Nonstop, all day, every day I hear: "When is someone from the Tac' gon' get put-on? Hit it big? Put the town on the map?"
It gets old hearing this over and over again. There have been numerous artists that have broken out of the state and gotten a chance to share their music. Here's a non-comprehensive rundown of some of the artists from Tacoma that have gotten out nationally and toured with some success.
In the 1990s, General Wojack with Criminal Nation went on a national tour with Run D.M.C. and Too Short. Criminal Nation was instrumental, along with Public Enemy and X-Clan, in influencing the new proto-revolutionary music of artists like Dead Prez and Immortal Technique.
A few years ago one of the most prominent hip-hop groups to come out of Washington was The Saturday Knights. They were signed to Light In the Attic records, toured and even had a stop at SXSW. Members include D.J. Suspense, Barfly and Tilson - and Tilson is from Tacoma. This group paved the way for the now popular party hip-hop that's big in Seattle right now with artists like Fresh Espresso, Mad Rad, S.O.T.A. and Sol.
There's also Sonny Bonoho, who just went on a national tour with Bizarre of D12. Bonoho has been on other national tours with B.O.B. and Playboy Tre. His unique style of hip-hop often receives national props.
The moral of the story: The things that people are waiting for have already happened. Be proud of these artists. Acknowledge their accomplishments.
On a local note, every Saturday at The Rum Runner Bar and Grill at 5240 S. Tacoma Way there's an Alliance Battle League event - from 1-4 p.m. Alliance Battle League was formed down at the Graffiti Garages on Broadway but has morphed into an official MC battle league that produces legit battles every Saturday (with judges and all). This is the place to see and hear truly raw hip-hop. No press from a show, no write-ups in a newspaper, just two MCs who are pissed at each other and have some really awful, wicked and humorous things to tell one another. It's one of the most organic, local, D.I.Y. movements to come out of Tacoma hip-hop this year.