The Freshest In The Northwest Debate

Posted in Comedy, News, Politics, Radio, Random Ish, Videos on July 4th, 2012 by Hyphen

Ah yes, the list that generated enough tweets in the Seattle hip-hop community to trend the other day has reached its conclusion with the release of the #1 video above.  For those unaware, D-Money of Juice Radio put together this project inspired by the MTV “Hottest MC” debate where he asked several media figures in the Seattle/Tacoma area to submit lists of their top 15 “freshest MC’s.”  The panel was comprised of myself, Casey Carter, Sara from Fresh N Def, Sermon from Sermon’s Domain, DJ SupaSam, DJ Swervewon, Josh Rizeberg, and DJ Iceman.  A final slot was reserved for fan votes collected on Juice Radio’s website and you can view the entire list and the accompanying videos here.

We were told to construct the list using specific criteria focusing on solo MC’s (not groups or singers) and their accomplishments within the past year.  The various categories we were instructed to key on ranged from sales/downloads to radio play, from concert draws to media recognition, and every variable you can think of in between.  In the end, even with the criteria, the idea was to make picks based on who we felt were the overall “freshest” in the NW, which is obviously subjective to each individual.  Not surprisingly, we had fairly different lists, and also not surprisingly, it was revealed during the course of our discussion that some of the panel did not follow the criteria or fully understand it.  What’s a hip-hop list without some controversy from the very start (and the inability to do the most basic tasks correctly)?

The format allowed for the panel to bump up artists if we were convinced during our discussion that they had been voted to an incorrect slot.  Personally, I would have preferred the panel to simply fill out their lists accurately from the jump and then we could stick with where someone was voted.  If you’re deemed knowledgeable enough to be on the panel, you should be able to construct a good list and defend your picks without getting swayed during the discussion to vote someone up or down.  That said, when Macklemore was revealed as #3 on the list, I was happy we’d have a chance to vote him to his correct position at #1 because it’s clear that with the criteria we were told to use, nobody has excelled more than him in the past year.  It’s not even debatable in my opinion.

I was disappointed that the list didn’t unanimously have him at #1 to begin with, but I can’t speak for the selections of any other panel member.  All I know is that only 6 of the 15 artists I selected made the final list (though they only revealed the top 10, so I suppose 5 were never going to make it).  Of those, I think the most startling omissions were Geologic (aka Prometheus Brown) and Ish (aka Palaceer Lazaro of Shabazz Palaces).  To conclude a “Freshest In The NW” list without two of our most successful and influential artists, who continue to release great music to widespread critical and consumer acclaim, seems like a travesty.

Regardless, it seems the list accomplished what it set out to do, which was to generate conversation about all the talent we have in the Northwest.  Were there things I would do differently if this were my project?  Absolutely, starting with the fact that I would never do it to begin with.  However, this is Juice Radio’s creation and I enjoyed giving my two cents in the discussion.

That said, I’m troubled by the reactions of many people, mainly because they seem to be attacking the idea that this is some sort of definitive list.  Of course it’s NOT a definitive list!  I thought that would have been common sense, but yet again, for the 24823948239423424th time in my life, I’ve overestimated the intelligence and comprehension levels of the general public (though if I continue to do that, it’s really more my fault than theirs).  Individual lists are fine, but it’s the idea that combining a group of lists, from anyone, somehow transforms these individual opinions to fact that is completely absurd.  I assumed everyone would understand that, but I was wrong.

I hope you enjoyed the debate and the videos, but I’d advise you do yourself a favor and don’t take it too seriously.  Then again, that’s also just my opinion…

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Beautiful Day At The Dog Park (video)

Posted in Random Ish, Videos on February 4th, 2012 by Hyphen

#doglife

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Shad – Bearings (TEDx video)

Posted in Artists, Random Ish, Videos on November 19th, 2011 by Hyphen

And while we’re on the subject of TED talks, here’s the homey Shad discussing “Bearings” and how he stays focused on the right path.  If your favorite rapper couldn’t get up and do one of these talks about a substantive topic, and do it coherently, you’re listening to the wrong people.

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Jay Smooth – How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race (video)

Posted in Comedy, Politics, Random Ish, Videos on November 19th, 2011 by Hyphen

As usual, you should already know what you get with a Jay Smooth commentary.  Please take 10 minutes out of your day and watch this.

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Sound Session #321 (7-24-11)

Posted in Artists, Episodes, Random Ish, Sound Session on July 26th, 2011 by Hyphen

In a nutshell, the last few days provided yet another reminder of the frustratingly consistent duality of life.  You know, Ying Yang…wait, Yin vs. Yang.  Or as The Dude so eloquently put it, “strikes and gutters.”  If you prefer the more timely, yet equally brevity conscious, hip-hop version, Big K.R.I.T. calls it “Highs & Lows.”

On on hand, we had a beautiful, music filled weekend here in Seattle and on Sound Session.  We kicked off things with the Capitol Hill Block Party, where I DJ’d for the homey Shad on Friday night, sharing the stage with good friends Sol, Brothers From Another, and Thee Satisfaction, three of the most talented acts in Seattle.  Thee Sat took the occasion to officially announce their signing to the legendary Sub Pop label, putting a stamp on another historic moment in Seattle’s music scene.

