How Seattle rap crashed the mainstream by swimming against the current

Sir Mix-a-Lot, Macklemore, Lil Mosey & Ishmael Butler. Collage by Jackie Lay / NPR. Sipa USA via AP / Kevork Djansezian / Bennett Raglin / Theo Wargo/Getty Images / AP

It’s telling that of the two Seattle music scenes that bubbled up in the late ’80s and early ’90s to produce massive mainstream hits, only one of them earned the nickname “the Seattle sound.” But as much as grunge gets the credit for cementing the Pacific Northwest as that era’s locus of counterculture, Seattle’s rap scene had a similar fringe sensibility, one that couldn’t be pinned to a single sound, vibe or lyrical style. If most artistic movements have cohered around a common approach, the hip-hop from the 206 is, instead, defined by its sprawl.

Read full article by Daudi Abe. via NPR Music