Wild cards of the 2015 EMP Sound Off! competition back in March, Seattle's One Above Below None—a collective fronted by MCs Devante Cash and Mundy—ended up taking the whole thing. Watch clips of their performance and see why: Aided by drummer and DJ, their hater-baiting joint "Grimey" sounded and looked fairly riotous. Word is they performed all brand-new tunes in the Sky Church that night—but you can check the budding 2014 work from Cash (Holistik) and Mundy (Trapanese) on the OABN Bandcamp page. You can also check them in close quarters on Wednesday, April 22, at Hollow Earth Radio (swiftly becoming a great place to catch all-ages hiphop shows in the heart of the city), where they play with the excellent Dex Amora and J'Von.
Oakland-born, Seattle-raised MC J'Von has a dope album called Raw Sheep (available on vinyl, even) with Minneapolis producer Ackryte from earlier this year. It's more terrifically soulful-warm basement-level boom-bap very much in the vein of his contemporary Amora. Can I say that I'm loving this throwback underground vibey-vibe going around again? Can't let Blu & Exile down, y'all—speaking of, Her Favorite Color himself pops up on Sheep's "they dnt beleev." I know, it never stopped being made, but this is simply some of the best in our corner, and I'm here for it.
Also underground: the venue Barboza (I hear it's an ancient bro burial ground). On Thursday, April 23, it will host my favorite multi-multitalented Portland mainstay, Sapient—who's been putting it down for a decade-plus, recording, releasing, touring, mustache-growing (he is from Portland), kid-having, mutating, ever expanding his always-sharp musical palette and sardonic bars. His tour-fatigued, graf-kid, indie-underdog, do-it-all steez—and, again, his mustache—kind of reminds me of El-P. Maybe he also needs a fat black rapper to get popping? (I'm not available.) Sape touches down with David Dalla G, Nu Era, Def Dee x La, and PDX jet-setter Tope.
Strange Music's rather dominant indie-rap road show won't be letting up anytime soon—Strange scion Tech N9ne mashes up Showbox Sodo on Friday, April 24, with Krizz Kaliko, embarrassing bro-rapper Chris Webby, West Coast indie mainstay/Paid Dues founder/new Strange Music signee Murs, Flint heshers King 810, and ragga-rapper/singer Zuse, whose best moment on tape so far is last year's bonkers earworm "Treasure" with Young Thug. (Speakin' of: As of press time, I'm not sure how I feel about Barter 6.)
Ya boys Black Magic Noize host an all-ages hiphop party at the Vera Project on Saturday, April 25—while our own world-beating b-boy crew celebrates Massive Monkees Day at the Showbox. Meanwhile, Fat Joe is playing Nectar on Tuesday, April 28, so "Lean Back" and enjoy some "Firewater." (Flawless references!) It always amazed me that the barely rapping guy from DITC brought us Big Punisher and the Terror Squad, before going on to record big platinum hits of the ringtone era. These days, though, Joey Crack is more likely to entice you into his multilevel marketing network. Look up "Market America Fat Joe" on YouTube for a good cry. Can't knock the hustle?