Speaking of Sub Pop, J. Moore carried the festivities down to Dallas, Texas on Saturday, where he accompanied Shabazz Palaces for their performance at the Gorilla vs. Bear Festival.  We closed the weekend off by inviting The Physics and Sonny Bonoho to our studio to debut new music from their forthcoming projects, and we even world premiered a record from Thurzday (formerly of U-N-I) and his LA Riot album.

All in all, a fine weekend celebrated in 80 degree, flawless weather, where our only concern should have been SPF levels.

Right?

Wrong.

On Saturday, music lovers everywhere reeled from the news we all feared would come someday, and deep down, we knew it would be sooner rather than later: Amy Winehouse passed away in her London apartment from an apparent overdose.

Since we’ve been on the air for the last six years, we’ve lost a lot of folks and I never know quite how to summarize these feelings and thoughts in text.  However, that’s what great writers do and to that end, there have already been a few well constructed pieces on Amy’s passing (I particularly recommend Russell Brand’s heartfelt, poignant entry).  Ultimately, when an artist passes, I (selfishly) always focus on what his/her work meant to me and how it affected my life. If I had a chance to meet or work with the person, that always adds an extra element as well.

In this case, I never met or spoke with Amy.  My only story about her is a loose connection that’s happened to us a few times as we’ve watched superstars develop.  We were early supporters of her Back To Black records in the NW region (essentially the equivalent of seeing LeBron as a high school senior and telling your friends he was pretty good…we didn’t exactly go out on a limb) and the label told me she was thankful for our airplay.  I distinctly remember waiting in our studio one Friday afternoon, late in the summer of 2006, for the interview they scheduled with her, only to get a cancellation call from her management instead.  They explained that they were sorry, but MTV and the New York Times decided at the last minute to do pieces on her first performance in NYC and they had to bump us to accommodate the larger outlets.  I knew then that our underground hip-hop/alternative R&B show in Seattle likely wouldn’t have the chance to interview her again and sure enough, by the end of the year, she was one of the biggest musicians in the world.

Granted, it’s not as interesting a tale as the time Guru threatened to leap over the table and punch me, but at least it’s a more positive way to remember one of our musical heroes.  I digress.

Amy’s voice, songwriting, and the resulting music she blessed us with was amazing.  Throughout her rise to stardom, we continued to play it on the air, but even more on our own time.  Back To Black provided the soundtrack for some of my favorite memories and any time I hear something like “Just Friends,” I’m instantly back in THAT moment.  You know the feeling.

Both Back To Black and Frank are certified 5-mic classic albums to me (yes, I’m using the Source rating system…Amy was more hip-hop than a lot of these cats) and there are countless awe inspiring live/acoustic/demo versions for her songs.  When I asked followers on Twitter for a few suggestions on what to select for our Throwback of the Week, I was flooded by replies and almost every song of hers was mentioned.  In the end, I picked two of my personal favorites, but I had about a hundred alternate options ready to go.

While it’s devastating to finally accept that she won’t be adding to this catalog, it’s comforting to know that like all great artists, her work will live on forever.  As much as I look forward to pulling out her records years from now and reminiscing about her talent, what I’m really excited about is for the next generation to randomly discover her through their own exploration.  The same way I stumbled upon an artist like Shuggie Otis or Gil Scott-Heron (RIP), some 10 year old without a clue who Amy Winehouse is right now will hear the demo for “What It Is” and fall in love with music all over again.

That’s the power of art and why losing a great artist always presents such a conflicting dichotomy.  We mourn the loss of a creative spark, but we also celebrate the contributions that were made.

As I write this, Amy has 4 of the Top 10 albums on iTunes (even her b-side collections are charting) and I know some of those purchases are from kids wondering what all the hype is about.  They’ll soon find out and for those that truly love music…those that zone out and let these sounds impact their moods and ideas and redefine how they see the world and interact with others…her voice will hit them like few others have.

RIP Amy.

And for anyone out there struggling with addiction, she left you this message.  There’s someone out there who cares.  Take action and get help.

Show #321 (7-24-11)

  1. Pac Div – “Saved”
  2. Crooked I – “Mr. Porter Meets Mr. Pigface”
  3. Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Hood Gone Love It”
  4. Kardinal Offishall – “Ol’ Time Killin’, Pt. 2 (Anywhere)”
  5. Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse – “Valerie” (Throwback of the Week)
  6. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
  7. Big K.R.I.T. – “Highs & Lows”
  8. Kendrick Lamar ft. Ashtro Bot – “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)”
  9. Wu-Tang Clan ft. Ghostface Killah, Sean Price, & Trife – “Laced Cheeba”
  10. Pusha T ft. Tyler, The Creator – “Trouble On My Mind”
  11. **INTERVIEW WITH THE PHYSICS, PT. 1**
  12. The Physics – “Seward Park” (Local Music)
  13. Dom Kennedy ft. Polyester – “Mr. Champagne”
  14. **INTERVIEW WITH THE PHYSICS, PT. 2**
  15. Sol – “WTF” (Local Music)
  16. Rapsody ft. Tab One, Charlie Smarts, & Phonte – “One Time”
  17. Thad Reid – “Unholy War”
  18. **INTERVIEW WITH SONNY BONOHO, PT. 1**
  19. Sonny Bonoho – “We’ll Be Stronger” (Local Music)
  20. The Black Opera – “Timeline”
  21. **INTERVIEW WITH SONNY BONOHO, PT. 2**
  22. CyHi The Prynce – “Take You Back”
  23. Wordsmith – “Rhymesayer Revival”
  24. **Thurz – “Dope”** (WORLD PREMIERE)
  25. Shad – “Call Waiting”
  26. Purple HeArts – “ReMinder Smiles”
  27. Amy Winehouse – “Stronger Than Me” (Throwback of the Week)

