try to be anything we aren't as individuals, and collectively just try to spread positivity in our own way. I think everybody receives us well because of that.

How did you start out playing live? Beeba: We take an incredible amount of pride in our live shows; we really want it to be an experience. We spend a lot of time practicing in garages where we use TV remotes as microphones. I think one of the coolest things I have heard people say about our shows is that it just looks like we're a couple best friends having the time of our lives up there. And that is exactly what it is.

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How does it feel to open for De La Soul? What does the band mean to you? Beeba: I remember watching De La Soul rock at Bumbershoot in 2009, and just seeing the way those three interacted with each other on stage was super tight and definitely inspiring, and now for us three to be sharing the stage with them is crazy.

Sneed: I can't believe it. It just feels like somebody somewhere thinks what we're doing is good, and that's tight. I hope to attend to the show with a pen and pad and take notes. recommended