Spaceman - Greetings Earthlings: The Mixtape [Review]

With the Blue Scholars and Common Market leading the Seattle hip hop revival in the early part of the last decade, the stereotypical image of the 206 rapper became inseparable from backpack rap.  The current Seattle hip hop scene owes everything to Blue Scholars, but today’s Emerald City hip hop has a niche for just about everyone.  The city boasts a handful of very talented up and coming producers with a wide range of styles, with the primarily synth-based styles of P Smoov and Brainstorm to the sample-based style of producers like Ryan Lewis.  The next generation of 206 emcees includes everything from gangster rap acts (D. Black, Fatal Lucciauno), to lighthearted acts like Fresh Espresso, Helladope, and the Physics (and yes, Seattle still calls itself home to backpack rappers like the KnowMads).

Spaceman’s latest mixtape, Greetings Earthlings, is further proof that Seattle hip hop is thriving.  From the outset, Space displays a connection with his hometown that flows in his very veins, claiming that he has that “Seattle heroin flow, I inject it with the Space Needle.”  As the mixtape continues, he draws on traditions from all niches of the Northwest hip hop scene and crafts them into a niche inhabited only by himself and Dyme Def.

Spaceman does continue the break from the typical mold of the “conscious Seattle emcee.”  Instead (as his moniker suggests) he follows the current trend of the Martian rapper.  Even with the plethora of this subgenre (KiD CuDi, Lil’ Wayne, Dyme Def), Greetings Earthlings stands out.  Unlike CuDi, Spaceman exclusively raps instead of relying on singing/epic instrumentals.  Unlike the current incarnation of Wayne, Spaceman actually utilizes witty lyricism and rhyme schemes.

Greetings Earthlings proves to be a poor man’s Space Music (a compliment for nearly any mixtape).  This doesn’t come as a surprise as many of the Space Music songs were recorded while DD was still on Sportn’ Life.  Synth beats provide the backdrop for many tracks on each project (“Get It N”), though while Space Music tended to sample older songs by Eric B & Rakim and Jay-Z, Greeting Earthlings relies heavily on Drake samples and instrumentals.

It’s clear with this effort that Spaceman takes his music seriously, but what makes this mixtape and albums like Space Music excel is the amount of fun that the artists have making their music.  An artist’s enjoyment can pervade an album and leads to a much more enjoyable listen.  Not every track on the album relies on social issues or saving the world (see “Starship,” “L’s Up,” “Get It N”), but on the flip side, not every song centers on women and partying (see “SXSW/CMJ,” “Lust 4 Life”).  The result is a project that draws on some of the best aspects of the Seattle hip hop scene—a mixtape that is primarily a celebration of fun in both hip hop and life that still doesn’t turn a blind eye to the larger social conscious.

The combination of these traits presents the listener with a better picture of who this “Martian rapper” is as a person.  It’s clear that Spaceman cares about his friends, family, and community, but he also acknowledges his own tendencies to drink, womanize, and party—an honesty that reminds me of the content of Macklemore’s early material.

Greetings Earthlings isn’t a perfect mixtape.  It has its stumbling blocks (“Forever (NW Remix),” “What Up Freak”), but also has more than its fair share of cuts (“Intro 40,” “L’s Up,” and “Fear Me” among others).  At the end of the day, the mixtape simply provides us with a very enjoyable listen.   He’s a very raw talent at the moment, but Spaceman is an artist who is fully capable of carrying the banner of Seattle hip hop on the national stage and, with this release, needs to be included in any further conversations regarding the future of 206 hip hop.

“Intro 40”
“Get It N”
“SXSW/CMJ” feat. J. Pinder
“L’s Up!”
“Lust 4 Life”
“The Killers” feat. Fatal Lucciauno
“Fear Me”

“Forever (NW Remix)” – I was surprised that this collaboration didn’t lead to better results.  The only emcee that really kills his verse is Grynch.  Brain re-uses a line he used on “I Got You,” while Logics and Space provide us with verses worth sleeping on (personally, I find it a little lazy when rappers use “Sleepless” and “Seattle” in the same bar).  I wasn’t a big fan of the original and this was one of the few bad tracks I’ve heard from these rappers.
“What Up Freak”
“Fly Dena Muf*ka”

Grade: 8.3/10

Verdict:  At times relies a little too much on Drake samples.  Though he tops the Young Money rapper at several points (“Lust 4 Life,” “Fear Me”), this prevents Spaceman from fully forming his own unique style.  Still, Greetings Earthlings is definitely worth the download particularly for those of you who are fans of Seattle hip hop or Dyme Def circa-Space Music.  It should serve as a fairly solid introduction to a very successful career.

