23560 Awards aftermath

Plus: peace, love and unity

By Jose Gutierrez Jr., M.Ed. on January 8, 2009

Ah, the aftermath of The 1st Annual 25360 Awards.  The response has been great – a lot of interest was generated.  Tacoma, Olympia and the surrounding villes of The 25360 spoke aloud with emotion, disagreement, agreement, controversy, light insults and nominations and prospective choices of their own.  Like The 25360 Awards or not — one this is for sure — YOU’D BETTER GET USED TO IT! 

I must say, few of the selections were easily resolved.  There are many deserving people, places and things that did not win as I didn't include first and second runners up.  Sure, there are other DJs, MCs, restaurants and places to kick it that did not make the list – but that certainly does not mean that they are not deserving of recognition.

The awards, I think bring a sense of recognition, ambition and inspiration to an otherwise scattered region which IS the Pacific Northwest hip-hop community.  So, why not break from the tradition and routine of not acknowledging each other and our uniqueness?  Why not?  Why come, you ask?  Well, because it’s time to step up or step off.  In an area where the pioneers and legends like Wojack, Nancy G, K-Swiss (RIP), Black Anger are largely overlooked, this is one way to prevent that dishonorable lack of gesturing to take place again — by giving it up to those who "get down." 

I hope that The 25360 Awards encourage cats to get on their business by submitting music, bios, show dates, mixtapes and other informational items to us at The Weekly Volcano.  Make thangs official — no mo’ half-steppin’!  I intend for the second awards to be more inclusive as to the nomination and award-selection process so we can keep The 25360 a cohesive region and build something positive. If you ain’t down with that, you ain’t down.  Straight up!  My mind is wide open as are my ears. Holladaplayadoe!  See ya next year. Bigger and better!

Thoughtless vilence

Three days into the new year and we have already been exposed to more thoughtless violence.  Two cats were shot at The Chop Suey in Seattle just three days into 2009.  I am not eeeeeeeeven about to attribute the murder of rapper E-29 to hip-hop culture. The streets talk. Violence was reportedly over dumb stuff. I wonder how much more foolish and self-destructive cats can be?  (It’s not a dare).  We have one in the graveyard, one in the hospital and one in the penitentiary. Who wins with these kinds of results? The coroner, the medical team and the law win — repeatedly. 

On the real side, more is expected of men of color in this day and time.  With Barack Obama set to take office, a light should be flickering in the head of men of color that there are better decisions to be made and better roles to play than causing injury to one another and fitting into the one-dimensional role of violent thugs/gangstas.  It is easy for cowards to squeeze triggers — my baby nieces can do that — but can you think your way out of a violent/ignorant/deathly situation?  Can you?  Will you?  Rest in peace to E-29 and best thoughts and wishes to his and the perpetrating party’s family and friends.

Hip-hop is a culture of peace, love, unity and having fun but it appears that that baton of knowledge has not been passed cleanly.  If you claim to love hip-hop start 2009 by paying this culture born of poverty and people of color in The Bronx, N.Y., some respect by representing it in a real way.  Not a fake one.

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.