Hiphop Ya Don't Stop

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Yo, start it off with a response to what it has been/yes y'all/we're back again...

So kicks off Wrong Way, the newest album from Portland's Lightheaded: MCs Ohmega Watts, Braille, and Othello rock the right way over timelessly trump-tight compositions from Watts and extended fam Muneshine. Dropping this week, Wrong Way recalls the dizzying, bouncy mic stylings of early-'90s hiphop—but never rhyming for the sake of riddling, as Chuck D would say. Their particular sound has been time capsule sheltered from the commercial blight of the mid- to late '90s and remains blissfully unaware that, dammit, this shit's not supposed to be fun anymore. The production is lively and bumping, boasting bedrock breakbeats and booming bass hits—basically that ol' boom bap. An easy reference point for their brand of enthusiastic funk would be L.A.'s dusty dons People Under the Stairs—and just like their patnas Giant Panda, Lightheaded are signed to upstart Tres Records, founded by PUTS's Thes One. The follow-up to their '03 debut Pure Thoughts (and numerous solo endeavors from each MC), Wrong Way is a fresh, upbeat take on Northwest hiphop.

I got a chance to holler at Lightheaded's Braille Brizzy while they were on the road—peep game...

What's in the name?

The definition of Lightheaded is to remain optimistic in the midst of adversity, and that's basically our attitude. Circumstances don't dictate our attitude on life... You want to get frustrated, but it doesn't solve the problem. Instead of complaining, we focus on solutions and what is enjoyable about our lives. The idea of the world being perfect ain't a reality, so we don't treat it as such. We're choosing to make the most of what we have—perceiving it as a gift. Like, I'm just glad I'm alive.

What do you want people to take away from your music?

I think one of the coolest things about the whole music experience is that everyone can take away something different. They might relate to what we do on a "oh, that's the jam" type level, and they might relate on a deeper, maybe even spiritual level, and that's what it's all about. We have our own notions—and hopefully, people do take a part of us away from it.

Does your spirituality inform your music?

We're all Christian guys, and our lifestyle reflects that—we go to church, we pray. We're three regular guys—we've made mistakes, had our moments good and bad... we feel like we have God's grace in our lives, and that we are in his favor, and that plays a big part in our bond. We're brothers, and we take what we do seriously. We take the time to consider what our words are doing, because we know who's listening.

Support The Stranger

Lightheaded perform Thurs Jan 26 at Chop Suey with Giant Panda and Big World Breaks, 8 pm, $5, all ages.

hiphop@thestranger.com