K-Truth – Tunnel Vision

It has been awhile since we last heard anything new from K-Truth in fact its been about two or three years since he released his debut album “The Search For Greatness”. Like a few others K-Truth is kind of a transplant taking his influences of other regions where he has resided and kind of adding a little Northwest to it. The gaps between each of his projects has kind of left face of growth but also sort of a change in sound. K-Truth’s last album seemed to be more laid back with more a shot at a contemporary radio R&B/Pop type of vibe. That could have been due to who he was working with at the time but with “Tunnel Vision” he seems to be a bit more contentious in sound. While aggressive might not quite be the right word K-Truth seems to be more laid in the fact of finding his sound as a artist with this project. His style reminisces more of a Midwest tact and this has been seen in the past but with the sharper flow it parlays a bit more prevalent over the eight songs. Beats with a higher BPM seem to suit K-Truth better no matter the content and writing wise the music seems to be a bit more personal than before. While not to overly scoff his listeners with straight content K-Truth seems to find a bit more enjoyable creativeness when doing tracks that have more generality in sound. Not to say this is rough around the edges at this point but it seems the trial runs are doing the job. While trying to find totality as an artist K-Truth does at least one thing right which is continue to step it up each time. Believing in the fact a artist should get paid for their work this one is on I-Tunes as well as his website www.K-Truth.com
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Ariana DeBoo – The Valentine’s Day EP

Like the holiday Valentines can be a day of expected and unexpected things to happen. Musically it seems to become more and more of a day for artists to find occasion to drop a song, album, video, or just about anything else to coincide with a day dedicated for lovers. Ariana DeBoo all around was just that surprise to hear when she appeared on Sam Lachow’s “Brand New Bike” album. A standout beautiful jazzy soulful voice that makes you enjoy the moment and want more when its over. Probably known as the girl who could sing in her own circle all her life it was good to see her finally release her own project “The Valentine’s Day EP”. It is only three songs and has her doing covers but she definitely puts a new twist on them making them all her own. Its not enough but it will have to do for the time being. Lets look forward to the thought that Ariana decides to extend past guest spots and teasers to a full length album in the near future.
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TxE – Tetherball EP

Artists often seem to forget the fact they were once fans when they start making their own music. For those who need a reminder or the freshly inclined TxE is Tope times Epp on the raps and G_Force aka Calvin Valentine on the beats. Super short even in EP comparisons the team drop “Tetherball” which is a follow-up to their first real full length project “We Get It In True” which dropped earlier in 2012. This is a ode to the early days of when they began to love hip hop and they pay homage with hints throughout the release. G_Force continues to be a ear appeaser on the beats while Tope x Epp keep it historic smooth on the raps. It is hard to hate anything these guys have done so far as its just clean enjoyable smooth music that worst case as any new fan you can say is its not your thing. Released in winter but more sounding like a summertime release you get four brand new free tracks from the TxE duo.
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AKA (A King Also) – I Thought You Knew EP

It is hard to keep up with music nowadays but consistency is something that even the unwilling eye cannot diffuse. First time, second try, third effort, eventually after seeing something enough you may just give in. Truth is that may never happen but at least AKA is one of those artists that has stayed consistent.  His latest freebie EP “I Thought You Knew” happens to be his fourth project since 2011. While maybe not surprising in comparison to how often artists release projects these days the curve ball with AKA is his improvement. From “Soul Sessions” to now it easy to say he is one of the most improved artists from the region. While the musical nature may have been there early on, AKA was sounding just like every other eager artist wanting to pick up the craft. Only two years later the musical acumen is not misplaced and AKA has shown his ability to make good songs. His last two solo albums “Resurgence” and “The Array” really had some songs with potential to cross over. Musically it seems AKA has a base set of knowing what good music is but his renovated flow which utters a lot more confidence in delivery makes everything become cohesive. Bringing more meaning to the AKA handle the push is to bring out “A King Also” and the EP which again is FREE touts music with personal catchiness. All artist music is suppose to be privy to themselves and in doing so you have to glean between levels of not sounding the same throughout. While wholly AKA in perspective he does well across six tracks with being able to stay in bounds with his musical philosophy and also when to situate a upbeat song versus something serious. Split in production from Dyme Def’s Brainstorm and burgeoning rapper/producer Carl Roe.
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Illmaculate X Lawz Spoken – Chron Legacy

Admittedly or not you have probably heard of at least one member of the Sandpeople in some form. If not locally, maybe nationally or globally? The different members have had their own share of accolades musically over the years. This is a big click of rappers with each his own but even so talent and creativity is not lacking. With all that ability all you need is a producer which makes an ideal position for Lawz Spoken being the talent behind the boards. Working with the collective since the early years his resume is filled with produced tracks as well as several collaborative effors with various members of the Sandpeople. Im sure the easy comparison for the crew is often the mention of maybe a northwest Wu-Tang. Even in mention this is good company but the catalog for these northwest rhymeslayers is undoubtly impressive.  Very frequent collaborators Only One & Illmaculate find themselves paired together and this time for the follow-up to “Chron”. Last go around it was more of a feature presentation of Only One getting his shine with Illmaculate guest spotting. While many of their collaborations are impressive the tables turn for the second volume “Chron Legacy” with Illmaculate highlighting and Only One as guest collaborator. The thing you never have to worry about with artists like these two is they are actually good rappers so the worst case scenario every time is not liking the music. Lawz Spoken at least does not make that part easy with his theme centered production.  He stays catchy playing his production more like a movie score instead of blanket randomness. To help the cause you get a few guest spots from IAME, Goldini Bagwell, Cassow, and Epp.
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Gift Uh Gab – Queen La Chiefah

