Mic Capes – Rise & Grind

The beginning is not always the end which is point in fact with an artist like Mic Capes. Part of a new young movement in Portland Capes finds himself aligned with a faction called “The Resistance”. A oppressive musical movement which features two other artists in Glenn Waco and Rasheed Jamal. It’s a trio who fare to try and add a bit more realism when making music. Not always easy in a single driven business that favors over obsessive-ness in flaunty shenanigans to the drum of making quality music. Mic Capes probably understands better than anyone as though he is a young artist he is not a new artist. Back in the day makes time sound so long ago but in musical lingo a few years is a lifetime. Thing is when you have talent you get better and even those plastered all over TV had humble beginnings. Even Mic Capes once kind of played flavor of the week when part of the group “Turf Bangaz”. While the music Mic made under the imprint was not necessarily whack it played faces in the crowd along with all those other artists striving to make music. To much surprise “Rise & Grind” which is the latest releases is a reinvigorated Mic Capes who seems to strive more on hip hop laurels and speak on substance versus wanting to belong. Believability in the content already makes the music much stronger for Mic this time around and his notion to take on much of it solo impresses. A 360 not so much but instead a matured Mic Capes in which he finds himself making his music instead of someone else’s. A pivotal point moving forward for sure and a great ensemble of producers to help him do it with production from Them People, Tae Beast, Neph, Stewart Villain, Kenneth Cartel, Zakee El, Bryce Lang, Lunchtime Legends, and DJ Cones. Only features come from The Resistance along with what almost feels like the fourth unofficial member “Felicia Taylor”. She blesses Mic Capes all throughout the project with her vocals and is kind of a hidden Portland talent herself.
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Bruce Leroy – Leroy

It is a sad fact but there are artists who make your city look bad which happens now more than ever with the rapper title having no respect. Refuse to acknowledge would be the honest thing to say but even in a city like Tacoma a good thing has to come along every so often. Word association with Bruce Leroy instantly sparks the thought of the actor who was kung fu kicking the shit out of Sho-Nuff on “The Last Dragon”. The same handle runs with Tacoma artist Bruce Leroy who finds himself with just out hype and the local ascendency to match so far. As with many artists you did not know how serious to take Bruce as he was dropping songs like anyone else but he finished strong for 2011 with two EP’s in back to back months. Now a year later from that time Bruce drops his first real full length solo project titled “Leroy” produced entirely by 1st Born. That consistency of producer to artist shows through with Bruce being able to exemplify Tacoma life without the corniness that many associate with it. Even along the way Bruce stays on his real hip hop niche with lyrical ability, humorous anecdote’s, plus minces of his affinity for the greenery. Small feature set with appearances from Uncle Moo, Spaid, cT, and Cally Reed Of Second Family.
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Skitzo Scoe – Str8 Jacket

Alaska? You mean where it snows all the time? Typical response indeed and to pinpoint how rap music from Alaska sounds you would not even know where to start. Skitzo Scoe is part of one of the more formidable crews (UNDB) from Anchorage. They got some hits in their catalog with Skitzo being behind several including “Super Big” which was buzzing a few years back. Due to certain reason the artists seem to be more on a solo mission these days with releases. Hearing Skitzo’s music your first words would probably be these guys don’t sound like they are from Alaska? In reality it should not matter as we are on the search for good music not what Alaskais suppose to sound like right? It’s safe to say that “Str8 Jacket” is Skitzo’s first major solo release which plays fair to that national street sound. From clubs to bedrooms to the traps Skitzo has it covered throughout nineteen songs.
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Nacho Picasso – Black Narcissus

Nacho Picasso is one of the few artists from the Northwest that fans and critics seem to adhere well to. Project to project Nacho seems to stay true to what originally brought him any recognition from the get go. While his own movement was already starting to get strong the “Moor Gang” is doing it’s coercion on being a immanent force to be reckoned with. A whole gang of talented artists really making some good music and something that brings a sense of excitement to the already growing scene. Something well needed but aside Nacho seems to be right on time with any new project he drops. The first in what is being branded as #MoorFridays is the release of “Black Narcissus”. Cover work alone is something to think about but breaking down Nacho as an artist can go many ways. With each new release your inclined to learn something different as he has already caught your ear being a new founded fan. Nine tracks in all with one being a remix and all the production done by Raised By Wolves and Eric G.
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Baydilla – Welcome To Alaska (The Test Run)

Word association when it comes to Alaska would bring many things to mind but rap would probably be a lotto chance if asked. A barren scene in comparison to the rest of the mega markets it has never stopped Baydilla from striving for success. As part of UNDB aka the Up North D Boyz the label Out Da Cutt Records pretty much took over the local scene. With a combination of reality meets street faired records that could compare to everything else that was currently out. It made it easy for a unexpected place to fit in and has since allowed Baydilla at least to be heard outside of his native state. Mixtape grind has been the basis of Baydilla’s success working with many prominent names on stage and in the studio. Baydillas debut album “Welcome To Alaska” honors the code of giving the people what the want with hit songs but also plays personal surrender to storied street anecdotes. Features come from Rawbeatzz, Phill, E-40, Gorilla Zoe, and Young Dro.
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Eighty4 Fly – Colors

