In tracking the movements of the locally made music beating out of the cars and earbuds of the city, you've probably seen the names of a lot of crews dominate this column at different times, from Mass Line to Sportn' Life to OFS. Lately, it seems like the sheer amount of talent, and the frequency of their output, means I'm dedicating a lot of ink to Seattle's Moor Gang (and, conflict-of-interest-wise, I should note that I also comanage the group's cochair Jarv Dee). They're a multi-neighborhood-spanning collective of rappers who've flourished in the midst of a swiftly gentrifying city (and local rap fan base) that has typically blanched at the thought of an unwieldy group of young, black street rappers. Luckily for them, the talent-deep Moors are undeniable.
That said, there's new music from three of the set's lightest and brightest: First off, Thaddeus David's indefatigable grind has brought another release, the EP-length Laws of Attraction, produced entirely by S.A.T. Beats, whose icy palette of Based beats match well the lyrical motifs of emotion frozen by street life's permanent winter. Though Thaddeus's very composed monotone rarely betrays feeling, he frequently examines his mind state, insisting that "the biggest misconception is [his] not caring."
Less of a technician and more of a live wire is Steezie Nasa—once the Moors' young gun at the time of his 2011 debut, Hella Proper, where his distinctive yawping vocal tics made an impression. His latest, Lucky 7, finds Steezie making easily his most focused set of music since Proper, with assistance from producers El Grande, Mackned, Keyboard Kid, HDxMulla, and Rob Skeetz. Steezie's emotional output is minimal beyond his feelings toward funny-style characters and women slow to give him money, but he admits that "when [his] family's straight, [he] can loosen up." The warbly hook of EP standout "Who I Am" elevates his "you don't know me" stance to one of almost cosmic alienation.
Splitting the difference between Thad and Steezie's styles is the newest addition to the Moors, West Seattle's producer/rapper/designer Mackned. His embrace of the nebulous Based mind-set also gives him a leavening degree of un-self-conscious weirdness, pop/junk-culture fetish, and unexpected cosmic contemplation—traits he shares with the most visible Moor, the crew's other cochair, Nacho Picasso. While Ned's newest—the mostly self-produced Alice Gla$$ (yes, named for the Crystal Castles singer)—encompasses pimping and dope and sadness, he also dedicates songs to porn star Alexis Texas, runs down paranoid action items like satellites and chemtrails, and warns "evil niggas" that he's "spreading light." Ned's outstanding co-d SneakGuapo—the "CEO of all this pain shit," he notes—rides shotty on the album's last three tracks, bringing some real Main Attrakionz–esque abstract clarity on "Medicine": "Tell me this/Would you pop or would you rather fly/Free souls don't ever lose their pride." On the same track, Ned declares he's "too dangerous, creative, and explosive/And they don't want me to make it 'cause I'm exposing/The bullshit that we feed our kids/But I'm a victim, too."