2 Chainz the crowd favorite at Summer Jam, Macklemore makes ‘white people’ jokes

2 Chainz at Summer Jam 2013

2 Chainz at Summer Jam 2013 by Dave Conger

It was a gorgeous but windy 88 degrees in George, WA for KUBE 93’s annual Summer Jam, which made it’s second consecutive return trip to the Columbia River Gorge, after a nine-year stint at Auburn’s White River Amphitheatre this Saturday. By mid-afternoon, the grounds were thronged with the gathering mass of bikini top/booty shorts-clad females and tank-topped/tattooed males, who ambled past the abundant on-premises “streetwear” vendors and “entertainment company” CD hustlers to the main stage.

Though his set started just after 6pm and was finished well before sundown, 2 Chainz was the overwhelming people’s choice, getting nearly the entire hillside to “turn up” to his catalog of hits (or at least ones he’s featured on) about, well, “turning up.” He rolled out a set list consisting of Kanye West’s “Mercy,” Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In the Trap,” and Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” in addition to solo crowd favorites like “Birthday Song,” “No Lie” and “I’m Different” (there was a measure of irony in seeing thousands of radio listeners singing along to this ).

The ever-prevalent, 808s/hi-hat-laden “trap” beats from premier producers like Mike Will, Drumma Boy and Sonny Digital got nearly the entire hillside to do that dance – arms bent, fist balled skyward, pumping up and down to the beat – going ham in broad daylight. “Can I get a ‘rest in peace?’..” 2 Chainz bellowed. “To this stage! ‘Cuz I’m killing this!

Between sets, KUBE DJs worked the crowd, highlights of past Summer Jam performances flashed on the big screen, crowd members flashed the DJs, a brief twerking contest occurred, members of the Seahawks made an appearance, and hometown hero Macklemore (who’s hosting duties were mostly limited to introducing the next act) joked with the crowd.

“I hope all the white people have sunscreen on,” the white rapper said. “I see some of y’all looking like salmon out there.”

While Trey Songz’ set of sexed-up, “for the ladies” R&B crooning literally got them screaming, the amphitheater started emptying out gradually from there. Going back to the undoubtedly raucous campground seemed to be a better option to most than sticking around for Southern rap vet T.I.’s set of old-album classics (“Rubberband Man,” “24s,” “You Don’t Know Me”) and new-song-remix features (Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “N****s In Paris,” the aforementioned “Bugatti”/“All Gold Everything,” Rihanna’s “Pour It Up,”) at that point, and they were probably right.

As was made apparent throughout the day, for most attendees, Summer Jam is all about the “turn up,” the music is just an added bonus.


Seattle library sets world record

The Seattle Public Library staff set a world record last week for the longest book domino chain – toppling 2,131 books that are part of an upcoming book sale.

The record-setting domino chain, confirmed by, took seven hours of setup and five tries. It was the last attempt about 11 p.m. Friday that hit the mark.


The attempt was setup by 27 volunteers on the third floor of the Seattle Central Library with one portion of the books spelling “read.” At one point, a book had to fall from a shelf to the floor to continue the domino chain.

Had the fifth attempt had not been successful, there wouldn’t have been time to try again.

“We had to be packed up and out of the building by midnight,” Amy Twito, the Library’s youth program manager, said in a statement. “Everyone was so happy that we were able to break the record.”

Seattle Public Library’s domino chain was done as a kickoff to the 2013 Summer Reading Program, and the books used will be available at the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sale June 22 and 23 at North Seattle Community College.


‘The Otherside,’ a history of Seattle hip-hop, starring Macklemore


This is not actually Shawn Kemp. This is Macklemore. (Image courtesy of Daniel Torok.)

This is not actually Shawn Kemp. This is Macklemore. (Image courtesy of Daniel Torok.)

From the beginning, “The Otherside” — director Daniel Torok’s documentary about “Seattle’s underground hiphop scene” — seems to attempt the impossible, to tell the story of a community with an erratic 30-plus-year history in a 49-minute runtime.

Though there are brief mentions and a summarizing montage of Seattle hip-hop’s true roots early on, rather than examining things from a historical perspective, Torok’s film basically takes a snapshot of the three-year period, beginning in 2010, in which it was shot. (Sir Mix-A-Lot’s interview segment, for instance, was shot a week prior to the film’s SIFF premiere.) Understandably, it gets a little bit caught up in the moment it intends to capture.

A great deal of the documentary’s focus — including the title credits and much of the ending sequence — falls on the city’s suddenly nationally-renown poster boy, Macklemore, but as firsthand witnesses of his historic rise to chart-topping platinum status can attest, it’s mostly justified. At the start of filming, Macklemore was opening for Blue Scholars at their sold-out hometown shows, by the end he’s a household name who’s performed on “Saturday Night Live” and is responsible for the first platinum rap single out of Seattle since Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction, two of Seattle’s other more widely recognized musical exports, are notably missing from the film, and though Torok confirmed that both parties were  in the initial final cut, both opted out after seeing. None of them would offer any comment or reason for the last-minute editing decision. Nacho Picasso, another local rapper who has gained the attention of national blogs and publications (and helped pioneer a significant new local wave of dark, gloomy antihero rap) since his late-2011 “For the Glory” collaborative release with Blue Sky Black Death, is also absent until the film’s final moments, when he and fellow Moor Gang members Jarv Dee and Gift Uh Gab appear in footage from Sam Lachow’s “Young Seattle Part 2” video.

With these key omissions, it’s hard to not see “The Otherside” as Macklemore’s movie. But it’s likely just as hard for those outside of the local scene to see Seattle as anything but Macklemore’s city, at this particular moment. Torok’s film accurately captures this. And to those upset with these results, the director suggests,  “If [other artists] don’t want Macklemore to represent the sound of Seattle, then they need to get on their grind and make sure that they represent their sound to the rest of the world.”

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Teens with talent: Whatcom students passionate about the arts

Art changes lives. And when the lives are young — the actors, the painters, the filmmakers, the musicians, the dancers — they often find their passion early and follow their hearts, possibly keeping the flame that kindles their creativity and enriches those around them.

We found five Whatcom County artists still in their teens who speak enthusiastically about their crafts and about their hopes for the future. The students were all recommended by their teachers and mentors.

“What I like to do is communicate emotions that cannot be heard with words,” says Lynden High School student Ivie Erickson, who loves to draw.

“When I perform, I feel like I am show- ing myself to the world,” says dancer Carrie Friedman, a student at Bellingham High School.

“I take an idea and I portray it onto a moving canvas,” says Blaine High School student Gage Allen, a filmmaker.

“People always tell me that music comes naturally to me,” says musician Adam Billings, who attends Fairhaven Middle School.

“I want to strive to make that (acting) an opportunity for kids in the future who might have the same dreams as me, or any other artistic dreams,” says Bellingham High School student and actor Kaleb Van Rijswijck.