OK … first of all, big respects to everyone who came and supported The 3rd Annual Hip-Hop for The Homeless Benefit at The China Clipper in Olympia. Guests and performers included Wojack, Baldy Loc, Asliani, Knucklehead Banga, Kokane, old school pop-rocker Alphonse Curry, staff from The Evergreen State College, staff from The University of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services, Bread & Roses, staff from The Weekly Volcano (what up OWEN!) and members of our homeless communities including Camp Quixote of Olympia. The benefit was dope and raised hundreds of dollars, bags and bags of clothes, and pounds and pounds of food for those in need. It was all done in the name and honor of hip-hop!
No doubt hip-hop is in the area and one of hip-hop soul’s famed voices is going to seduce the microphone at the Emerald Queen Casino this weekend. Dec. 12, Ashanti will perform her hits. It’s hard to believe that she has been around since 2002, making a major dent in the music game. Even with challenges at her embattled label, Murder Inc. headed by the Lorenzo brothers, aka Irv Gotti and his brother Chris, Ashanti continues to drop music and evade the paparazzi that is constantly on her about her said-to-be boyfriend, MC/pop icon superstar Nelly. Regardless of the details, Ashanti will certainly be in the house in T-Town at The EQC — so if you are wondering where the females are this Friday night — make your way to the casino!
Big shot to violence/drug/alcohol prevention activist and music producer Todd Denny and the True North Program in Tumwater. This week Denny and True North are combining forces to host students in the Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area for The Music Mentors program. The program offers youth an opportunity to work with Billboard producers, writers and local artists to explore and develop creative writing, expression and performance skills. The hook is that the expression must tell stories and explore positive reinforcement of anti-violence/abuse issues. Something offered and something needed!
Word has that there is a secret Hip-Hop Congress Party going down in the Olympia-area in honor of founder/president, Shamako Noble. Noble has reportedly moved to the Seattle area and is spending more and more time in the Pacific Northwest — of course he is! Even though the haters are everywhere, there’s a lot of love in the Puget Sound too! Anyway, if you know about the party you do — if you don’t, keep your ears to the street!
Have you heard the new single dropped by Portland’s finest, Cool Nutz? It’s called “Young Mix-A-Lot” and Cool Nutz praises and shows more love for the brother from Seattle by way of Bremerton than anyone I have heard from the state of Washington give. What’s ironic is that it took Nutz (an Oregonian) to give it up smooth for Sir Mix-A-Lot. And up here in Washington — no joke — probably 98 percent of the remarks about Mix from so-called hip-hop heads is negative, derogatory, insulting and straight-up disrespectful. It’s called HATERATION! So, big shots to Mix and Cool Nutz, because when the legends come up here to the most desolate region (in terms of hip-hop), they don’t ask about YOU, they ask about Sir Mix-A-Lot. That means Chuck D, Ice-T, Egyptian Lover and others … that means something. Show love and respect for your elders! Oh, by the way, Sir Mix-A-Lot is still working in the studio, still touring and still living off his art … and he is still the only hip-hopper north of The Bay and west of Missouri to sell platinum or gold … Now of course that isn’t everything, but it sure means something — especially for those calling themselves rappers and DJs, but complaining about how they’re broke and playing video games instead of practicing the art! Say something … Ha ha!
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.