Link to download the mp3 of the show – http://www.mediafire.com/?buwprapcd5pflcb
(back up / streaming link – http://hulkshare.com/xue54dm3im8f)
(2nd back up – http://www.zshare.net/audio/92995614e5676c7c/)

If there are any problems with the links or if you’d like to be added to our weekly email list to receive the playlist and download links after every show, just shoot me an email, DJHyphen@gmail.com.

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Only the most adorable, nerd friendly video ever

Posted in Random Ish, Videos on May 5th, 2011 by Hyphen

Adorable. Makes me wanna have a kid. Or at least use Chrome more than Firefox.

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iPhone Ringtones

Posted in Joints, Random Ish on November 25th, 2010 by Hyphen

As much as I love my iPhone 4, the system for creating and importing ringtones is pretty wack (even as an Apple fan, I loathe iTunes).  With that in mind, I decided to knock out a bunch of ringtones for files that were sitting in front of me so I could sync to my phone in one fell swoop.  If you’re a fellow iPhone user, here’s a link for about 40 different .m4r files ready to go.

iPhone ringtones – http://www.mediafire.com/?pavqs74hxuasl8p

Artists include A Tribe Called Quest, Big K.R.I.T., Bilal, Clipse, Dr. Dre, Drake, D-Sisive, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mos Def, Notorious B.I.G., The Physics, The Roots, Theophilus London, and Wu-Tang Clan.  Also, being a radio DJ (and a civilized person), I used clean edits so you don’t have to worry about any inappropriate ringtones in public.  Enjoy…

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RIP Granma Hyphen

Posted in Random Ish on October 27th, 2010 by Hyphen

99 years young…and I’m really happy she got to meet one of her great grandchildren over the weekend…she had a great life.  Just had dinner with her on Sunday and got the news yesterday.  Life moves quickly.  Love you.

Please send a note or call your family today for me, especially your elders.  Be safe y’all.

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Foundation Crossfit Grand Opening on Sunday!

Posted in News, Random Ish, Sports on January 30th, 2010 by Hyphen

Those of you who know me in real life have probably heard me talk (at length) about a style of working out called crossfit.  Ever since the homey Dru introduced it to me, I’ve been a fan.  In short, it focuses on simple movements performed at a high level for short periods of time.  It’s way more efficient and challenging than simply lifting weights and I would recommend everyone check it out, regardless of your level of fitness.

Seattle people should come check it out tomorrow at the grand opening for Dru’s new space.  Foundation Crossfit has been around for a few years, but come check out the new spot and find out about these workouts that will change your life.  Tomorrow’s schedule is as follows:

Foundation CrossFit
1422 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(Down the driveway underneath the rear entrance of Pac Supply Company. Look for the orange building.)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

11:00 – 12:00 Meet & Greet / Social Hour
12:00 – 12:30 Introduction to CrossFit
12:30 – 13:00 Workout Demos, Q&A
13:00 – 14:00 Group Workout
14:00 – 16:00 Open House

See you there.

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Sup World

Posted in Random Ish on January 19th, 2010 by MitchNW

My name’s Mitch. Im here to help Hyph keep this blog updated as much as possible. Ill be givin y’all music videos, mixtapes from time to time, local music, and whatever else Hyphen feels necessary. This is The Audacity Of Dope so dont expect anything less.

Just a lil info about me…I was born and raised in the NW, reppin the great city of Tacoma. I attended Wilson High School and am taking a break from school for a little while. I look to pursue a career in business eventually, music and fashion are what I live for. Blogging isnt something new to me, you can also catch me at A Quick Intermission.

Ill be posting everything I feel that you the reader would enjoy. Thanks again to Hyph for giving me this opportunity, Im glad I can share my thoughts and opinions on the music world and more with you all.

-Mitch

Editor’s note: Welcome aboard Mitch, glad to have you as part of the team.  Loyal TAOD readers, I hope having Mitch, Edwin, and myself all post up content will allow you guys to enjoy the site even more.  You’ll be able to see who posted an article right under its headline and like he mentioned, don’t forget to check out Mitch’s other site as well – A Quick Intermission.

Don’t worry…we’re not going to reduce the quality control and flood the site with sub-par ish.  Nothing but dopeness, as usual.  2010: onwards & upwards.

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