Okay, let's nut up here and be honest: There's beef in these Northwest streets. Straight up rap beef, a fault line of funk that runs through our region, a deep-seated, grinding friction between the tectonic plates of our overlapping scenes that threatens to erupt into an orgy of violence at any moment. Club owners, bookers, make your blacklists and check them twice; bar the windows, keep your eyes peeled and your ears mashed to the asphalt for warnings of the apocalypse—hell, if there's any irresponsible gossip to spread about artists currently struggling to succeed in Seattle's always hiphop-friendly environs, do it! Do it now! For fuck's sake, BATTLE STATIONS!
Just look no further than the titanic showdown going down at the High Dive on May 2—billed as Sportn' Life vs. Focused Noise, the night makes plain hiphop's savagely combative nature. The Portland-based Focused Noise camp—fun boom-bapsters Animal Farm, speech tactician Serge Severe, and universal souljah Mic Crenshaw—faces off with the notorious Sportn' Life Records, composed of the "God Like" D.Black (soon to drop Rejuvenation, a testament to self-transformation), the Black Star Power of Spaceman, and the town's most controversial (and scariest named!) artist, Fatal Lucciauno. Did the staff of the High Dive not get the e-mail?
You motherfuckers know I'm kidding right? Bottom line, y'all need to go support this show—among the wealth of reasons is the official-made, supertalented Northwest pedigree of the lineup and its contribution to the very necessary dialogue between PDX and 206 hiphop.
But you gotta understand, last week's flap about Fatal being booted from the Dyme Def bill was to some maybe a small thing; it was, however, a big statement, and one I'm not comfortable letting just fade away into the golden sunset of good, studied PR. I praise the ever-humble MC for his total grace under fire, but I'm pained by the frustration I feel coming from him—frustration he has to hold back in order to maintain. I take some solace in the knowledge that this will no doubt spark fiery inspiration for the aptly dubbed Forgotten Son and likely result in some incredible fucking music, as is often the case with artists backed into a corner and shoved under a microscope. But I ask myself, should I keep a smile for the sake of the scene? Should I just accept that awkward dap and reassure those who haltingly ask me, "We're cool, right, homie?" At my advanced age, I'm not feeling that shit.
I realize this situation was complicated and that communication could've solved it, as it always can. It just seems that soon after the artist was thrown under one of those slow, rickety, poles-always-falling-off-the-damn-wires, accordion-waisted Metro joints, the promoter was promptly laid underneath that bitch, too—in both cases, for something that literally never happened. Hiphop, once again, to blame. So: I am hereby registering my discontent with anybody who wants to take bread out of my communities' mouth. Not from a place of malice or ill will, but of candor. Since communication is that precious, and underutilized, then that's what I'm doing—communicating; you should feel free to do the same.