Chong The Nomad / Stas Thee Boss – “Love Memo / S’WOMEN” (2018)

chongstasMy recent review of the Seattle hip hop compilation Solar Power was the catalyst for me connecting with Gary from the label Crane City Music.  We traded a few emails and I ended up buying a few of Crane City’s recent releases, including this 2018 split featuring Chong The Nomad and Stas Thee Boss.  I love supporting the small indie labels, even more so when they’re here in Seattle and focused on local artists.

Chong The Nomad’s Love Memo is pure dreamy electro-flow, smooth deep beats layered with synths and electronics like a thick, intricate tapestry.  This isn’t traditional hip hop – simply put there’s no rapping happening here, the only words being comprised of the subtle vocal samples and the occasional verse that’s almost subliminally hidden in the mix.  There’s an acid house vibe at play, but the pace stays way slower in an R&B kind of way, or even borrowing from gospel like on “Enchant Me”.  It’s great chill out music that covers you like your favorite blanket, familiar and soft and comforting.  You can give Love Memo a listen on Soundcloud HERE.

Stas Thee Boss brings a more experimental approach to her music, though her vocal presence is definitely more pronounced – these aren’t electro-tracks with minimal vocals and samples, instead delivering a prominent message.  Her flow is outside of any typical hip hop cadence taking on a more conversational and conspiratorial character.  Musically there are noticeable jazz and Caribbean influences supported by a framework of electronics and samples.  This is an album that rewards a more active style of listening.  You can listen to S’WOMEN on Soundcloud HERE.

I love the stuff that Crane City Music puts out, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for future releases.

“Solar Power: New Sounds In Seattle Hip-Hop” Compilation (2017)

solarpowerSeattle is definitely not known for its hip hop.  Yes, we have Macklemore and Mix-A-Lot, and those are a pair of heavyweights.  And certainly Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction have some cred.  I’m not a student of the genre, so I’m hardly and expert, but I do listen to a lot of music and I do live in Seattle…

But fortunately Crane City Music is here to cast the spotlight on Seattle hip hop artists.  The label’s first release is Solar Power:  New Sounds In Seattle Hip Hop, a collection of 14 tracks all by different artists, male and female and non-binary, straight and gay, a cross-section of the city’s scene.  And man, there is some fantastic stuff here.  From the more straight forward approach of Remember Face on “Hugo Stiglitz” to the free jazz-ish “Tried It” by Stas Thee Boss to the brilliant husky-voiced flow of Guayaba on “Uh Oh” (the collection’s best track, IMO), we’re treated to a wide range of styles and voices.

I’m incredibly impressed with Solar Power – it’s a perfectly curated showcase for these artists.  If you’re a fan of hip hop, you definitely need to check this one out.