Tonight (Sept. 25) at The Royal in Olympia — once again, Homeland Security presents a packed stage of South Sound hip-hop, rap and b-boys/girls. None other than the 206’s own Grynch will headline the Thursday bi-monthly hip-hop affair in downtown Olympia. Preceding him will be Olympia’s Junkyard Gang who is known to rock a good set. The pride of West Olympia, Afrok, will also spit his brand of conscious, “wake you’re ass up” hip-hop that is a tribute and sign of respect to his predecessors of the ’80s and ’90s era conscious movements. A signature of this bi-monthly (that’s twice per month!) night of drinks and entertainment is the spontaneous energy that gets people motivated to take the floor and break/b-boy/b-girl — choose the phrase of your liking. Anyway, a special feature tonight will be the Dance Broomz hailing from Tacoma. I see these cats getting down on the regular and with the spotlight on them, the people can’t help but focus.
In the coming weeks there are more hip-hop events crackin’ off in The O. The China Clipper will play host to The Junkyard Gang, EvergreenOne & Todd Sykes, Heretic The Heathen, Blunt Music, Breath Eazy Inc. and more all at the classic Fourth Avenue spot in Downtown Oly.
And it doesn’t stop in The City of O … Famed LA hip-hoppas, People Under the Stairs will be on stage with Seattle’s own Common Market (Ra Scion and Sabzi) at The China Clipper Saturday, Sept. 27. This is a dope show put on by the homeboy Nicholas Harris of Ulotrichi Productions and KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia — Nicholas is always (ALWAYS) connected with a dope show and this show will be no different. Common Market is fresh off of their groundbreaking show at Neumos in Seattle where they performed with a band and a gospel choir in celebration of their new release, Tobacco Road. Tobacco Road is an ode-esque offering dedicated to the beginnings of Ra Scion’s life, loves and struggles as shared through the eyes of the folks who hail from the Kentuckies, Ohios and other working class communities on this small planet. Check it!
So much talent … so little time … so much wasted. Lacey’s own Swagg does not plan to embody that phrase of hopelessness. He’s got big things on his plate and the South Sound MC/Producer of The Breath Eazy Inc. is one of the names to look and listen for. His name in itself speaks volumes about his attitude, style and bravado — but he is actually a humble talent on the rise. Keeping close associations with 25360 Vets like SP, Uncommon, Luvva J and others, Swagg is working on a new as yet untitled project, but recently released “’80s Babies Crazy”, a track that cats in the city of Lacey are whispering about.
Speaking of tracks and how to hear them … support your local hip-hop DJs y’all! Ever since the disastrous demise of KFOX and the “gone like a thief in the night” disappearance of KKBY we have been in a deficient vacuum of on-air talent and programming. However, Tacoma, Olympia, the Puget Sound and the Northwest have a network of hip-hop DJs who program old-school, underground, local, club and exclusive hip-hop on a weekly basis. With the one-dimensional playlists concocted at our commercial and corporate powerhouses, the following Hip-Hop Radio Network DJs and their shows are essential and can be heard on-air and online:
DJ Amethyst (Zombie Hip-Hop on KUPS 90.1 FM (Tacoma) – Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
DJ B-Mello (Street Sounds on KEXP 90.3 FM (Seattle) – Sundays at 6 p.m.)
Deena B (The Soundbox on KBOO 90.7 FM (Portland, Ore.) Saturdays at 10 p.m.)
DJ Defkawn & DJ Note (Defkawn Radio on KSVR 91.7 FM (Mt. Vernon) Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)
Julie C & B-Girl (Fresh Coast Radio on KBCS 89.3 FM Friday at 1 a.m.)
King Khazm (Zulu Radio on KBCS 89.3 FM – Saturdays at 10 p.m.)
DJ Luvva J (Live From I-5 on KAOS 89.3 FM – Fridays at 3 p.m.)
All of these shows stream live — look them up online! There are more DJs and shows … I am sure of this. If you know of any feel free to hit me at email@example.com.
Also a BIGGGG shot out to DJ Eartquake of The Off The Richter Scale Show — his was one of the first produced hip-hop radio shows to broadcast on the Internet. Earthquake was known to break new music and support the air play of local up-and-coming artists. His show was groundbreaking. It began in 1999 and unfortunately the show was discontinued in August 2008. A pioneer in online media … All respect to DJ Earthquake for representing hip-hop with class, style and substance!
Peace & Love
Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. is an editor, writer and producer. A graduate of Washington State University and student at The Evergreen State College, he writes and edits the Pacific Northwest section of OZONE Magazine and hosts and produces Live From I-5 Radio (since ‘89) every Friday at 3 p.m. on KAOS 89.3 FM (www.kaosradio.org) in Olympia. He writes a weekly hip-hop column in the music section on the Weekly Volcano’s Web site.