The Affordable Housing Conversation Everyone Can Understand

By David Toledo

THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING BUZZ. UNDERSTANDING WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT.

Seattle loves our buzz-words and bumper sticker slogans; and who can’t get behind something like “Affordable Housing, Now!” Especially when the annual night-out homeless count found 2,813 people sleeping on the Seattle streets (and another 1,000 on the outskirts of town).

But ask the average person on the street to define affordable housing and you might be surprised with the answer (or lack of).  Terms like affordable housing, rental subsidies, transitional housing, shelters, Section-8, and low income housing all run together in a hodge-podge of confusing buzz words and political jargon.

If we want to solve these problems we need to all start speaking the same language.

The first step in addressing the very different, yet sometimes linked problems of affordable housing and homelessness will lie in our ability to clearly communicate what we see as the genesis of each problem.  Once we are clear with what problems we are trying to correct we can begin identifying existing programs along with their strengths and weaknesses.  We need to communicate in clear, easy to understand terms what at the challenges and what is the goal as we move forward in address our housing problems.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING:

The term affordable housing is connected to median income.  Once the median income for an area is established then rentals over 30% of a renter’s income is considered cost burdened or unaffordable.  So what is median income?  Median income is the middle point of a climbing income chart.  At one end you have zero income, the other end you have the highest earner in the given area.  All earners are put on a chart from lowest to highest in chronological order.  Then, the chart is split right down the middle and that point is the median, the exact center of the chart.  Median is not the average income of an area, nor is it a bell-curve (majority income).  Here’s an example- if the market consists of only 9 people, with the first 3 all making $3 each, then all others earning income that climbs in $5 increments, the median in this case would be $13 (the middle point), and 30% of that would be $3.90 (affordable housing).  Now, if all landlords in the area rented at that rate, it would make it very hard for tenants at the lower end of the spectrum to find housing; which is what has been the topic of discussion for those advocating for “affordable” housing.

Median Income Sample

The confusion comes when using the term “affordable” housing in broad terms. In markets with heavy ends of the spectrum landlords who may in fact be pricing their units at 30% of median income may appear to be price gouging when that is not always the case.  Median income for a 2-person household in Seattle for 2014 is approximately 64K.  So a 1-bedroom apartment priced at $1600.00 is considered affordable housing by HUD standards, even though this rate would not be considered affordable by someone living in the lower end of the chart.

We need a clear distinction between advocating for rent control, subsidized housing, or homeless shelters and services.  All are important discussions and deserve to receive consideration from our city leaders and community stakeholders.

If we are talking about rent controlled areas then we must be clear that rent control legislation is what we are seeking.  However, as RCW 35.21.830 currently prohibits rent control in Seattle we need to look at other ways to provide relief to renters.

If we are talking about increased subsidy programs we need to look at the pros and cons of existing subsidized housing in Seattle to see how to best develop any new funding programs.

SUBSIDIZING TENT CITIES AND SHELTERS:

Currently the City is looking at providing 50 new shelter beds and proposing a bill to allow three tent encampments in the city.  Funding of new and expanding shelters and tenant cities must be a priority for our legislators.  If Seattle moves forward with linkage fees on new construction this should be one of the areas that we use the collected revenue.

As these programs are expanded we must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all regarding our shelter system.  Many seniors won’t stay in a shelter because they fear the youth violence, whereas some veterans won’t take a bed that could go to someone else because they are still holding to their idea of honor and service to their fellow man.  We need to look at targeted funding/special programs for our seniors and our veterans, as well as growing our teen, single mothers, and family shelters.

The proposed 3 tent cities modeled after the Nickelsville camp can provide community structure that is much safer than the streets would be for a family trying to survive on their own. However, the city still needs to develop a structure for how to best partner with these programs, and provide access to essential services such as one-stop help complexes to give access to city services and help with personal economic recovery.  Additionally, some activists are working towards establishing tent-cities in residential areas; whereas currently they are limited to mixed use and commercial zones. The concern that tent cities may permanently change the personality of a given neighborhood is something that city leaders must consider when engaging this issue. We must resist the urge to fix-it-quick and instead find a long-term solution that meets the needs of those facing homelessness while still respecting the property rights of our neighbors.

HOUSING SUBSIDIES:

Voucher Programs:  Voucher programs are generally HUD funded programs that involve HUD paying a portion of said rent.  The “Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher” program is a voucher that is given to a tenant to use at ANY rental property that falls within the voucher limits (a 1-bedroom voucher is $879).

