Seattle has a booming music scene due in part to the successes of Sir Mix-A-Lot and Macklemore. Besides them, there’s a thriving community of artists who have been doing their thing for years. In that time, classic records were made and are sort of like a best kept secret thing for those who weren’t around to witness.
This list of eight timeless songs is not meant to highlight everybody who has ever made a memorable track, but instead the first installment showing love to names like Neema, Nacho Picasso, Lace Cadence, J. Pinder, and more.
1. Sir Mix-A-Lot – Posse On Broadway
The OG of Seattle hip-hop has many records to pick from. While “Baby Got Back” would be the obvious timeless record, as we still see references to it all the time and used in movies, there was something about “Posse On Broadway.” Over a decade before Seattle’s scene really started to boom, Sir Mix-A-Lot was putting on in a serious way. Mix introduced Broadway street to the masses in 1988 on his debut album. It’s like when Jay Z mentioned the Marcy Projects or Nipsey Hussle references Crenshaw. These might be places we’ve never been to, but they’re familiar in our minds through the music. That’s what made “Posse On Broadway” memorable.
2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Ft. Fences – Otherside (Remix)
I’ve always felt like if this was Macklemore’s introduction to the mainstream, he would’ve been more appreciated. Instead, you had the wacky, effective “Thrift Shop.” What “Otherside” represents is a turning point in Mack’s career. It was a special moment in time that meant just as much to him as it did new listeners. It was cleansing the mind and explaining to the world how he felt.
The record finds Mack at one of his most honest points, where he exposes his faults and struggle dealing with drug addiction. Fences’ frontman Christopher Mansfield joined him on the remix to provide a bone-chilling hook: “Oh girl this boat is sinking/ There’s no sea left for me.” This is using life experiences to create a record that’ll live on forever at its finest.
3. Neema – The Weatherman
“It’s a typical gray night in the Emerald city,” the weatherman announces as rain falls in the background.
Neema, a veteran in the Seattle scene, has a knack for his production choices, which helps keep a lot of his music fresh. “The Weatherman” is timeless, because it paints an image that’s long been associated with this city. There’s rain and lots of it.
4. J. Pinder – Three Words
One of the greatest things about an artist’s discography is when you can debate with yourself about which song is the most accurate portrayal of said artist. For J. Pinder, this debate could ensure for hours. His projects are littered with records that will
The generalization of “Three Words” makes the story-telling that much better. It’s about a young man finding love for the first time after having a rough dating history. The whole concept is foreign to him. All stories don’t end well, but there’s lessons to be learned from Pinder’s excellent pen game.
5. Eighty4 Fly – So Cool
Potential was limitless for a young Eighty4 Fly. His videos racked up hundreds of thousands of views long before Macklemore became a household name. He even appeared on The Heist’s “Gold.” Unfortunately, he disappeared from the music scene to focus on other business ventures.
Even in his absence, a record like “So Cool” is still getting plays. Eighty4 isn’t the best lyricist, but he captures a certain vibe and mood that you can groove to. He’s the guy at school you want to be friends with. His life sounds so magnificent on “So Cool.”
6. Lace Cadence – Moonlight
Back before his days as a full-timer with The Flavr Blue, Lace Cadence was already showing signs of a promising career. His 2010, and slept-on, Launchpad mixtape was an indicator that things were going to pick up for the young artist. From that tape spawned his R&B classic “Moonlight” that only got better with visuals attached.
Directed by Jon Augustavo, Lace and stunning co-star Isabella DuGraf attached the perfect, relaxing video for “Moonlight.”
7. Nacho Picasso & Jarv Dee – Moor Gang
Rude. Villainous. Reckless. Evil genius. These are terms that have all been used to describe Nacho Picasso’s career thus far. Coming out with the assistance of Blue Sky Black Death, Nacho’s trilogy of mixtapes propelled him into something of a underground hero (or villain, depending on your stance) in Seattle.
My first introduction to Nacho was the aptly titled “Moor Gang,” featuring his right hand general Jarv Dee. His pop culture references are legendary, ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Andre The Giant. It wouldn’t be complete without lines about snatching up and sexing your girl, but Nacho’s physique made it all the more believable.
8. Dyme Def – Do Something
Sometimes, a trio is so ahead of their time within the music scene that by the time everyone is ready, they’ve split. Not on bad terms, but Dyme Def’s Brainstorm, SEV and Fearce Vill are all doing their solo work. Maybe a reunion happens one day. They did, however, provide tons of good music to choose from.
“Do Something” from their Sex Tape album meets the definition. The drums are the first memorable part of the record before the hook comes in. Catchy, I might add. Who could forget the black and white visual featuring the three on stage in an old fashioned setting and, of course, Gianna Michaels.