The City On the Sound

I was born and raised in Seattle proper and a lot of my fellow natives are mad at Amazon workers for supposedly ruining their hometown. But I don't view them as the problem.

Why should I blame them for coming to this beautiful city to seek new opportunities when I don't blame immigrants for seeking new opportunities in this country? What difference should it make if the newcomers are from halfway across the country or halfway across the world?

The people themselves are not the problem, but as a collective they bring problems with them like overcrowding and gentrification. Those are issues that we need to address as a city rather than simply complaining about them and shunning anyone new. Cities rise and fall in this world and the quintessential metropolises like New York constantly reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant. The bleak alternative is falling into obscurity like Detroit and so many rust belt cities.

Revival


It’s been a minute since my last post here, but I’m in the process of reviving this site with more frequent musings. This place started as a way for me to share in-depth analysis of the hip hop songs that I love and that have helped define me with my friends and strangers alike. As a way to help me consistently write about something I had a passion for when I didn’t have the schedule to allow writing for the school paper at Columbia.

From here on out, the site is going to evolve into the host for all my writing including but not limited to my stand-up comedy, political satire, political advocacy, film reviews, short fiction, and excerpts from The Favored Children, a Wes Anderson/Junot Díaz-inspired generational saga set in my hometown that I’m currently working on. And yes, I’ll still stick to my roots and post the occasional hip hop song breakdown.

So keep checking back in. Because things are about to get interesting.

Peace, Love, and All the Best,
Noah Buckley

Blue Scholars - "Bout That Action" (prod. Spekulation)

What a weekend for Seattle. Walter Jones is in. David Stern is out. And I know I'm forgetting something...oh, right: THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD.

I was blessed enough to be in attendance at the game and I'll have a much more extensive write-up on the experience in a couple days once I fully gather my thoughts. For now, enjoy this cut from Geologic of Blue Scholars recorded over Spekulation's Marshawn Lynch beat from last week.

Wu-Tang Wednesday: Ghostface Killah, GZA, & Killah Priest - "Purified Thoughts"

What, you thought you weren't going to see me? I may be the Osiris of this ish, but that doesn't keep work and night class from piling up. I apologize for posting so near the witching hour, but technically 11:30 is still in time to celebrate what remains of this revered Wu-Tang Wednesday. I'll leave you with a quick post before going into hibernation.

Blue Scholars - "Sagaba"

In the Upper Left, the Blue Scholars are known as frontiersmen. Pioneers who boldly blazed the trail for all other Seattle emcees in the wake of the Teen Dance Ordinance. One DJ and one MC, Sabzi was the gifted, multitalented musician and deejay whose instrumentals provided the canvas for the charismatic Geologic (aka Prometheus Brown) to paint pictures with his revolutionary rhetoric.

But often lost in the conversation of the Scholars' prominent role in resurrecting Seattle hip hop--hidden behind the unjust slights of "backpack" or "conscious"--is the fact that George Quibuyen is one of the most gifted storytellers, not just among Seattle emcees or within hip hop circles, but among some of the most distinguished contemporary authors.

Wu-Tang Wednesday: "Triumph"

Congress may have the power to shutdown the government by invoking the law of the Thunderdome, but it will never stop Wu-Tang Wednesday. To quote one dearly missed Ol' Dirty Chinese Restaurant, "Wu-Tang is forever."

Legend tells that the best way to Protect Thy Neck during the imminent post-apocalyptic hellscape is to barricade yourself within a worthy fortress, fill your bathtub with water, arm yourself with enough Twinkies and weapons (preferably Hattori Hanzō steel) to ride out the fall of humanity, and bump Wu-Tang as loud as possible (so any potential aggressors will know you Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit).

But until the fun begins, this epic track off the Wu's sophomore double album will have to hold you over while you shatter your mirror in order to prepare a haphazard spear with your broom handle.

Blue Scholars - "John DeLorean" x Brooklyn Concert

As the seminal Seattle hip hop group who helped resurrect hip hop in the Emerald, I've lost track of how many times that I've seen the Blue Scholars in concert since my Garfield days (upwards of 10 at last count). However you may feel about the socially conscious pair, Geo and Sabzi bring an energy second to none to their live shows (one of their crowning achievements might be absolutely demolishing Kanye West when they opened for him at Bumbershoot 2006--a moment that signaled the arrival of the Seattle hip hop scene).

It's been around three years since I last saw them at the Capitol Hill Block Party (they haven't done nearly as many shows together since Sabzi moved to NYC). Needless to say, I was excited to hear about their show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg this Friday (10/4). Performing with the Scholars will be Made In The Heights (Sabzi's collaboration with singer Kelsey Bulkin) and The Bar (a collaboration between Geo and Bambu).

To all of those Upper Left natives currently residing in Gotham, I highly recommend not missing this show. The same advice applies for any lovers of superb live hip hop. In celebration, I'll share this underrated Blue Scholars gem that they dropped for free back in 2011. Enjoy.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Noah



Previous: Blue Scholars - "The Long March"