Seattle was not alone in this respect. But the way that hip-hop hit in the city and the music its artists made in response to those early influences was unique.
Nestled in the Northwest, isolated from the major culture centers and largely disrespected, these artists were exposed to many of the same factors shaping much of hip-hop culture elsewhere — gentrification, gangs, mass incarceration — but they interpreted it differently. It can be heard in the music of artists throughout the four decades of Seattle hip-hop, from Sir Mix-a-Lot and Macklemore.
For this week's episode of Crosscut Talks, we speak with Daudi Abe, the author of Emerald Street: The History of Hip Hop in Seattle, walks us through a history that he lived, discusses the cultural pressures that shaped it and details the distinct way that Seattle artists made an art form their own while telling a universal story.