January 18, 2016 in Video, WOHM Premiere by

X-Ray: It Takes A Village To Raise A Web Series

From start to finish, Seena Haddad’s X-Ray web series embodies Portland’s hip-hop scene. It is by no means every – or really any particular – rapper’s story, but it is a story that most will relate to and identify with, and for so many reasons.

Beyond the all-local soundtrack and cast full of homegrown talent, the highly anticipated web series puts on for the town. From the locations to the clothing, the imprints of Portland’s rap scene are literally everywhere. And perhaps that’s what makes this series so important; it’s a realistic view into what Portland hip-hop often looks like… and has to offer.

In their constant quest to achieve legitimate realism, the project’s producers sought collaboration with a breadth of local artists. Writing verses at Arbor Lodge Coffee in the North, recording at 5th Sequence’s studio in SE, listening to Crate Diggers, wearing RoBo hats, and attending rap shows at Church Bar are just a few things that might feel familiar to those in the local scene. Seena does a great job blending these gems with a unique story that accurately captures the struggles and emotions of a young rapper, learning his way.

The local cast is brilliant. Michael “Fountaine” Stewart stands out as the leading man in his acting debut. As the Willamette Week’s Matt Singer put it, “In contrast to the bravado found in other rap-themed dramatizations, Stewart brings a quiet vulnerability to the role of Marcus Ray, a creative kid reeling from a personal tragedy who is just trying to get the wheels of his career turning.”

Portland rap regulars Wes Guy and Epp make memorable appearances in the first season of the series as some of Marcus’ dicier accomplices, while NY-based rapper Koncept (who was in-town for the summer) donned the role of a shady – albeit effective – club promoter.

Local inspiration bled into every aspect of production and Seena gave credit where credit was due. Even the visual effects and colorist duties were credited to local artist Grape God, while the official cinematic poster was created by none other than town favorite Alexander “Casso Dinero” Wright. In short, it absolutely took the village to raise the web series.

XRay 

Truly, X-Ray creates visibility for a Portland scene not often depicted in major media. It also succeeds in abandoning many of the cliches of the old guard while continuing the tradition of showing hip-hop as a search for artistry and escape, a common reality for young rappers living the Portland lifestyle. The series puts on full display the level of talent and diversity, and the director provides a blueprint on marketing local products.

The first season – 5 episodes in total – is now available to stream at XRaySeries.com. A second season is around the corner, so don’t fall behind! Check out the full first season of X-Ray for free and find out for yourself what all the fuss is about!

#OutHere

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