Monday, October 14, 2013

CHURCH! Part II Recap

The October installation of CHURCH! was a tremendous success, filling up Black Coffee and the block on Pine and Summit with heads from across communities and generations, and bringing vibrant energy to an otherwise dead Sunday evening on Cap Hill. If you missed it, don't worry, our third installation, the impending Black Magic Noize takeover, is sure to be just as live, so join us November 10th. Here's a recap on what went down:

While Seattle Community Media Lab got the sound set up, we warmed up the space with tracks from the Super Adaptoid Tape,
Dil Withers
a compilation cassette featuring 16 producers from all over the country including Seattle's Wizdumb, Weasley Snipes, who featured on our first CHURCH! installation in September, Tacoma's Quivive, and our own wonderful co-host Diogenes.Town staple, Korvus Blackbird blessed us with some freestyles, and we moved into our first set from Seattle beatmaker Dil Withers, a humble young artist who first caught Diogenes's attention at local BEATS and Pad Pushers nights. "The way I see it is there's a circle of beat makers in this city that are easily comparable to what I feel jazz musicians in the 50-60s would be like," said Diogenes, "Dil's music says so much as instrumentals that I'd never wanna hear vocals on it. Timing and cadence of these abstract pieces re-envisioned through a fresh perspective crossed with near retro equipment makes his sound some of the chillest jams I've heard. He never masters it loud either, he just let's it ride." This warm, syncopated sample-flipping has earned Dil a large following online that is rapidly building momentum. Be sure to check out this link to his soundcloud so you're not caught sleeping.

Dex Amora
Dil's set was followed up by one of our CHURCH! co-conspirators, 19 years old Dex Amora. I first met Dex in a cypher at another Black Coffee event several months back, and was more than impressed by the smooth sophistication of his flow. Part of a growing contingency of 90s-baby emcees in the town that are resurrecting boom-bap with a fresh twist, Dex's emceeing emanates the motivation and hunger of a young artist laced with old-soul wisdom and cadence. Dex graced the space with a short set, which included his new single "Who I Be". Click the link for the video of this track, directed by J'Von Buckley. Dex is currently completing a project called #HerbPenSoul, so be sure to follow his Twitter, and stay connected for more music dropping real soon.

Since part of the vision for CHURCH! is bringing together young talent with veteran artists to build community, expand opportunity, and elevate the scene collectively, I was excited to hear that Universal Zulu Nation/206 Zulu ambassador and co-host of LA-based internet radio show Hip Hop Philosophy w/ A.C the Program Director, my sister Cassandra Williams was inspired by these two artists. "I haven't been to a show in a very long time here in Seattle because I believe that a lot of folks just played themselves out (over-saturated the shows). I caught wind of Dex Amora through a video Julie posted on her Facebook wall. I was blown away. I appreciate people that take pride in their craft and aren't busy trying to exploit every opportunity and every cent. It's very refreshing to see young Black men in Seattle understand what real Hip Hop music is," Cassandra said, "I at one point thought that hope was lost for this next generation. I was proven wrong by attending this show. It's amazing seeing Dex and Dil stand up and do it right, they've given me hope." Listen to one of Cassandra's shows, featuring an all Seattle line up here, and tune in regularly live Mondays and Wednesdays. Now back to the night.

Zeta, caked up.
During our transition, we played some more off of Super Android, while Shark Tooth Dentures, Revels, J'Von, Rico and Araless dropped some freestyles, then we kicked off the next set with a special surprise for our honoured birthday guest Zeta Barber: a Bump Local cake, baked by the homegirl Jessica Diaz, with edible lettering by Sista Hailstorm. Zeta is one of those selfless forces in the community that been putting it in for the ENTIRE town for a grip, be it through his graphic designs and support for local urban arts youth organizations, his screen-printing, his All City Chop mixtape series, spinning for events like The New High on Mondays at Capitol Hill Cider, Free Hip Hop Thursdays at Columbia City Theater,  Free Hip Hop Fridays at Vermillion, and so much more, so we were happy to help bring in a new revolution around the sun for this integral part of the 206 scene. Zeta's set got people up and dancing, blending raw Hip Hop rhythms and samples with a pinch of electronic bass, and a "Tender Love" flip that was off the chain. Hearing Alpha Platoon emcee Jack Gaffle sprinkle one of the tracks with his spit-fire ferocity wrapped up the set nicely. Thanks for celebrating your birthday with us at CHURCH! Zeta.

Laura Piece
The final performer of the night was Seattle Hip Hop pioneer Laura Piece, a formative force in the scene not only in music but also in the early years of the Hip Hop education movement, bringing Hip Hop into classrooms across the city before such things were acceptable and popular. A former Def Jam Poet, a city arts commissioner, writer and star of her own play, and a woman with a permanent exhibit in the EMP who's opened up for the Dalai Lama himself, Piece is a powerhouse fueled by original b-girl soul. We were lucky to have her grace our space. She gave us a sneak peak off her brand new upcoming album The War is Over performing melodic tracks, many of which she produced herself, also bringing town OG KingDro up the mic for a track. Check the first single and title track "The War is Over".  

Gregory Lewis
Following Piece, Gregory Lewis, of 206 Zulu/21st Century Martial Arts and of course, the All Power to the Positive Podcast, took to the mic to spread the word about what is going down at Horace Mann School in the heart of the CD. Informing the crowd of the community-led effort to reclaim space for culturally-competent education and youth service, he told us that Africatown, a coalition of 18 organizations who made Horace Mann home this summer and have served over 500 youth in the process through Hip Hop, culture, education, fashion, dance programs, and more, is facing eviction from the Seattle Public School District to reopen NOVA, despite the fact that the NOVA community is supportive of Africatown's presence. Please learn more about this struggle for self-determination, and ways you can help by staying in the loop about what's happening. Things are developing rapidly! Check out for updates, and email to get on the mailing list.

As always, we closed out the night with a cypher session, featuring beats from Dil, Zeta, and Diogenes, and more freestyles from Revels, Akira, Korvus, and Shark Dentures, and as always, we wrapped up at 10pm, right at the nick of time to avoid noise complaints and get enough sleep for work and school in the morning. I'd like to take this space to shout out everyone who I haven't mentioned yet who came through to support and lend their time, attention, and energy to make this event what it is: Nikkita, Crystal, Lovely,  Bash and Hudson of Black Coffee, Alyssa and Damien of Seattle Community Media Lab, Falon, Liz, Bling, Page One, Must I Mind, Emily, Mike, Kristina, Alon, Vaughnilla, Syed of Seattle Capoeira Center, Nicodemus, everyone you brought, everyone who stumbled in, and everyone I may have forgotten.

See y'all November 10th at Black Coffee for CHURCH! Part III. LOVE.

1 comment:

  1. Great community of People come to Church from all over the city.