Blue Scholars, Blue Scholars, 2005
There is a hip-hop scene in the Northwest that I caught wind of only a couple years ago. I first learned about Jake One from a neighbor that I always talk to about music and basketball. Jake One is a producer from Seattle and now I stumbled on another group from the Northwest that deserve respect in 2008, Blue Scholars. New Years Eve (2009/2010), a good friend from high school put me onto Common Market as well. But, I believe Common Market is from Portland. So, look out for the artists coming out of the Northwest because it's an under represented region and there are definitely artists worthy of your time.
I get the impression that Seattle is similar to Minneapolis. There have been several really well respected artists that have come out of both cities. There is a strong musical influence that often goes unnoticed in the everyday life in the contemporary music scene. There is a strong sense of humility and respect for music as an art.
The album, Blue Scholars is a collection of consistent, clean, sometimes spiritual and intelligent tracks and verses. The mc, Geologic, is Filipino and from Seattle, WA. He mentions Manny Pacquiao and shows some nationalist pride, which I was never aware of before the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight. I guess every country has nationalist pride, but I haven't heard it from the Philippines before Pacquiao and B. He reps the Northwest just as much as he does the Philippines. His lyrics are political at times, but not in an arrogant way. You know when someone tries to make up for personal insecurities? There are some underground artists that preach for the sake of being true to the art. I am most interested in political hip-hop when there is a combination of talent and a message that sounds genuine and creative. With this album, Blue Scholars achieve that with laid back, home grown and sometimes nostalgic lyrics. The production compliments the lyrics with clean guitars, pipes, keys and drums. The music is analog mixed with the last instrument created before the digital revolution hit music: turntables. All of the production is created by a dj that goes by Sabzi.
Cinemetropolis, Blue Scholars, 2011
Since the self titled, Blue Scholars album came out, they have released two more albums, Bayani and Cinemetropolis. The video above, called Joe Metro is from the Bayani album. I saw their kickstarter.com campaign and I was really impressed by the humble approach to creating music and videos that interact with the fans. Here are a couple videos that can give you a good idea what the album is about. Check it out.