Peace, Love, & Seattle Hip Hop,

P.S. I've attached the artwork and some of my favorite songs below, but I recommend going to Spaceman's bandcamp to download the entire project.


  1. Gangster rap acts like D.Black??

    Have you ever listened to a D.Black song.Do you read magazines, or other blogs? Have you seen his video on MTV? Have you heard the new album? D.Black is a far cry from gangster rap. Research IS required to write a blog.

  2. Spaceman's music is like Dyme Def's muisc??? C'mon are you serious

  3. DeVon,

    Compared to most other Seattle hip hop acts, I consider D. Black to be more gangster rap (if you read a little closer instead of glancing over the post, this is the way in which I frame the mention of him in the article, comparing him exclusively to Seattle acts). Granted he shows a lot more maturation on his new album, but are you going to completely throw his debut album out of the picture. The Cause and Effect followed the same gangster rap formula set forth by albums like Ready to Die and Mr. Scarface Is Back (Black even goes so far as to kill himself off at the end of the album). Black isn't a gangster rap in the modern sense of the word (see 50 Cent, The Game), but in the sense of the early 90's gangster rappers like Ice Cube and NWA--artists that were politically conscious and used gangster rap as a tool to depict their environment.

    I've done my research. Why would I bother writing 800+ on your artist's mixtape (in what amounts to free publicity for you) if I didn't know what I was talking about it. What I write may vary from your own opinions and I welcome a healthy debate if that is the case , but I that doesn't give you the excuse to accuse me of not taking what I do seriously. Doing so leaves no room for debate.

    I admit that I don't know everything when it comes to hip hop. I would have to question anyone who claimed that they do. But at the end of the day I'm giving shine to your artists. I know my research. Maybe if you took the time to read some of my other posts and do your own research you'd realize that.

    On another note, keep doing your thing. I'm a fan of Sportn' Life and have no beef with label or music and will continue to push quality music. I only take issue with the ignorance of your comment.

    Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,

  4. As to the second comment, personally I heard a Space Music vibe to a lot of the mixtape, not all of it (see the distinction I made in the samples chosen by the two). I don't think it sounds as much with the current DD sound. That's just what I heard and I understand completely if others don't hear it.

  5. To label D. Black's music "gangster rap" (regardless of the Seattle context) is to misrepresent who he's become as an artist. Sorry, man, I think you missed the mark by a wide margin here.

  6. Maybe I'm the only one who hears it, maybe I'm going crazy, but if you look at the CD Baby page for The Cause and Effect, the artists his A&R compares him to are Biggie and make those comparisons and then try and say he's in no way gangster rap is like trying to have your cake and eat it too. Besides, when you call yourself the "Teflon Don" that immediately conjures up images the of gangster rap persona.

    When I listen to the album, I here gangster rap influences on "Like Me," "Fuckin With Me," "About Mine," "Survive," "Pop a Bottle," "This Is Why" (one of my favorite Seattle songs, but he specifically states that "ganster shit was in me, before I left the cradle), "In Case," "Crazy," "Jump," and "See My Death"

    He talks about drugs, guns, and gang violence with a sense of bravado. If you want to ignore that, that's your choice.
    It's a couple years old, but here's a Times article on the diversification of 206 hip hop:

    I think what you guys are getting angry about is the stigma attached to the subgenre these days. Black shows a lot of spirituality on both albums, as does Scarface on his albums (even Face's latest albums I consider to be a part of the subgenre). D. Black shows a lot of growth as an artist and a person on Ali'Yah and if he decides to release more albums (which I'm hoping for) he can move even further away from his gangster rap debut, but for us to forget that the Cause And Effect was also a part of his career would be too convenient. If you just listen to Ali'Yah, you don't hear as much of that gangster rap side of him, but you have to look at an artists' entire discography to get a sense of where they've been and where they are. Ali'Yah represents a transformation for Black, but he definitely started with gangster rap influences and has been a gangster rapper.

    On another point, can we stop arguing about Black. I'd actually like some legitimate feedback on the review and talk about Spaceman rather than banter about the categorization of an artist that I briefly mention for one sentence in an 800+ word review in order to give an example of the diversification of Seattle hip hop.

  7. Easy on the ignorant statement.

    I was really just giving you a hard you really didn't have to email me on my personal email. Keeping this discussion on your blog is good enough for me.

    There's a difference between "Gangster" & "Street". The Cause & Effect was full of life stories about what a young man either did, witnessed or had been told first hand, "the story of the streets". Gangsta rap on the other hand is what Fatal Lucciauno's first album was. Usually the people that write about the music bloggers get this wrong.(i.e. Sea times, bloggers etc).

    No need to go back and forth. At the end of the day it's just opinions. Do you.