ALBUM REVIEW

Source of Labor

Stolen Lives

Released 2001

Source of Labor‘s Stolen Lives, from 2001, is a masterpiece of Seattle hip-hop. This is Old Testament shit, commanding, both predating and anticipating the coming of Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction (see “Invaded Lands”) and many of our top cats today. (It’s oft-cited as the reason Macklemore began rapping.) If you’ve never heard this record, go seek it out immediately. Pictured here, the 19-track double vinyl is, as rapped on the opener, an “out-of-body audio excursion.” Source of Labor was primarily the work of Wordsayer (the late, great Jonathan Moore) and Negus I, with contributions from Vitamin D and MC Kylea. This record is viscerally thrilling, expansive and experimental, sometimes with a careening rap flow that feels like a car accelerating down a very big hill without brakes. It’s defiantly proud of its Seattle roots, from the civic anthem, “Wetlands” to “Sunshowers” where an audio clip suggests that the people of Seattle think that “the sun is evil.” (LOL.) Tracks often incorporate live performance recordings, which I have to say groups today don’t do enough. I especially love Side 4 of this record which I’ll confess I’ve often had on repeat, playing that one side over and over again. I can’t speak highly enough about this contribution to our city’s musical canon. Treat yourself and seek this own out today.

Are you a fan of this record? What do you love about Source of Labor: Stolen Lives?

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