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Bumbershoot 2011 - Sat

Artist Spotlight: Local Hip Hop

Bumbershoot is Seattle, and Seattle is hip hop. No other regional festival has supported local hip hop like Bumbershoot, and we’re proud to showcase artists as they move from small stage performances to mainstage fame.

Seattle hip hop’s early years are most often equated with artists such as Sir Mix-a-Lot (who played Bumbershoot  in 1989, right after the release of “Posse on Broadway,” and again in 1996) and Kid Sensation. They put Pacific Northwest hip hop on the map in a way that was far different than the East Coast and West Coast scenes. There was nothing in mainstream hip hop that sounded anything like it–it didn’t fit with the realism of the West Coast camp, nor did it match the East Coast Afrocentric, bohemian side. Plus, the songs were just more fun (take “Baby Got Back,” for instance).

Hip hop duo Blue Scholars revolutionized the scene again in the early 2000s. The duo met when they were students at the University of Washington, the perfect background to reflect future praise on the intelligence and intellect of their lyrics. Blue Scholars represent the diversity of southeast Seattle, as their varying ethnic backgrounds form an underlying thread throughout their music. Blue Scholars showcased their talent at Bumbershoot throughout the mid-2000s, starting out by simply performing at impromptu rap sessions at the Festival. Then in 2006 they opened for Kanye West in front of a packed Memorial Stadium.


Recently, Seattle hip hop has once again garnered worldwide attention with the explosion of duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Macklemore played a small stage at Bumbershoot in 2006 and was joined by Ryan Lewis for his Festival performance in 2009. The duo opened for headliner Wiz Khalifa on the mainstage in 2011, immediately following the release of their single “Can’t Hold Us.” Since their performance, the single has hit double platinum and their most recent album, The Heist, reached gold status, with over 500,000 copies sold.

Seattle is ingrained in Bumbershoot. We want to bring some of the best local groups to showcase their talent, which is why the 2013 lineup showcases local up and coming hip hop artists Be sure to check out the following acts throughout the weekend and support The Town:

Sol recently returned to the United States after a ten month globetrotting hiatus as part of the Bonderman Honors Travel Fellowship he was awarded at the University of Washington. He travelled to India, Uganda, Haiti, and many more countries, studying the role that music plays in people’s lives around the world, and how that role differs from that in the United States. He returns to Seattle inspired and excited. Check out a clip from his performance Live on KEXP, and be sure to catch him at Bumbershoot on Monday, September 2.

The Physics played Bumbershoot in both 2008 and 2010, both times at the EMP Sky Church. The Physics return to the 2013 lineup after touring heavily behind 2012’s Tomorrow People. In December of 2012, they joined Blue Scholars for a national tour, performing in major cities along the west coast, debuting in Chicago, and ending with a sold out show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. Watch their performance at Sol’s sold-out goodbye show at the Showbox, and check them out at Bumbershoot on Saturday, August 31.

Bumbershoot 2010 - Music Arts & Dance Festival - Seattle, WA

Nacho Picasso found sudden mainstream recognition in 2011 when Pitchfork dubbed his second mixtape one of the best rap debuts of the year. After recording 2011’s For the Glory with the help of producers Blue Sky Black Death, Eric G., and Raised by Wolves, critics began noticing Nacho’s clever wordplay, particularly on everyday topics. Nacho spent most of 2012 collaborating with Seattle production duo Blue Sky Black Death, which resulted in two albums: Lord of the Fly and Exalted, both of which landed on Forbes’ list of The Best Free Albums of 2012. Catch Nacho Picasso at Bumbershoot on Saturday, August 31.

Grynch describes his sound as “feel-good… soulful hip hop,” and anyone can find a piece of his projects to relate to (he does, after all, have an ode to his ‘86 Volvo.) Hailing from Ballard, Grynch has steadily been building his profile throughout the United States by performing with artists such as Nas, Warren G, and Blue Scholars. Grynch is touring behind his third full-length album, 2012’s Perspective. Grynch returns to his PNW roots by performing at Bumbershoot on Saturday, August 31.

Dave B is the newest to the scene, releasing his debut project MCMXCII in June 2012. He won Sound Off! 2013, the Northwest’s premier 21-and-under battle of the bands hosted by the EMP. His first-place prize package landed him a spot on the Bumbershoot lineup. Utilizing saucy beats and stinging lyrical delivery, Dave B is part of the select few in hip hop that can successfully dance the fine line between sweet poetry and swaggering beats. Check out Dave B on Saturday, August 31.