If I Owned A Record Label


…I would sign these three Seattle Hip Hop artists:

Let’s pretend someone dropped off a big bag of money on my front step with only one rule to spending it: Start a Hip Hop label, build it to succeed and run it with passion. Here’s the first three Seattle Hip Hop artists I would sign with confidence and an eye on the future (thanks, Macklemore & RL!):

1. Kung Foo Grip. To the best of my knowledge they are both over 21, but when I met them 18 months ago, they were both under the big two-one. In-short, these dudes are young. They’re more talented on stage and in the recording booth than most rappers ten years their senior, and they’re getting better all the time. Their drive, live performance energy and genuine connection with their fan-base check all of my boxes. Plus, their early 2013 Growing Up In The Future tape is one of my favorite Seattle-area Hip Hop albums of the last decade and I’m convinced their best album is yet to come.

2. GrynchWith my above signing I’d already have a young, energetic duo on the books. Who better to lead by example than a wily 206 vet who’s collaborated with local and national legends, performed on tour in Europe and opened up for some of Hip Hop’s biggest names (of all time)? It hasn’t happened yet, and it might not ever happen, but I can easily visualize Grynch on tour with Kung Foo Grip. Starting with a regional tour, then expanding outward, Grynch and KFG would pull different but similar crowds from multiple age-ranges and their energies would light venues up like owners had debt to dodge and big insurance claims to snag. Oh, and Grynch is still one of the top five or ten rappers in the Northwest and is progressing as a song writer, with his best album yet to grace his fans. (Yep, I typed it twice and believed it even more the second time.)

3. Dave B. Depending on your perspective (and knowledge of the 206 Hip Hop scene), you’ll view this pick as either a no-brainer or a non-starter. Regardless of other people’s perspective, Dave has something no one can teach in his outstanding stage presence. One year ago I saw him come from (way) behind to win SoundOff!, the NW’s premier under 21 battle of the bands, when a fantastic band called She Bear had locked it up with a flawless performance right before Dave took the stage. Since then, I’ve seen him rock a handful of shows and I can confidently say that I haven’t seen another rapper (from anywhere) bring what he brings to a stage since Macklemore. There’s a lot to unpack there, but let’s leave it at this: Dave B. is not the next Macklemore and doesn’t perform exactly like him, but he has an effortless persona on stage that is more rare than me pulling girl’s numbers was in high school. Finally, in case you find me unpredictable somehow, Dave’s best recorded work has yet to be, well, recorded. As a (hypothetical) label owner, I’m interested in talented, driven artists who want to get better and know their best albums are still unwritten.

Honorable Mention: Art Vandelay, because Aesop Rock, Atmosphere and everything’s cyclical.


Posted by Jeff

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