A History of Hip Hop in Seattle
- PUBLISHED: November 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Pacific Northwest / Art and Culture, African American Studies, Performing Arts
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 304 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 24 b&w illus., 1 map
- ISBN: 9780295747569
From the first rap battles in Seattle’s Central District to the Grammy stage, hip hop has shaped urban life and the music scene of the Pacific Northwest for more than four decades. In the early 1980s, Seattle’s hip-hop artists developed a community-based culture of stylistic experimentation and multiethnic collaboration. Emerging at a distance from the hip-hop centers of New York City and Los Angeles, Seattle’s most famous hip-hop figures, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Macklemore, found mainstream success twenty years apart by going directly against the grain of their respective eras. In addition, Seattle has produced a two-time world-champion breaking crew, globally renowned urban clothing designers, an international hip-hop magazine, and influential record producers.
In Emerald Street, Daudi Abe chronicles the development of Seattle hip hop from its earliest days, drawing on interviews with artists and journalists to trace how the elements of hip hop—rapping, DJing, breaking, and graffiti—flourished in the Seattle scene. He shows how Seattle hip-hop culture goes beyond art and music, influencing politics, the relationships between communities of color and law enforcement, the changing media scene, and youth outreach and educational programs. The result is a rich narrative of a dynamic and influential force in Seattle music history and beyond.
Emerald Street was made possible in part by a grant from 4Culture’s Heritage Program.
Authors & Contributors
Daudi Abe is professor of humanities at Seattle Central College and author of 6 ‘N the Morning: West Coast Hip-Hop Music 1987–1992 and the Transformation of Mainstream Culture.
A well-rounded narrative that allows readers from anywhere to get a true sense of Seattle flavor. What is Seattle flavor? The uniqueness of being yourself.- from the foreword by Sir Mix-A-Lot
Without a doubt, Abe’s book will make a significant contribution toward recognizing the importance of Seattle artists in the history-making moments of hip hop musical arts.- Cheryl Keyes, author of Rap Music and Street Consciousness
Abe is one of our most gifted writers and thinkers, on American history and politics, on race and class, and without question on hip-hop. With the brain power of a wise wordslinger like a Ralph Ellison and the poetic flourishes of an Amiri Baraka, Abe has crafted a work that not only presents hip-hop in Seattle, but also is the biography of a community which learned how to win on its own terms.- Kevin Powell, author of 14 books, and a forthcoming biography of Tupac Shakur
Offers page after page of detailed revelations. The places and personalities that nurtured the Seattle hip-hop scene are beautifully rendered and Abe has a keen and learned sense of what matters and why. This is hip-hop history at its finest.- Murray Forman, professor of music and communication studies, Northeastern University