Maybe it is a prerequisite that if you have a crew you have to have a female artist to counteract the male dominance. While female artists are wanted just like in other views they are seen with double standards and skepticism. Moor Gang affiliated is enough reason to check out the artist “Gift Uh Gab” who is touted as the first lady of the gang. As a collective anything with #MoorGang label attached to it right now is pretty much gold. With that kind of buzz brewing Moor’s would not let something mediocre ruin that so Gab’s debut project “Queen La Chiefah” must be up to par. In best introductory form the project is short with seven total tracks and only five of those being full songs. Not trying to drown out a temperamental potential fanbase Gab does well on this debut. Production done by ????? is a bit mellow but what you expect from this camp. All the songs turn out to be enjoyable with Gab doing a combination of rapping and mild singing which helps bring more life to things. Surrounded by other good artists has probably helped Gab step over sounding like a novice throughout the project but there is room for improvement. You never want to be predictable with music but Gab does a good job in falling in line with what fans of the Moor’s want. Even in doing so the differentiating point comes with her bringing a bit more realism versus being all fun. Features come from bay area legend Coolio Da Unda Dogg, the general Jarv Dee, and the all talented Sam Lachow.
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Starr Spazzin – Kingdom Of Kush

Artists used to rep for the Central pretty hard back in the days and some of the best street classics to memory come from there. Could be a change of the times or artists are just more self absorbent on just claiming Seattle itself. While some of the vets are still at it seems like a slow flux for newer talent coming from the Central. Starr Spazzin has not gone un-noticed for lack of trying as he has several releases as a solo artist, produces beats, hosts lines of mixtapes as DJ Gunplay, and last but not least does videos. All that acknowledged he tends to get undermined but continues with his latest EP “Kingdom Of Kush”. What concedes as smoker rap plays off easily on the fact Starr really be spitting on some street knowledge. Reincarnated in a sense of the veterans Starr is able to bring forth the same stories but modernize it for today’s street fan. You want the best for all artists and everything Starr has dropped has been good solid music. Just seems as though street based music does not have the pull or word of mouth it once did locally. Project is short like love and hate with all production done by Starr and Ski Mask Spec.
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Green Team – Official

G_Force and Lawz Spoken both really got their start as producers by laying tracks for good artists but making them even better with sound production. G_Force plays both sides of the boards honing his Calvin Valentine personality when its time be vocal. From day one it dawns on you quick that Calvin Valentine is more of a artist than a rapper. Don’t expect the lyrical miracle but instead someone who engulfs himself in concept for every release with more intent on a pleasurable listening experience. He is a collaborator at heart which is evident with the release parry so far but the latest album “Official” links him with another good Portland producer in Lawz Spoken as the modern day Cheech and Chong aka the Green Team. Word association easily tells you this album is a smokers paradise set just in time for summer. Collaborating on the production Calvin Valentine/Lawz Spoken invite friends to collaborate and take you on a trippy journey as only the Green Team can. Wake&Bake your way to their bandcamp to pick it up for the late night munchies price of $1.50. http://greenteam.bandcamp.com/
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Fly Moon Royalty – Dimensions EP

Being different might be Seattle’s biggest plus and minus at the same time. It is a city where talent is abundant but it is hard to pinpoint any one particular sound which may be reason we have not per say had our time in the spotlight. Argument will remain but different is good for the likes of Seattle’s newest group Fly Moon Royalty. Composed of singer Adra Boo and a multi-producer slash rapper in Action Jackson. They may seem like a oddity in sight but musically they bond in making something pretty fresh even though it may be a mixed bag of this and that. “Dimensions” their latest a short free EP has been promoted feverishly lately with several leaks which should in turn grab some new fans to purchase the groups debut self titled solo album. The EP title is apt as Fly Moon Royalty has music that is going to stir you into a certain mind state that allows Adra’s vocals to really alleviate your ears into hearing a message. It might be too different for some but the draw is it grabs enough from everything borrowed to be its own.
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Dice & Outrageous – 518 Volume 2

Sequels are not always warranted but in the case of Dice & Outrageous hooking back up to release a follow-up to 2010’s “518” project we are all ears. While it was an unexpected collaboration the outcome gained listener respect from both parties fan bases and was some of the better work heard from the two at the time. Reason for surprise is you have two artists on what seems like different spectrums of the music scale with Outrageous as your more standard west coast bay area street rap and the perception of Dice as your more serious, conscious, soulful artist. Hearing Dice on enough guest appearances beforehand maybe gave enough notion of her talent range from being able to serenade vocally or verbally pitbull you with the raps when occasion called. Volume 2 in the 518 series gets a little more feature happy with guest spots from Willie Joe, Fatal Lucciauno, Neema, AD, Ripynt, Space3man, Matt Blaque, and Swindle of Certified. The guest spots just add flare to a collaboration that seems to work well for both artists. Dice shows comfort in doing music that may not necessarily be in her solo lane but you couldn’t tell any different. Outrageous creatively helps bring songs and talent out knowing he has a indisposable feature on hand for a full project. The sound stays fluid against the original with the majority of the production being done by Adam Swerve Trujillo with other beats from Pete Wonder, Checkin Traps, and Outrageous himself.
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