In a city once known for its rock, Seattle is now looking to become a center for hip hop.
Starting May 18, Sportn' Life Records and Kublakai will be sponsoring a Northwest hip hop tour, showcasing Seattle's hottest hip hop acts. "206 Degrees and Rising" is a first of its kind series of weekend road trips across the Pacific Northwest with the goal of expanding the local and national network of Northwest hip hop fans.
"Previously known for its grunge and indie rock music talent, Seattle and the Northwest are building quite the groundswell as the next place to blow up as a hip hop music hotbed, and we're starting to attract real national attention," said DeVon Manier, Sportn' Life Records owner and Tour/Program co-curator.
Both curators of the Tour/Program, Manier and Ian Waller (a.k.a. Kublakai) share the same vision for this unique campaign: broaden the base and build more momentum by taking the best of Seattle hip hop on the road, to areas where all of the featured artists have established fan bases, but have limited opportunities to connect with them on the stage.
"Through 206 Degrees and Rising, we hope to share Seattle's top talent with the rest of the region, bringing our music live to those who support us and introducing us to many who might not otherwise have the chance to hear us," Kublakai said.
Seattle is increasingly in the national spotlight and this campaign will only build on the momentum created by the early leaders, say tour organizers. Among them, known as "Seattle's underground production heroes," are beatsmiths Jake One and DJ, Producer and Emcee Vitamin D. Both have sold to national recording artists, catching the ears of artists like Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. The award-winning B-Boy crew, the Massive Monkees, have won titles and represented Seattle all over the globe with their live dance performances. And the recent national success of Grayskul and the Blue Scholars has no doubt also helped put Seattle hip hop on the map.
The tour will feature seven to 10 acts, each in different cities in Oregon and Washington. The lineup of hip hop talent includes: Cancer Rising, D.Black, Kublakai and Neema. In addition to the traveling Seattle acts, each show will include a local performer, DJ and host partner of the event.
206 Degrees and Rising will be filmed and documented by an independent production crew from Los Angeles. Executives and Partners are discussing the possibility of developing the story into a documentary or reality show.