I think I had the same introduction to Todd Sykes and EvergreenOne as a lot of people. One day, I stumbled across the video for a song called "90's Shit," which features two normal-looking guys wandering through the streets of Tacoma, taking turns calling out familiar touchstones for people who came of age in the '90s. Over a bed of sampled funk, Sykes and EvergreenOne shout out things like Chuck E. Cheese's, Ric Flair, Fresh Prince, Danzig and the Oklahoma City bombing, and come across as utterly relaxed and down-to-earth while doing so. It's an eminently charming video, aided in no small part by the smooth flow of Sykes and EvergreenOne's rhymes.
Of course, the story of how Sykes and EvergreenOne came to collaborate is old hat, but I'll relay it regardless. Better yet, I'll let Sykes relay it.
"Almost five years ago, now, we met down at KUPS, the radio station at University of Puget Sound here in Tacoma," says Sykes. "I came down there, and I was playing beats for people to rap over, and he was one of the people there. We kind of hit it off and started collaborating on music for fun, and after a few months, we pretty much had a whole album's worth of material."
In the years since teaming up, Sykes and EvergreenOne have added DJ Hanibal to the lineup and have started going by the name CityHall. In this time, the amount of output created by these three has been remarkably, with Sykes and EvergreenOne producing songs as a duo as well as solo outings. Sykes - taking the next step from production and beat-making duties - has begun producing beats solo, live at shows. And EvergreenOne is readying his solo album, which will officially be celebrated Saturday at the Space with a record-release show.
"His album's called Mines Really Tho, and I really don't know what that means," says Sykes with a laugh. "But I think that's kind of the point."
This tossed-off attitude is part of what defines EvergreenOne. His freestyling ability has been documented, specifically through the video for "La La La La," which impressively manages to surpass "90's Shit" for effortless charm.
While the first single from Mines Really Tho seems to telegraph a more minimal production than that of CityHall, EvergreenOne's personality and seamless flow are ultimately what will carry the majority of the album's appeal.
With Fly Moon Royalty, Dyslexic, The BreakLites
Saturday, Feb. 25, 9 p.m., all-ages, $8 advance, $10 door
The Space, 729 Court C, Tacoma