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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

Victor Shade: Seattle’s hip hop superhero


Ryan Abeo is suffering an identity crisis, but it’s not what you think.

The heavily tatted, bearded and pierced MC is best known as Ra Scion of Common Market, one of the few Seattle hip hop groups that tours nationally. He’s one of the most visible figures in local hip hop and he’s transforming the identity he’s forged for himself as the socially conscious rhyme-spitting Common Market frontman into Victor Shade, a cape-wearing, world-saving superhero that’s getting released onto the masses Saturday when the Victor Shade album is released.

Musically, the Victor Shade material shows a harder, more visceral side of Abeo’s pointed and aware rhymes which are accompanied by slick production that conjures up aural imagery of superhuman feats. The name of Abeo’s new MC alter ego comes from the Marvel Comics character The Vision, an android that is a member of the superhero collective called The Avengers. The Vision’s alias is Victor Shade.

“It’s definitely rooted in a concept and that concept comes from in the comic. Ultimately it is about an identity struggle. You have the alter ego of the super hero which is Victor Shade and you have the superhero which is The Vision,” Abeo said about main theme of the Victor Shade record. “With great power comes great responsibility and at some point and time you say you don’t want that responsibility, you just want to be a regular dude. You don’t want to be The Vision; you just want to be Victor Shade. So it’s about that internal struggle. It’s about being a part of this (superhero) world in a bad way and recognizing your superhuman strengths, if you will. That’s what makes us spiritual beings I think. We all possess this superhuman capacity and that’s what we call spirituality.” Continue reading