The Section 8 voucher holder is considered a “protected class” in Seattle which means landlords cannot discriminate or refuse tenancy just because they don’t want the Section-8 check.  It has become increasingly harder to use Section 8 vouchers in the Seattle area because of the recent rise in rental amounts, but the voucher is still valued for its portability.

The second type of voucher is called “Project Based” which ties the subsidy to the apartment itself.  The Project Based program partners with a given apartment building (these apartment owners are community partners working directly with HUD or with a Housing Authority).  This means the tenant pays a reduced rent on the apartment.  If the subsidized tenant decides to move from the apartment they lose the assistance and the next person moving into that apartment gets the subsidy.  As long as the voucher holder stays under 80% of median income they will receive some portion of assistance.  If the tenant income surpasses that 80% of median income the tenant loses their voucher.  However, in both cases the vouchers are also transferable between household members, and can be given to other family members or even friends as long as they are listed in the household.  The vouchers are transferred by promoting a current household member to Head of Household prior to the original voucher holding tenant moving out.  Some subsidy vouchers have been known to be handed down through several generations.

It is not uncommon for developers to receive tax-breaks in exchange for a low-income annex to new construction. Contracts usually stipulate that a portion of the new rental space be subsidized for an average of 40-years before moving to market rate.

LIPH:  Another type of subsidy is Low Income Public Housing (LIPH).  This is housing which is usually owned and operated by the government or a non-profit, although some public housing projects are managed by subcontracted private agencies.  Seattle Housing Authority owns some 600 properties in Seattle including single resident homes, duplexes, high rise buildings, and major housing properties such as Yesler Terrace, High Point, Rainier Vista, and New Holly.

Seattle Housing Authority provides subsidy assistance to over 28,000 people in the Seattle area alone each year.  This includes over 5,300 Low Income Public Housing (LIPH) units in major apartment complexes, 1,600 town homes, duplexes, single family units, and another 8,500 Section-8 vouchers.  King County Housing assists another 7,800 apartments and 11,000 Section-8 vouchers, and smaller programs house thousands more in the Greater Seattle area.

Although some programs such as Senior Housing have a minimum income requirement with rent portion based on a step-program, the majority of LIPH programs do not have such a requirement and ask only a $50 monthly payment for tenants with very low or zero income.  This is where the biggest drain is on the Housing Authority’s budget and something we will look at in the next section.

SAVING THE SUBSIDIZED HOUSING WE ALREADY HAVE

In 2014 Seattle Housing Authority presented their Step Forward Proposal.  Under the proposal current households with “work-able” tenants would be required to move to a step increase rental program.  Unfortunately the program met with fierce resistance and was shelved, possible permanently.  But I would like to examine the proposal as well as the circumstances that led to its inception.

Their proposal simply put operated like this:  LIPH households that had someone “work-able” between the ages of 24 and 61 and who does not have a disability would move to a step-rental program.  Let’s look at a 1-bedroom example of how the program would work: A family in a one-bedroom apartment would pay $140 monthly rent for the first year (four bedroom homes start at $180), rent increased the second year to $340, and so on until it peaked at $720 in the 7th year.  The program is easily affordable for even someone working part-time at minimum wage and is in-step with the increased minimum wage law that is currently being applied in Seattle.

Some Seattle City Council members not only refused to engage in discussion of the proposal, but actively encouraged the disruption of town hall meetings that were designed to foster dialogue between the Housing Authority and its tenants.

But what events inspired the proposal in the first place?

In 2011-2012 Seattle Housing lost 11% of its annual budget when HUD announced that it was cutting funding to Seattle Housing Authority.  This resulted in massive staffing cuts, but left the tenant subsidies untouched.  In other words, Seattle Housing Authority did everything they could in order to keep the tenant programs running as they had always been.

Now, imagine you are the property owner of one of the 4-bedroom homes that SHA owns. The renters are a zero income family paying the standard $50 minimum rental bill each month.  This year the roof starts leaking, and someone kicks a hole in the wall, the window gets broken, and the refrigerator needs replacing.  Plumbing issues, electrical issues, bedbugs, vandalism, and more.  How do you cover the costs of these types of repairs when you’ve only brought in a total of $600 in rent for the entire year?  Even the best of tenants will require maintenance now and again; and SHA pays union wages, so the repair job is always quality; but the bills aren’t cheap.

