w/DJ Dyce and WD40
Sun May 25, Common Fire (102 1/2 N 36th St, Fremont), 11:30 pm until sunrise, $15.
Silas Blak of the local hiphop duo Silent Lambs Project has just completed a solo project called Slow Burn, which will be out on May 25. As with Silent Lambs' previous recordings, Slow Burn is a twisted, brooding, and beautifully murky work of art. I recently had the opportunity to ask one of the most complex rappers in our city some very basic questions.
What's the meaning behind the title Slow Burn?
Slow Burn is the name of the album because, as my man Skeme says, my style is really, really slow and yet it has heated messages. And not necessarily messages but perspectives, because I'm not saying anything that anybody else is not saying, I'm just saying it different. What I'm attempting with Slow Burn is to introduce, as the Silent Lamb has always tried to do, a whole new way of looking at things.
Do you make beats? And describe your aesthetic, your sound, if you have one.
I don't make beats, which is a skill I have always admired; as simple as it seems [to create them], it's very complex, so I just leave that to the cats that got the ear for it.... What I look for are dark beats. I like deep chords, strings, and ghostly piano keys. I'm always trying to achieve a dark and profound sound that relates to my raps. I like puzzles and riddles and stuff like that, so that's why I rhyme like that.
I understand that Silent Lambs Project was formed in the Central District in the early '90s--what do you think of that neighborhood now? Is it still important to your crew or has it changed to the point of irrelevance?
It's the first time I've really called it the Central District--we used to call it the C.D. See, and that in itself is really deep; it shows the way the whole area has changed. It's evident to anyone that comes through there that the area is not what it was. It's actually been taken, somewhat like a hostile takeover, because it wasn't but 10 years ago when I could go through there and see about 10, 15 brothers on the corner--whether they was waiting on the bus or waiting to cross the street or hanging out. Now those people are further south, and it's not because they wanted to go, it's just because the rent all of the sudden went up.
The C.D. used to be where all the MCs lived and performed, especially at the Langston Hughes Center; Vitamin D, Tribal Productions, Source of Labor, Maniac B--many cats that I know honed their skills at Langston Hughes. And if it wasn't Langston Hughes, it was one of the blocks in the C.D., or Judkins Park. In fact that's where I first met Seattle hiphop, at Judkins Park, at a barbecue that had a hiphop contest with mad brothers.
What's your position on the father of Seattle hiphop, Sir Mix-A-Lot?
I'm from North Carolina, and we used to hear the dude's tape and it was like watching a show on TV that you know is mad stupid but you just can't help but watch this shit. It was just like: I can't believe this cat got away with this "Buttermilk Biscuits." Where I'm from, cats was amazed, we was amazed! When I got to Seattle, I went straight to Broadway, like, "Man, Broadway gotta be the hot shit because of this dude's song 'Posse on Broadway.'" But it wasn't all that.
What's in the future for Silent Lambs Project?
We got a lot of big plans for the way we're going to continue to present our music and get our information out. Seattle should stop fronting on what we do, and find ways to just deal with us. But you know, there ain't no stopping what we are gonna do. There's no way to stop it because we didn't create it. We just jumped on this particular wave and noticed it for what it was and appreciated it. And you know, other people are going to go onto other waves, new trains of thought, and start creating even more crazy shit. We just want to be part of these revolutions in hiphop.