Tag Archives: hip-hop

No-go: Go! Machine won’t be happening this year

Go! Machine, the two-day local hip-hopstravaganza that featured more than a dozen of  the hottest hip-hop acts in Seattle at the Crocodile last year, won’t be back for an encore performance in 2010.

When reached for comment, Kerri Harrop, former manager of Mad Rad and PR point person for the Crocodile, said the event was cancelled by the event’s organizer Greg Smith, aka Out For Stardom’s Terry Radjaw, due to difficulties with booking Go! Machine.

Harrop had this to say when asked about the cancellation:

“The Crocodile put forth the option of consolidating it to one day, in order to facilitate the acts confirmed to date and keep the event alive, but he passed.  We hope to see Go Machine come back in the future.

We are definitely disappointed in his decision, it was one of our favorite events of 2009, and certainly a good look for the city.”

Go! Machine 2010 was scheduled to take place Dec. 3 and 4.

When reached for comment Smith said he wasn’t comfortable promoting a show he wasn’t 100 percent sure about, so he decided to call it off.

“Go! Machine didn’t happen this year because it wasn’t going to be what it needed to be. If this machine’s gonna go, it’s gonna go on it’s own,” said Smith. “I’m not going to force something that isn’t there.”

Although the cancellation is due to difficulties booking acts, it makes you wonder whether the local hip-hop scene reached its high water mark last year when acts like Mad Rad, Grynch, Fresh Espresso, They Live Mash Hall, Champagne Champagne and others has career years. Those successes all translated into big 2010s for the aforementioned artists, but from an outsider’s perspective it feels a little like there isn’t as much mainstream buzz around the local hip-hop community today as there was this time last year.

Another thing to consider when it comes to the booking angle is that there’s already a pretty big local hip-hop showcase happening Oct. 20 at the Paramount featuring Mash Hall, Macklemore, Fresh Espresso and Blue Scholars as part of the City Arts Fest. All of those groups are prime Go! Machine material, so perhaps having them all on the same bill six weeks before  this year’s scheduled Go! Machine threw a wrench in things.

I’d argue that while this year doesn’t seem as massive as last year for local hip hop, there are still lots of big things happening in the scene to merit another go-round for Go! Machine but unfortunately there isn’t enough to make it “go on it’s own” as Smith indicated.

Yes, over-saturation and over-exposure is possible, but fresh and hungry artists like Sol and Helladope are having big enough years to land on a Go! Machine bill. Throw in an appearance by Mad Rad or Fresh Espresso (maybe both?) and you’re off to a good start for a solid bill. Also, if you consider Shabazz Palaces is more or less getting ready for world domination with their signing to Sub Pop, well there’s your headliner. Of course, talking about booking Shabazz Palaces and actually booking SP are two different beasts just like talking about booking Go! Machine and actually booking the show are distinctly different tasks.

Victor Shade: The caped crusader of Seattle’s hip-hop scene

Victor Shade

Ryan Abeo, the heavily tatted, bearded, and pierced MC best known as Ra Scion of Common Market, is one of the most visible figures in local hip-hop. But when he takes the stage as his new persona, Victor Shade, he transforms from the socially conscious, rhyme-spitting Common Market frontman into a cape-wearing, world-saving superhero.

Sounds cheesy, yes. But like everything Abeo has done in the past, his Victor Shade project is serious, and it is layered with lyrics containing dual meanings that tackle weighty subjects like drug use, suicide, and spirituality.

Unfortunately, like every good superhero’s back story, Victor Shade’s tale begins with a tragedy. The concept of Victor Shade came after Ra Scion’s brother-in-law Jimmy, who was a comic book collector, committed suicide.

Before his death, Jimmy created a list of friends and family members and gave them all superhero identities complete with a detailed breakdown of why he thought the superhero was appropriate for each person. Abeo’s superhero was Victor Shade, an android that is a member of a collective called The Avengers, and Abeo decided to make Victor Shade into a hip-hop tribute to his fallen family member.

“Shortly after his death I started doing some research into the comic book character The Vision, and I was amazed at some of the similarities I found between his characteristics and my own,” Abeo said. “It really made me think Jimmy put a lot of thought into this process, so this project is like an homage to him.”

The biggest challenge for Victor Shade going forward will be forging an identity for the project beyond Abeo’s ties to Common Market. It’s a tough task, considering both acts put the unmistakable Abeo front and center — and Common Market has long been a staple of local hip-hop. Luckily there are distinct sounds that differentiate Victor Shade from Common Market, courtesy of local producer Matthew Crabtree, who does production under the name MTK. Continue reading