But the biggest source of destruction in many zero-income homes is mold.  One of the biggest problems facing a zero-income family is how to pay for electricity.  If a family cannot pay their electric bill or intentionally keeps their heat turned off to save money, the result is often mold.  Mold can destroy insulation, fixtures, interior and exterior walls, and more.

So we have to ask ourselves is the current model sustainable?  Can Seattle Housing continue to meet the needs of current and future residents with funding being cut and with a City Council that fails to act as an honest broker between the Housing Authority and Tenant Advocates?

I’m not here to debate the merits of the Step Forward proposal.  But I will ask if you had previously heard any of the information I just presented? In order to solve our housing problems voters and advocates need to be presented with all the facts and we need city leaders that are able to examine all ideas without giving in to their own hubris and political grandstanding.  Don’t like the proposal? Have concerns with certain areas and need more information on exemptions?  Bring them to the table and let’s talk about them.  I understand and agree that nothing should be rubber stamped.  We see the results of failed due diligence in the matter of the tunnel fiasco and we want city leadership that asks questions and is engaged.  We need city leaders that encourage honest conversations and debates in an effort to find positive solutions to our housing problems.  However, what we’ve seen instead is a city council that encourages shouting down opponents and the obfuscation of facts, and that is doing our city a great disservice.  We must be careful about our focus on what other programs the city should fund or expand even as the largest housing program in our region is sinking beneath us.

EXPANDING SUBSIDIZED HOUSING IN THE SEATTLE AREA

There have been a number of proposals for expanding subsidized housing in the Seattle area.  Ideas range new construction “linkage fees” assigned to contractors and used to fund smaller low-income housing programs.  Others have suggested more flexibility with micro-housing and congregate housing standards, encouraging the building of apartments that trade the comfort of spacious living for a lower rental costs.

However, we as a city also need to look at external forces that hinder low-income housing from being successful.  We talked earlier about the issue of mold being rampant in low-income housing units; causing structural damage as well as health issues for tenants.  This problem is often overlooked by those that advocate for free homes/housing for the homeless.  Although their hearts are in the right place, it is almost certain that any shelter in the northwest will fall into disarray if the person being housed is unable to keep the electricity on.

Educational opportunity, work training programs, economic growth, and addressing Seattle’s perilous relationship with one of the country’s most regressive tax systems are all steps our city leaders must take if we are to ever see a decrease in our need for emergency shelter and subsidized housing services.

For those of us that advocate for our brothers and sisters that are at-risk of losing housing, or that are already living in transitional housing, shelters, tent-cities, or on the street; we must be clear in our message.  We must not be afraid to discuss ideas and we must never let “perfect” be the enemy of “good”.  We can overcome even the most mountainous of problems one step at a time; unified, armed with knowledge and a willingness to hear all ideas.

 

David Toledo Seattle City Affordable Housing Advocate
David Toledo is the Director of Unified Outreach Seattle, a 501c3 established 1998.

 

 

 

Deepest Roots: 30 years of Hip Hop in Seattle

roots needle 2

Nearly 40 years ago hip hop was born.  On two coasts it evolved into completely distinct forms of the same base element. Just as both the Diamond and Graphite are both forms of Carbon, the atoms of the base element are simply bonded together in a manner which in the end produce completely different products. By the mid 1980’s both New York and California were both considered hip hop meccas; yet their music, dance style, and fashion bore little resemblance to each other.

It was during these early years that Seattle began to form its own identity within the greater hip hop community. Although there is an argument to be made that there were both California and New York influences it wasn’t too long before Seattle began to stand on its own.

Still, for those of us lucky enough to be around during its conception, the Seattle hip hop scene has evolved in ways that no one could have imagined. In this article I would like to share Seattle hip hop from my perspective. In doing such, I hope that you will forgive me if I saw things differently from you that may have also been there at the time. Please accept this article as a show of love and respect for those that were here from the start.

Seattle_Emerald-Street-Boys_1983

So around 1982 rap music started getting some air play by legendary DJ Nasty Nes Rodrigues. A Seattle rapper with his own tape (let alone LP) was hard to come by; but K-Fox DJ Nasty Nes did what he could to push the music of local artists such as the Emerald Street Boys and Sir Mixalot. The influence of West Coast “freak-rap” such as Egyptian Lover was very evident in Sir Mixalot’s early recordings, although he alternated from “freak” to “fun” with raps modeled after Brooklyn based rap group Newcleus. Shortly after, groups and individuals such as the Silver Chain Gang, Daddy D, KOC, and Jam Delight begin making names for themselves on the Seattle rap scene.

