Released March 2016
On the first track of Seattle’s Own a 2016 full-length from Draze, he spits, “I’m slept on, that’s why I had to set this alarm.” It’s a welcome clarion call and he’s right. Me, I’m a few years into writing about local hip-hop and only recently discovered this gem—more than 18 months after its initial release. Here’s a dude who knows his history: At the end of the first cut he deftly weaves verses around more than 50 town shoutouts from Larry Mizell Jr to Gifted Gab to Raz Simone to Shabazz Palaces to Sir Mix-A-Lot and more. (If you’re local talent, you were probably name-checked here.) What follows are 13 honest, personal and intimate Seattle stories. Many of these powerful tracks clock in over 6 minutes and delve into social politics, the gentrification of the CD, and a questionable facelift imposed by outsiders. (Because there “ain’t nobody talking about no real shit.”) There’s a big, polished sound here with big ambitions, calling to mind the work of Jay-Z and Drake. (The latter of whom my phone’s autocorrect keeps changing Draze’s name to.) Make sure to check out the Zimbabwean-influenced “Children of The Sun,” featuring Nia Hyped.