Seattle Music 2014: Hip-Hop/Rap Artists

The local beats that we're jamming to these days
Gabriel Teodros, backstage at The Royal Room, July 21, 2014

What’s your favorite current Seattle band? If you have trouble answering (or if you draw a blank after Macklemore), we’re not going to judge. But we are going to suggest it’s time to check in with the city’s thriving indie music scene. New local bands are exploring sounds, blurring genre boundaries (though we’ve wrestled them into categories here) and playing vibrant live shows all over town (see our Live Music Venue guide). Even with this sampler of 50 bands, we haven’t scratched the surface of Seattle music. Listen right here—where you can stream songs from all 50 bands—and also try tuning in to KEXP (the city’s unsurpassed discovery engine for local music) for a whole week. Soon enough, you’ll have an answer to the above question—and you might just go on and on. Peruse the local bands in the other genres here.

Katie Kate



Gateway Band: Tune-yards

A modern-day Pied Piper, Katie Kate (Kate Finn) has the unique skill to draw the listening ear of all sorts of music fans: hip-hop, pop, electronica, rock, or anyone who wants to experience what’s happening now. Part Nicki Minaj, part Kanye West—and a classically trained pianist—Katie Kate is a captivating performer poised for big play in Seattle and beyond. She produces her own music and writes her own songs, which often have a witty, grrrl power edge, such as in “Uh…No,” on her brand-new album, Nation, when she cools a suitor with, “I can haz cheezburger, you can haz a nice evenin’.” katiekate.bandcamp.com
How would you describe your sound?  “Kate Bush and Dr. Dre have a baby who grows up to be an ice witch who’s really into Star Trek.” —katie kate

Sample Song:

Video:



Tendai Maraire/Chimurenga Renaissance

Gateway Band: The Fugees
Seattle’s groundbreaking and beloved trippy hip-hop group Shabazz Palaces is helmed by Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire, the latter of whom has recently created a side project, Chimurenga Renaissance (with Hussein Kalonji). His 2014 record, riZe vadZimu riZe, is a beat-centric, experimental rap album full of fireworks and fierce flows. Listening to it is like putting on 4-D glasses and flying into a glowing jungle where everything is beautiful and dangerous all at once. It’s an odyssey that blends hip-hop, traditional Zimbabwe songs and electronic production. Simply put, the album pushes music itself forward. chimurengarenaissance.bandcamp.com

Sample Song:

Video:



Spekulation

Gateway Band: Macklemore
Most of Seattle has heard Spekulation—whether aware of it or not. The local rapper was behind the “Bout That Action” remix of an interview with Seahawk Marshawn Lynch (Lynch danced to it at the victory parade). But Spek is more than one song. His summer release, “Home of the Mighty,” garnered attention for its geniune lyrics honoring the creative power of the city’s artist community. Spek’s other records include remixes of Duke Ellington and Yann Tiersen, and layered instrumental soundscapes. spekulationmusic.com
How would you describe your sound? “Sample-based hip-hop, equal parts New York rap and Northwest live instrumentation, with a habit of heavy bass drums. We try to use old tricks in new ways.”
—Spekulation

Sample Song:

Video:

Gabriel Teodros

Gateway Bands: Talib Kweli, Common
Gabriel Teodros is a revelation—a conscious Seattle rapper who brings big boom-baps, Spanish guitars, horns and a cornucopia of percussion instruments to his thoughtful songs. Hailing from Columbia City since the 1980s, the Ethiopian-Scottish-Irish–Native American musician is an original Emerald City hip-hopper with a strong sense of personal history, yet, as he says in his song “Mind Power,” “You can feel the Northwest in my lungs, but I will not be defined by where I’m from.” gabrielteodros.bandcamp.com

Sample Song:

Video:

Categories:

Comments