Of these groups the Emerald Street Boys quickly rose to the top, recognized as a complete performance package, even getting attention from Seattle’s premier music newspaper The Rocket.

Meanwhile… Breakdance is slowly making its way into Seattle with kids popping and locking at the occasional YMCA or Boy’s Club Party. It also begins to make appearances at some of the larger summer parties held in Mt. Baker and Rainier Valley by the Dumas and Wiley families. Iconic breakdancer Junior Alefaio and Carlos (Slamalotte) Barrientes form two legendary groups “the Emerald City Breakers” and “Seattle City Breakers”.

Then came the Motown 25 performance and the Michael Jackson Moonwalk and everyone wanted to learn to breakdance. Undoubtedly 1983 was Seattle’s golden year, as Nathaniel (DJ Paris) Wilson, Jamie Sullivan, and John Meadows lit the fuse and brought down the house with their choreographed dance to the Jonzun Crew’s “Space Cowboy”.   The Floor Rockers led by Eric Lamar Johnson and Devon Anderson rocked the Garfield High School homecoming, the Emerald Street Boys, Silver Chain Gang, and MC Andy Hamlin performed at the Black Festival in Judkins Park, and Sir Mixalot’s song “7-Rainier” hits street-gold status selling over 500 copies from the trunk of the Cadillac. Meanwhile… Danny (Scramblin Feet aka DJ Supreme) and Carter (Short Circuit aka FeverOne) from the Seattle Circuit Breakers begin making names for themselves, even as their group performs on Seattle’s Saturday morning variety show “Flash”.

Music videos from Seattle artists were all but unheard of in 1983.  But local artist Bobby and Jack Oram (aka Mr. X) released “I pity the man” accompanied by a video shoot at the Blue Moon tavern and featuring the Seattle City Breakers (starring Baby Ray as “Mr. X”).  Members of DeRoxy Crew, Grandmaster Breakers, Backstreet Breakers, West Coast B-Boys, and Breaking Mechanism also made brief appearances in the video.

seattlecircuitbreakers                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ssb zig

Hot clubs for breakdancers included Lateef’s, Stallions, Club Broadway, Spectrum, Buzzy’s, Skoochies, and oddly enough a little AA joint called Club Fremont. Super groups such as the Circuit Breakers, Paradise, Unlimited Force, Seattle City, West Side, Fresh Force, Breaking Mechanism, 1st Degree, and Deroxy featuring Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez all had a chance to shine in these hip hop friendly clubs. Individuals such as the Mighty Spencer Reed, Dale Lundeen, Reggie Baron, Donald (Ziggy) Zirkle, Gerald Carpio, Flex, Anthony (Mr. Cool) Soriano, Tony Torres, Joe (Dreamer) Baechle, Rubik, Bublz, Chris LaPonsey, Robert Farrell, Wacky & Packy, Ian (Snowboy) Whitmarsh, Sean Holeman, Freaky Lee, and Raphael Contreras quickly became known around town as serious competitors.

1984 Seattle saw its first wax rap album as Sir Mixalot left his job at the video game arcade “Lectric Palace” and teaming with DJ Nasty Nes released “Square Dance Rap”. The following year, Sir Mixalot would continue to build on his fame by releasing a extensive catalog of songs on tape including “On the Map” giving props to fellow NW artists such as Phantom of the Scratch (aka DJ Strange), Vitamix, Wicked Angel, Baron Von Scratch, Glen Boyd, Maharaji, and others.

Seattle also sees its first aerosol mural as DC3 and Kuo (Mr. Clean) Yang paint a block long burner on the side of the Downtown Nordstrom; inspiring other artists such as Musician/Rapper and Graffiti artist Michael (Specs Wizard) Hall, David (Image 8000) Toledo, and Sean (Nemo) Casey to pursue the medium.

spaide piece

Meanwhile.. there was something stirring in Rainier Valley as iconic rapper E-Dawg was beginning to write raps and perform locally as MC Electro Shock…

And just in time for Breakdancing to actually start dying out, Komo television squeezes the last bit of life out of it with Summer Break 84’, featuring a painfully stiff Steve Pool.  Despite the decline of breakdancing, dance parties thrown at the YMCA and Boys Club by Sir Mixalot continue to break records with packed attendance.  Town hero’s Duck & Shame, Aaron (Kaze) Dixon, Sean (Stax) Moore, and Chris (KE1) Morris are regular attendees, keeping the crowds hyped and the dance floor packed.

