So I spent last week in the 1990s. We ll, no, actually, I just saw the Breeders and Digable Planets on consecutive packed nights at Neumos, and it did indeed take me back to high school, Cross Colours, and checking out cassettes from the Columbia Branch Library. (Coincidentally, I dubbed both Last Splash and Reachin' back in the day, then switched out the tape reels so I'd have the better-quality joints and future library goers would have my 99-cent TDK copies. Sorry, I didn't have a job yet.) The Breeders were terrific. Digables were great—it struck me how unique their shit sounded in 2008, and Ish, Mecca, and Doodle were crazily on point. The petition to recognize Ishmael Butler as Seattle's GOAT MC definitely bears my signature, sorry Mix.

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Oh and speaking of the '90s, I got linked to a new local crew called 96 Pickup that includes Lock N.E. Style, Certs, El Prez, Malcolm, Language Arts, and Def Dee. The tracks on their MySpace page (/96pickup) sound like vintage indie East-Coast vibey-vibe brag rap (think, say, Natural Elements, Polyrhythm Addicts, etc.), and while I revile dinosaur hoppers, there's some real-dope old-school shit right here from these new-school cats—check "Starvin for Mine." Keep it up.

Grieves, who called the Emerald City home for some time, is coming back to town with Soulcrate Music and Rhymesayer Entertainment's battle-proven, barbecue-lovin' shitbag Mac Lethal. Across the nation for months upon months is where they've been catching wreck, and Mac's label Black Clover is where Grieves and Soulcrate call home—you can catch them all repping their set on the brilliantly titled "Black Clover Posse Cut" (check around for the sweet video), not to mention Chop Suey on November 26. "Posse Cut" is the bonus track you'll get when you cop the new album-length collaboration between Grieves and Budo, titled 88 Keys & Counting—an album the two recorded in a month-long break from touring (talk about Protestant work ethic). What struck me right away about this record is its considerable warmth—Budo, one of Seattle's favorite producers, went way analog on this project, and it shows. The vibe is a great counterpoint to Grieves's signature brand of emo politick ditto, as his lyrics most often convey the sort of cold, rainy desperation that Seattle is exemplifying as we speak. Together, they find a satisfying, soulful middle ground—though maybe Grieves could've laid back on the singing tip a tad (word to Kanye). Still, it's Grieves's best work by far, and his best moments are, as always, where he breaks from the poetics and just real-talks, as on "Identity Cards" with Living Legends' Luckyiam: I don't go to the club, I don't fight for fun/Shit, I'm almost 25 and I ain't never shot a gun/But I do like drinking and shopping on the internet.... Oh shit, son—Karmaloop swagger on a hundred, thousand, trillion! recommended