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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Your Ass Is Local

Despite what 50 Cent says, local hip-hop is a beautiful thing. People come together at hip-hop shows in a way I've never seen at a rock concert, local or not. At least in Olympia, Washington they do. I don't know if that's representative; maybe hip-hop is just another thing that has been affected by the overall progressive attitude here. You might still get shot at a local hip-hop event in Atlanta or Detroit, I wouldn't know.

There's an energy and an interaction at local hip-hop shows that I find unique. I've always compared hip-hop to the folk revival of the 60s in that respect: it's usually a tight-knit community where a strong bond is felt, not just between the performers themselves but between the performers and the audience as well. There's a certain intimacy one feels when they know the MC on stage personally, a feeling that not many people will ever get from a Jay-Z or Nas, or even from people's champions Talib Kweli and Common. In my mind, it's the same feeling the kids in Greenwich Village must've had attending a local Gerde's Folk City hootenany where Ramblin' Jack and Bobby Dylan were throwing down.

Another thing that's refreshing about local hip-hop is that, usually, there's quite a different pool of subject matter the artist is pulling from. Not a lot of rappers will get on stage and spit that fake thug shit at a local club because they know the mean-muggers in the audience haven't been patted down at the door. Usually the bling-lingo is gone too, because not many local MCs can afford to floss. And here in Olympia, thanks to that progressive attitude I mentioned earlier, misogyny isn't going to go over easy either. Which means the artist is left with their own life, experiences and emotions for lyrical fodder, as they should be. If that's not enough, there's always politics!

All of this has been my (extremely) long-winded way of introducing an Olympian hip-hop duo I consider worthy of your attention, you being everyone not in Olympia. Their songs pretty much speak for themselves. Don't expect slick production or a cameo from Pharrell, this is genuine underground hip-hop made with a mic and words, y'a mean.

Resident Anti-Hero - "Everything Is Politics"

Resident Anti-Hero - "Ignorance Is Bliss"

Resident Anti-Hero - "I Got Problems"

These three songs come from the album Professional Madmen, available from Space Gnome Records. If you like what you heard, pick up the album. It's for a good cause and shit. Visit Resident Anti-Hero at their website.

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