1985 Seattle Bandstand aired, just in time for the new dance craze to take-off. The “Prep” was a dance that combined all of the competition that breakdancers craved with the ability to actually dance with your girlfriend. Prep crews such as the Ducky Boys and PPIA (Party People in Action) quickly gained notoriety and neighborhood fame on the program. This year also saw the 40 foot mural on the Garfield High School track by graffiti artist (and Ducky Boy member) David Toledo and Bobby (Vision) Charles, as well as murals by Tony (Skreen) Fleeks, Sean Savage, Merrill (Shylo) Brown, Dorean (Solo Doe) Dinish, Spraycan, Keep & Shame, Bazerk & Faze, Dadone & Spaide, Danny Molino, and others.

1 Ducky Boys

car

The following year we saw increases in Seattle rap presence with Demetrius White, KOC, Frostmaster Chill, Robert (MC Le Rap) Spikes, Bill (Mister Bill) Pleasant, and Big Boss Cross all starting to establish themselves; however, it was the 1987 release from former Seattle Circuit Breaker, Danny (DJ Supreme) Clavesilla  that made the nation take notice. Along with Cornel (CMT) Thomas, and Chenelle (Chelly Chell) Marshall they formed Incredicrew. Shortly after Sir Mixalot releases the first full Rap LP from Seattle (SWASS).  Sugar Bear (Emerald Street Boys) spins regularly at Club Encore in Renton and has a capacity crowd every weekend.

Swass

1987 Nasty Nes returned to his true love and local rap on the KCMU station, along with Music Menu record store owner and rap aficionado “Shockmaster” Glen Boyd.   In heavy rotation are Seattle artists Chilly Uptown and Kid Sensation. Local artists Specs Wizard, PD2, Kevin Gardner, Tony O, Redwine, 2Smooth, Dwayne Pitre, Spencer Reed, Nicky F aka MC Ready, Richard & Randy Marley, and Kelly (DJ Zippy K) Peebles are all contributing to a vibrant music scene. A great year for rap, Seattle also saw the emergence of Duracell featuring Derrick (Silver Shadow D) and Bruce (Horton B) Griffith. Barry (DJ B-Mello) Williams also announces he’s arrived with trend setting mix tapes that establish him as a top-shelf DJ.

David (Image 8000) Toledo and Sean (Nemo) Casey complete the seminal aerosol mural “ImageNemo” at Gasworks Park, inspiring the next generation of graffiti writers even as David Toledo himself retires from the art.

Image Standing 1987

By the way, the New York City Breakers came to town and were shut down by the High Performance Breakers, putting a nail in the coffin of breakdancing in the 80’s.

The 1990’s brought some hot new rap acts that not only lit the streets of Seattle on fire but gained nationwide attention. Criminal Nation and High Performance (yes, they rap too!), Brothers Of The Same Mind, and Silly Rabbit featuring Tony Russell all put out quality albums.

Meanwhile…, Tyrone (Cool Rippin’ T aka TYRONE the Working Class Hero) Dumas starts making beats and raps, as his cousin Michael (E-Dawg) Johnson begins mowing Sir Mixalots yard; seeing it as a stepping stone to building a relationship and with future aspirations of a career in the music business.

The nineties also gave us access to our own local video-music station as Public Access Television launched Music Inner City and the Coolout Network featuring Georgio Brown and introducing us to the 206Zulu Queen Kitty Wu, along with Glow Medina and other hosts.

Coolout throwback

1992 the game changed as Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back” (with B-Side “Can’t Slip” featuring E-Dawg) dominates MTV and the charts, pulling in a Grammy and shining a light on the Mixalot Posse aka the Cosmic Legion featuring Terry “Maharaji” Matthews, Ron “Attitude Adjusta” Brooks, and Steve (Kid Sensation aka Xola) Malik. Glen (Shockmaster) Boyd leaves “Rap Attack” and moves to LA to work for Rick Rubin and Def American Records. Still, local groups such as MurderOne featuring James (King Kels) Kelsey, and PDQ featuring Frankie Wells pushed against the mainstream and produced some of 1992’s best music. 1992 also sees Alison Plumper launch the local music magazine “the Flavor”.

Ps… Did you see how E-Dawg went from mowing the lawn to making platinum albums? Learn from that!

