After selling out two back-to-back, 21-and-older performances at the Wild Buffalo in late September, the Blue Scholars will return to Bellingham to perform with an arsenal of other Northwest hip-hop acts. This time, the show is open to everyone.
The Scholars, as well as Seattle-based hip-hop artists Scribes, Dyno Jamz and Brothers From Another, will all be performing Nov. 19 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room, for what is sure to be a marathon of beats and rhymes. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. Presale tickets, available at the Performing Arts Center box office, will cost $11 with student ID and $16 for general admission. At the door, tickets will cost $14 with ID and $20 general admission.
DJ Sabzi and emcee Geologic make up the Blue Scholars. Since their inception in 2002, they have helped pave the way for the emergence and increasing popularity of the tight-knit genre that is Northwest hip-hop. Like part of their name implies, the Blue Scholars’ music is intelligent. Geologic’s verses commonly advocate cultural enrichment, political reformation and youth empowerment all while retaining a clever lyrical deliverance and a deep-set devotion to Seattle and the Northwest.
In their newest album, “Cinemetropolis,” the Scholars aimed to create music that is expressively visual. On the album cover, they depict their work as a “visual soundtrack.” The group’s intentions for “Cinemetropolis” show through Geo’s lyrics on the song “Lalo Schirifin,” where he raps, “It’s time to make the matter matter again, show you how to make a camera with a pad and a pen.”
Sabzi has extensive talents as producer and DJ. His jazz piano background shows through the soulful beats of “No Rest for the Weary” and “Coffee and Snow.” Sabzi’s production style varies from song to song and from album to album. While the Scholar’s 2007 album “Bayani” uses more classic hip-hop production styles such as sampling, the music on “Cinemetropolis” is full of eclectic sounds, interesting synth leads and intriguing percussive parts. The combination of Geo’s poetic lyricism and Sabzi’s catchy, intricate beats make the Scholars a refreshing break from some of the other ego-crazed, materialistically-driven hip-hop acts.
Associated Students Productions Pop Music Coordinator Megan Housekeeper said that while this is not the first time the Scholars have performed on campus, increased student interest in the group made the booking for this show possible.
“There seemed to be a lot of buzz about their new album, especially with the two shows at the Wild Buffalo,” Housekeeper said. “We were commonly getting them on our ‘taste-test’ survey every year, so it seemed about right to bring them back.”
All four acts on the bill share Seattle roots. If there is one thing that speaks true for Northwest hip-hop, it’s collaboration. Sabzi has produced beats for both Brothers From Another and Scribes.
“Most all of the names you see on the bill have probably played together at some point, which is really unique, and I think that’s what makes Seattle hip-hop so unique,” Housekeeper said. “There’s a lot of networking happening and a lot of really tight friendships as well.”
One opening act of particular interest is Dyno Jamz. While the other three sets during the show will consist of the classic DJ and emcee hip-hop combination, Dyno Jamz is an eight-piece hip-hop ensemble. With a drum set, keyboard, bass and a wide variety of brass instruments, Dyno Jamz distinct sound lead them to the finals in the 2009 Sound Off! Competition in Seattle.
Housekeeper said that student input is a big factor in deciding who performs at Western.
“It’d be really cool to see a lot more students speaking out about who they want to see on campus,” Housekeeper said. “And with the hip-hop genre especially.”