"People always asking if I sold out? No/Bro, I still feel alone in a sold-out show."

Nacho Picasso

Last week, Nacho Picasso, Seattle's preeminent prince of darkness (Moor Gang protocol is devil horns down, though) released his much-anticipated latest album, High & Mighty. Consciously and clearly poised to take his movement to a national platform big enough to hold Nacho's outsize personality, Mighty's varied sound and (high on) lean and (hilariously) mean rhymes make for an ideal jumping-on point for new listeners. Even better, it rewards longtime listeners with new depth (the somewhat autographical "Alpha Jerk," for instance), new lows/heights of ignorance (as on the Too Short–esque "Duck Tales"), stickier hooks (peep that #rare Auto-Tune Nacho on "Real/Fake")—just altogether stronger, more fleshed-out songwriting than ever before, period.

As usual, it's Nacho's house, and the proceedings aren't cluttered with guests. There's a verse from Nacho's Moor cochair Jarv Dee, and subtle chorus assistance from 10isee Williams and young Raider Key Nyata. There are definitely new names in the credits, though—to date, the bulk of Nacho's output has been well handled by Blue Sky Black Death, Raised byy Wolves, and Eric G; here, Nacho enlists established industry rap journeymen like Swiff D, League of Starz, Dahi Beats, and Cardiak on the boards—not to mention Jake One and the OG Vitamin D. (Seattle's RBW, Swish, and Crispy clock in as well.)

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As a whole, Mighty's sound is a touch crisper and cleaner than usual, a bit more of a radio-ready take on his emotive, dark-cloud-rap vibe—but fear not, as Nacho doesn't suffer for the polish a bit. Rather, Mighty rates with his best and arguably is just that—making it an undeniable high-water mark for the growing dark-wave rap scene flourishing amongst legions of local rap listeners who are perhaps not as enchanted with all the earnest positivity that's low-key become this scene's trademark.

As for your weekend: Friday the 8th, DJ Swervewon is doing the latest edition of his Swagfest night at Neumos, this time "Swagfest 4 Charity"—with 100 percent of proceeds to go to Children's Hospital. Canadian rap-battle league King of the Dot lands at Nectar on Saturday the 9th, with performances from Mic Phenom, ILLxChris (FKA AyeLogics), and Brainstorm; be aware it's an early turn-up, starting at 1 p.m. Sunday the 10th, Harlem's A$AP Ferg and the rest of the A$AP Mob, along with rising Californian acts Joey Fatts, Aston Matthews, and 100s, all hit Neumos for the Turnt & Burnt tour. Berkley's 100s might be the best reason to get there early, as his high-powered pimp-rap debut tape, Ice Cold Perm, was one of the best underground discoveries of 2012; slide in after doors and peep the rapper with the silkiest perm this side of Bone Thugs. May the curl-bag worn under the snapback never come back into fashion via these Tumblr kids—save that thing for the turkey, homie. recommended