And even as the music scene starts to explode; Seattle graffiti art has also found a new group of heroes including Nathan (SireOne) Hivick, Divine, Hews, Soul Uno, Sneke, Stash, and Rey, while old-school artists Specs and Nemo continue to be major forces in the city.

In 1993 Garfield High basketball star Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler and his group Digable Planets take rap in a whole new direction, E-Dawg and Filthy Rich release “Drop Top” and also appear on the Seattle the Darkside compilation (also featuring Xola, Jay Skee, and 3rd Level), Greg B, Silver Shadow D, Ghetto Children, and Six in the Clip all continue to establish themselves as contenders in the rap game.

The following year Andre Bostic forms Sexy Sounds Management and releases the “Moving Target” album featuring David (Image 8000) Toledo, Dawny (Truck) Toledo and Esera (Easy) Mose (also from the group Nature Boys), with production by DJ Supreme and TYRONE and featuring scratching by DJ B-Mello. Additional artists on the Moving Target album include James (Justice aka Boogie Brow) Stewart and Fred (Just Do It) Stewart.  1994 also saw releases by Greg (Funk Daddy) Buren, DJ Kamikaze, Sinsemilla, DJ Topspin, and Prose And Concepts (formerly Six in the Clip).  1994 also saw the publication and distribution of David Toledo and Michael Owsley’s comic book “Urban” based on their real-life adventures as Seattle graffiti artists.

Moving Target Record 2Urban Cover

1995 we saw the stirrings of a rebirth of break dancing, with groups like Circle of Fire, Massive, and Boss crew holding regular cyphers at a number of clubs. Rap-fusion group Silly Rabbit continues to push the boundaries of Seattle music; releasing the ablum “8ball” accompanied by a full length comic book based on the band, written and drawn by David (Image 8000) Toledo and distributed in both the US and Canada. TYRONE release “Middle Man Mojo” to high acclaim and establishes himself as Seattle’s hottest up and coming musician.  Source of Labor performs at the Phunky Phat 95 festival at Evergreen State College.

1997 Edward Dumas launches Wet City Records with artists such as Twin G aka Twin Gamer, Harrison (Tino T) Allen, Jerome (Price) Riley, and Jerrit (Incomparable) Calloway. Chuckundi (DJ Kun Luv) Salisbury begins establishing himself as one on Seattle’s movers and shakers by hosting some of Seattle’s biggest night-out events; and launches Seattle’s Seaspot Magazine the following year. Seattle B-boy FeverOne becomes an official member of the Rock Steady Crew, and takes under his wing a young break dancer named Jerome (Jerome Skee) Aparis.

Danny (DJ Supreme) Clavesilla has a big year in 1998 as his company Conception Records (featuring producer Jake One) releases the compilation album “Walkman Rotation” and he teams up with Kutfather to host “Street Sounds” on radio station KCMU. 1998 also sees the formation of what would become the Unified Outreach non-profit arts program as David Toledo and Edward Dumas began self-funding free arts programs for youth in homeless shelters and transitional housing.

The following year Seattle’s break dance community sees the formation of its first “super group” (the Massive Monkees) headed by FeverOne protégé Jerome (Jerome Skeee) Aparis.  C.A.V.E.’ is formed by brothers Dumi and Tendai Maraire.

Y2K wreaks havoc as faulty systems and futuristic cyborg assassin’s cause the destruction of both the Rocket newspaper and Music Menu Records store. The bright spot for the year? Sportin’ Life Records is established, and Josh (Joshquest) Purden begins a stellar career as one of Seattle’s hottest club DJ’s.

The new millennium sees a new evolution of rap music in Seattle, as Ben (Macklemore) Haggerty performs live for the first time, D’Maurice and Armageddon launch their weekly music and video program, and Suntonio Bandanaz, C.A.V.E’, and Blue Scholars become the new faces of Seattle rap.

2004 Seattle Hip Hop steps outside the box as Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler stars in the film “Men Without Jobs”, and 206 Zulu is established by Danny (King Khazm) Kogita.

2007 Seattle and the rest of the nation saw Jake One establish himself as an major player by producing music for 50 Cent & Mary J. Blige, Rakim and others, and quickly follows up with his on debut album “White Van Music” featuring Vitamin D.  Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez of Foxy DeRoxy crew establishes “Studio Narvaez Photography” aimed at documenting NW Hip Hop.  Devin Pittman host’s “What’s Good Seattle?  The Shop206” on Public Access Television, focusing on local music and arts.  DJ B-Mello takes a spot on KUBE radio.

