Up in Seattle, too phonkey like chronic. —SGP, "No Evidence"
Garfield student Key Nyata has made a name for himself among the darker-humored internet generation's rap fanatics as the smooth-flowing young life of the Raider Klan, the blacked-out collective headed up by SpaceGhostPurrp (more on him soon). Friday, April 5, at the Crocodile, you'll find the all-ages party for his latest release, The Shadowed Diamond. Also on the bill are the heartless goonery and pharmacological extravagance of Skull & Bones, the slick and bold West Seattle hustler spit of Moor Gang's Cam the Mac, and Tacoma's ILLFIGHTYOU, who—full disclosure here—I recently began co-managing.
The 6th and 7th will bring you back-to-back engagements at the Showbox Sodo (!) from the Anghellic Strange Music godfather Tech N9ne, along with his folks Krizz Kaliko, baby-eating OG Brotha Lynch Hung (!), Kutt Calhoun, Ces Cru, and Rittz. Say what you will about Tech and them's music—and I have—there's no denying that they resonate mightily.
The night of Sunday, April 7, also brings you two other shows: Juga Hill's album release at Nectar, with Brainstorm (whose Celestine Prophecy 2 has hit the internet), Fatal Lucciauno, and Donte Peace (with host SweengOne). And the aforementioned SpaceGhostPurrp at Neumos.
About midway through SpaceGhostPurrp's "The Black God"—the updated version that came out on Mysterious Phonk, his 4AD release from late last year—Purrp gives a quick sermon that stuck out to me.
The world ain't a good place to be in if you're not in the right state of mind... All you gotta do is maintain, stay true to yourself, love yourself, believe in yourself, and you will be your own god, and the universe will make your life better. Have faith. Always stay positive, be strong. Words from the black god.
What does he mean? Is he suggesting that money isn't our god, that accumulation of riches, that fashioning ourselves after our oppressors isn't the ultimate answer? That we have some kind of self-worth that isn't owed to our shoes (assembled by Asian children for pennies), our clothes (ideally made by European fashion houses that skew body image and exoticize indigenous people), or our jewelry (festooned with diamonds dug out of caves by overworked African hands)? I'm not saying that SGP is saying something new—but he's saying it now, and to young heads, and in a way that resonates with them.
This new hiphop generation seems to have a need for something deeper—even their clubby R&B and hiphop needs to talk about feelings. For some, there's an engagement with religion and spirituality that feels timely and real. The flip of this is probably the deep drug culture that is part of it all as well. (To paraphrase my dude on this subject: "Molly to get happy, Xans to tune out.") Seems like everybody feels weird these days, but hold tight—it's getting light outside.