The supernova known as Eighty4 Fly is ready to explode on us as “Colors” finds its way to listeners after a long summer campaign of steady singles. At this rate its going to be incumbent that Eighty4 Fly and summer coincide as its starting to become a yearly ritual. Indeed “Colors” is another mixtape that features a bunch of new but at the same time Fly has grabbed a few of his best older songs. A wise decision as “Colors” will be his biggest release to date so those who have not been privy don’t miss out on some classics. Every song is labeled as a different color which leaves the thought of mystery to why the project is titled as is? Raised eyebrow aside vintage Eighty4 Fly the artist continues to bulldoze locally with an impressive all around combination that will have his out of region stock climbing. Musically structured in knowing how to formulate a project you can see why his aura seems to be the envy of fans and artists alike. While rap alone often boasts a lifestyle that praises an unattainable image for the common fan you never feel like Eighty4 Fly is trying to be above his fans. While a lot of artists try to be emulate someone else’s life through music Eighty4 Fly has always brought you into his. While there is certain references to lifestyle its from a realistic standpoint and fans instead get to live side by side in what he has branded as Fly World. Musically for those who have heard or have yet to hear Eight4 Fly it’s a sound that brings you into a continuum. It may not be Eighty4’s meaning but as you listen to the music on this project it’s a visual experience. It boasts certain imagery and color as if you the fan is culminating your own music video from song to song. Love or hate Eighty4 Fly continues to have success and the simple saying “There’s A Reason” should answer any questions. Production is supplied by SuperNova, Yorel, Tom Davis, A Dot, Chemist, Trixx, Ray Wonder, Versatyle, WHP, and Florida G.
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eRok – King

Singers are center stage these days with reality TV always donning a new show to showcase the talent across the nation. Many can sing which is what we now know but what separates anyone in any genre goes beyond just the skill itself. Doubtful anyone would say any region is blanketed by R&B talent but the Northwest is pretty slim pickens especially when it comes to full length releases. eRok is one of the few who can add his mark to those who have put together a full length album as “King” is his introduction into the music world. Portland based eRok has a easy versus hard dilemma as most singers do being that he has a nice voice that upholds the easiness of a listeners ear but does that translate into good songs? The album stays safe for the most part over twelve tracks eRok keeps things contemporary with a flair of pop and a pinch of the old school. Though every genre has its gimmicky artists in R&B it stays a bit more in the truth lane by being vividly personal. eRok himself crosses over for a song or two but in easy lament the album stays high on all facets of relationships via love, heartbreak, physical, or emotional. The best quality in listening to the majority of this album is the ability to relate or least understand a point of view that any given song is trying to express. Sometimes just saying something is good is enough and while we are all critics the overall sense is potential fans will find some gratification in some part of this debut album from eRok.
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Eighty4 Fly – Kush High

Buzz sometimes supersedes the actuality of an artist being good but Eighty4 Fly is the real deal. It was not without hard work and some strategic planning that has made things prosper for the flyest guy. Local artists want his fanbase, fans want to be him, and your girl is probably side eyeing him saying that’s Eighty 4 Fly. Early indicators of star power and definitely the momentum needed in the Northwest to help propel us with more acts outside the region. Only mid summer and a month or so away from “Colors” but Eighty4 Fly kindly releases a third track from his upcoming project titled “Kush High”. What seems like a dead giveaway is literally a uplifting track from production to the message, sounds like life in FlyWorld is where dreams come true.
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Nerdy Boy Jr – Nerd Star

Association is a underutilized term in music today but ideally it really is what drives a fan to a particular artist. Not to discredit the music as it plays a integral part but gaining a fanbase past a song or two takes some allurement into believing what that artist is all about. If it was all about talent music would be stacked like the NFL in wealth of millionaires but instead it’s becoming a business of timing. A new start or a re-invention is sometimes the best answer especially if something is not working, ask 2Chainz! Gimmicky as anything can be if you believe and get others to believe as well it can work. The artist that no longer wants to be Tap Tap now becomes redefined as Nerdy Boy Junior. Light spots of success under the old moniker and nowhere near a bad artist just more stringent on striving to pop off a hit song instead of building properly. So with no further delay the legacy of Nerdy starts with the release of his first mixtape “Nerd Star” which is in association with the musical acumen DJ Phinisey. Nerdy has been rapping for awhile so he’s composed and polished enough as a rapper where he just has to focus on making quality music. Was not so long ago that being a Nerd per say was seen as no way of being cool but with a certain steez attached to it can be flipped into a complete 180 these days. That stigma plays well with the Nerd movement Nerdy is trying to get across and the music is a stepped up formula of before but better. It’s a fine blend of pop rap that could find success in various formats other than just being straight forward. The majority is feel good even when Nerdy gets personal the songs stay positive and more uplifting if anything. It’s a better time for music in the Northwest where music like this could find more fans regionally and outside the region we are always a step behind so those partial should have some good summer music. Nerdy just needs to find a way to push his movement and give his fans a name.
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No Clue – Just Landed

The echelon level of artists in Seattle is getting to the point where you cant count how many good ones there are which is a sign the city is getting a bit more privileged. NoClue made it easy early on with a sharp fast flow that was undeniable to the faring ear but even he knows being able to make good songs is where longevity lives. Speed a tool that No Clue was once reliant on has become more of a weapon in his arsenal as he now has a lot more control and execution with his flow. It really seems like No Clue has put out a lot more material but “Just Landed” is really only his third project following up last years gracious free gift of a album in “4 Warning”. Standards is at a expected level with Clue as he never lets himself fall underpar musically or visually with a no shortcuts approach. With that standard you know it’s a west coast thing set aside for every Clue project, guess we all got that inner 2Pac in us and its dubs all day at least for a few songs. Never reluctant on being one sided NoClue can be experimental at times but always provides material that is just good music that can be felt from coast to coast. DJ Equis does hosting duties for the release which features Eighty 4 Fly, Sir Mix A Lot, and E-Dawg.
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