2009 sees more music evolution as former C.A.V.E’ artist Tendai (Oneder Boy) Maraire and Ishmael (Butterfly) Butler form Shabazz Palaces. Massive Monkees take 3rd place on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. MC, DJ, and Graffiti artist Michael (Specs Wizard) Hall releases a new line of comic books (Capstan Media). Rappers Sean Soultheinterrogator Danaher, Gerry Jermaine Borromeo, Sonny Bonoho, and Pierre Petty-p Guinchard gain notoriety.  Johnie Storm, Nitro Fresh, and Julie C begin basements sessions in what would become the “Saturday Morning Cartoon” project. 2009 also sees the founding of major the major promotion and management company “The Town Entertainment” by Jazmyn Scott (sister of Andre Phillips from the legendary Floor Rockers crew).

2010 David Toledo, Carlos Barrientes, and Dave (Pablo D) Narvaez host the 30-year Seattle City Breakers Reunion featuring the return of Ziggy; bringing together 4 generations of Seattle B-boys. The event also serves as a launching point for Pablo D’s multi-generational group “the North City Rockers” featuring Ernesto Iraheta, Rigo Jones, Nathan (SireOne) Hivick, and Ziggy Zig Zag.  2010 is also a breakout year for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis garnering praise for “Can’t Hold Us’, while Shabazz Palaces signs with Subpop. The same year David Toledo also partnered with TYRONE to produce a composite live-action/cartoon animation video for TYRONE’s song “Coolest Bruva”.

In 2011 we saw Anthony Ladao, the son of old school B-boy Michael (Shogun) Ladao make a name for himself as the front man for fan favorite pop group Midnight Red.  2011 also welcomes E’s Way Radio featuring Michael (E-Dawg) Johnson in a thank-then-rank format that gets high praise from listeners.

massive

Seattle breakdance hits a high point in 2012 as the Vicious Puppies Crew headlines the “STG Dance This!” showcase at the Paramount Theater. The same year the Massive Monkees win the R16 World B-Boy Masters Championship in Seoul, South Korea. Additionally, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis release “The Heist” which will go on to achieve platinum status. Billy the Fridge begins gaining notoriety as one of Seattle’s hottest rappers.  Graffiti artist Delton Son also begins to receive major recognition from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture culminating in a series of art showings.

VP 2

Seattle’s hip hop history is very rich and vibrant; with a community as diverse as the city itself. It continues to grow and evolve, but remains connected to its roots thanks to old school icon’s and historians such as DJ Supreme, FeverOne, Pablo D, and others who have stayed active over the past 30 years (30 years???)

I’m going to stop here it you all don’t mind. I’ve shared 1982 – 2012 giving us 30 years of hip hop history in Seattle.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed Seattle’s history from my perspective.   Without a doubt there are many crews, individuals, events, and items that have had a profound affect on Seattle, and I hope you forgive me if I forgot to mention them.

Please also take time to visit these other sites for even more history.

http://tyronesmusic.com/

http://drdaudiabe.com/5-2

http://www.206zulu.com/

http://supremelarock.com

2014 JP Scratches Mobile DJ

contact: KingCountyNews@Gmail.com

Seattle’s Dancing Dad is Artistic Dynamo!

Dance Point

October 2014 Seattle, WA – Recently a new Facebook challenge has caught fire, the “Daddy Daughter Dance Challenge” posted by David Toledo a few weeks ago has already received over 125K views and seems to be everywhere.  (see the video here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152736162737440&set=vb.683457439&type=2&theater

Daddy Daughter Challenge

In the video David Toledo and his 7-year old daughter Kiki match dance moves in an attempt to one-up each other and win the dance challenge.

The video is a great example of the love shared between a father and daughter and reminds us all to make time to do fun things with our kids, and as David’s Facebook post says, “Make memories with your children.”

David Toledo is from Seattle, Washington and was raised in North Seattle.  Due to Seattle Public School’s busing program of the 1980’s David attended Garfield High School in Seattle’s Central District his freshman-Junior year ~ to which David says was a blessing as it allowed him to grow artistically in such a arts-rich environment which was also home to Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and most recently Macklemore.

“I loved my time at Garfield.  I made some life-long friends and really grew as a person.  It was while at Garfield that I was introduced to the hip hop culture and most notably for me, the hip hop style of letter and character design.  I returned to the north end my senior year and graduated from Ingraham High School, but I am so thankful that I was able to attend Garfield for those crucial years.” David said.

