Friday, March 25, 2011

Northwest On The Come UP

I'm in the process of putting together a mixtape to really put BOI on the map. The first
official Blood Is One mixtape will focus my sights squarely on my hometown - Seattle, Washington.

Seattle is a far away place. When hip-hop has traditionally popped out of New York City and southern California, it's easy to see why Seattle's contributions to the genre have been overlooked. After growing significantly, the Seattle hip-hop scene has made significant inroads in its local vitality but a national scale still isn't recognized on a national level.

You should be recognizing it though! Seattle has several goldmines of unbelievable talent. One of the most incredible and overlooked is the tenacious and unique Sonny Bonoho, a Tacoma rapper who can be seen in giant trucker hats and cowboy boots. He is something else. I dare you to watch the video for "Get Down," from his album Out Of State, without laughing out loud:

Even more incredible is Sonny here in his video "Zig Zag," with the esteemed Money B of Digital Underground!

You gotta love it.

JFK (Jeff the Filipino Kid), born Jeffrey Bautista, is from the same region as Sonny but produces a far darker blend of hip-hop. Signed to the esteemed and respected Rhymesayers Entertainment record label of Minnesota as part of the duo Grayskul, JFK has only just recently branched out with his own solo album. I interviewed him for that album in an article for Earthwalkers Magazine, a Seattle based travel magazine operated by the locally renowned Caroline Li:

Jeffrey Bautista, best known as JFK (Jeff the Filipino Kid) and nickname, Ninja Face, has been a lasting presence in the Pacific Northwest's hip-hop scene for several years. He started within the Northwest artistic collective, Oldominion, and eventually teamed up with fellow rapper Onry Ozzborn to form the rap duo Grayskul. As Grayskul they toured nationally through the United States and released two albums on the independent hip hop record label, Rhymesayers, based out of Minnesota.

Hip hop has taken him all over the world. He started touring in 1999 and has been throughout Europe, collaborating with artists such as Picos Pardos of Spain.

Performing overseas with artists from varying cultures and regional backgrounds has achieved resonance with JFK. "It's awesome to work with artists outside of the States. It's a good way to promote music that way. I hope to work with more artist oversees," he said. "The best party of touring to me is being able to share your music with people all over the map and being able to travel to cities you've never been to or to revisit other cities."

Visit Earthwalkers to read the entire article.

Both JFK and Sonny Bonoho are locally established, and the rookies of the NW game need their own attention. Carl Roe is an up and comer who just got out of the Army Infantry (Fort Lewis is not that far from Seattle proper) and is seeking to immerse himself in the national music scene. His songs are available at, where he is part of the Coors Light Search For The Coldest competition. You can help him by going to and voting for him.

Carl Roe is coming into music at a good time. Maybe it's due to the recession, social change or social networking, but independent artists are taking off like I've never seen before. With the ability to completely be their own managers and producers, there's no longer middle men and artists can get back what they put in.

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