The style of lettering and character design has played a large part in David’s adult life as he has become well known for his cartoon animation and comic book design classes.  A published artist, writer, and director, David splits his time between his professional career and volunteer services working with low income and at-risk youth through the Unified Outreach youth arts program. (www.UnifiedOutreach.com)

“My mother was a great example of a giving heart.  She actually started a food bank and emergency services hub from our home in North Seattle back in the early 1980’s.  She would prepare and deliver care packages, volunteer at soup kitchens, take in families that needed temporary housing…. She poured her heart into our neighborhood.  She showed us that love is an action word.”

Mom Closes 2   David’s mother (Alice) food bank article 1984.

“I try to live up to that.  God has blessed me with some artistic ability, and I try to use that to the best of my ability to inspire kids.  I came from a single mother household so I know some of the struggles they are going through.  Drawing, painting, music, acting… all of these things help to break down barriers and build self esteem that is so crucial in healthy emotional development.”

David Toledo and Daughter Laughing  David and daughter (Kiki)

David says that he and his daughter have been dancing together (and against each other) for years and that it was actually his daughter’s idea to post the video which is actually a few years old.  When they came across it on an old computer disc they thought it was so funny that they just had to post it.   They never expected that the video would go viral.

“We’re glad that it has touched so many people.  The feedback has been so positive and it’s wonderful to see how it has inspired others to get a little silly with their kids.  The window for making lasting memories is so short, we have to cherish that time with our children.”

Article by Bubi Dumas 11/4/14

David Toledo Seattle daddy daughter dance challenge council

Kaleidoscope Casting Coming Soon!

Kaleidoscope Casting Coming Soon!

In response to the overwhelming inquiries into the 2013 MAC Fashion House Youth Expose’ and the future of the Kaleidoscope work-training catalog; Unified Outreach is expanding the training in 2014 and reaching out to the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to once again partner with Unified Outreach in order to provide an even larger program this year. Stay tuned for more information!

August 2013 Animating Cartoons Summer Day Camp – Ages 9-14 – West Seattle

August 2013 Animating Cartoons Summer Day Camp

2013 Cartoon Animation Day Camp

August 19th – 23rd and/or August 26th – 30th

(Individual stand-alone weeks)

*Open Daily 8:30am – 5:30pm
(Parents Drop Off/Pick Up children at their convenience)

Unified Outreach@Ginomai Art Center provides a unique Summer Day-Camp option for Parents who are interested in seeing their child attain a stronger grasp of Arts & Technology in a fun and exciting environment.

An average afternoon of Summer Day-Camp will include educational exercises embedded in fun games designed to encourage personal growth, positive self-esteem and team building skills. The day will also include physical activities and outdoor time (as weather allows) including lunch in the park. But the highlight of each day will be working on the creation of a personal cartoon-animation using the kids ideas, stories, drawings and voices; of which they will have their very own DVD to show to friends and family.

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! Our students are coached by knowledgeable, skilled instructors who will work with the kids each step of the way; from story development, to character design, digital imaging, cartoon animation, and voice-overs using industry-level production software including Adobe Photoshop, Flash, Soundbooth, and more.

Doors open at 8:30am and close at 5:30pm – Parents may drop off their child at any time during operational hours. $200 per student/week.

Unified Outreach is a 501C3 Youth Arts Charity which has been Active in Seattle for over 10 years.

Please visit http://www.UnifiedOutreach.com or call 206-371-1139 or 206-333-8118 for more information on our Charity

SUMMER JAM!!

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.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON SEATTLETIMES.COM

‘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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published on http://www.seattletimes.com

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis top the BIllboard hot 100

In their 16th week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Seattle rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis have reached the top of the prestigious chart with the single “Thrift Shop,” a triumphant  achievement for the fast-rising local duo.

“Thrift Shop” (featuring Wanz) also knocks Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” out of the No. 1 spot after six weeks.

“The Heist,” the duo’s independently released album, has been on a roll since entering the Billboard 200 chart at No. 2 on the week of Oct. 27.

According to a story by Gary Trust in Billboard.biz, “Thrift” is the first debut to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart since Wiz Khalifa’s “Black & Yellow” in February 2011.

And here’s another interesting factoid from Billboard.biz: Macklemore and Ryan are the first duo to top the Hot 100 with its first record since. Los Del Rio’s 14-week reign with “Macarena” in 1996!

By GENE STOUT