Hip hop artist Macklemore and U.S. speedskater J.R. Celski may be friends, but Celski isn’t expecting the rapper to join him at the Olympics.
"I don’t think he’s going to be in Sochi," Celski said. "He’s risen to fame pretty fast in the past couple months. He’s a busy guy."
So is Celski. Not long after winning two bronze medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Celski turned his attention to producing “The Otherside,” a documentary chronicling the Seattle hip hop scene which features Macklemore. It debuted at the Seattle International Film Festival in May and will be shown at other festivals in upcoming months.
Photos from Bumbershoot 2013
In August, Seattle hip-hop got yet another big national boost, as local duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accepted three MTV Video Music Awards, tying Justin Timberlake for the most Moonmen of the night. The moment was huge — not just for a city that, to quote the Blue Scholars, “has been waiting to blow since big butts and teen spirit,” but for a do-it-yourself community that has been hustling to make it happen for decades. The burgeoning independent hip-hop scene is borrowing from the scrappy, bootstrapping path laid out by Seattle’s grunge pioneers and, finally, it seems to be taking hold.
Outtakes from THE OTHERSIDE
Planted between the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains, Seattleites get the perfect balance of mother nature and city life. Hiking the trails at Mt. Rainier, tubing down the Snoqualmie River, kayaking up Montlake, cruising down Lake Washington, BBQ’s at Golden Gardens… There’s always something to do.
2. People don’t take sunshine for granted.
While it doesn’t rain in Seattle as much as outsiders seem to believe, days with clear skies and warm weather are few and far between, especially during the non-Summer months. But when we do get that perfect, 75 degree, not-a-cloud-in-sight day, everyone is outside and taking advantage of reason number 1. When it’s nice outside, it’s normal for people to skip class and leave work early. Earlier this year, a school in Bellingham canceled class because the weather was “exceptionally nice.” I’ll bet that doesn’t happen in LA.
3. Seattle hip hop sets the perfect soundtrack.
Those mellow, feel-good, summertime vibes are well-known and well-represented by the hip hop scene. Here are some of our favorites.
“I don’t think having a cohesive we-all-sound-like-this kind of thing is important. I think the most important thing is a true Seattle, or Northwest, perspective,” said KEXP DJ Larry Mizell Jr. He is one of the many hip-hop voices in the new documentary The Otherside, which premieres May 31 at The Uptown Theater for the Seattle International Film Festival, promoting the idea of eclectic community and artistic support. And his plea is important – if not, perhaps, a bit nebulous.
In a city known more for the genesis of grunge, the documentary focuses on Seattle’s hip-hop scene. The movie features many artists, and focuses on double platinum rapper Macklemore’s rise to fame.
PREVIEW: Northwest hip hop takes the stage at Sasquatch
This weekend Live Nation’s Sasquatch music festival returns to the Gorge, and for the second straight year, boasts a healthy dose of Seattle hip hop on the lineup. The weekend kicks off with the new wave of rappers in Shelton Harris and BFA, followed by the dark, witty flow of Nacho Picasso, and the nightcap of the superstars Macklemore & Ryan Lewis blessing the main stage. With the rest of the weekend featuring a variety of acts from the veterans (Ra Scion, Nissim) and one of the best kept local secrets (Kingdom Crumbs), the range of Seattle’s sound is on full display.
Check below for the full schedule of Seattle hip hop below and make sure to pack your sunscreen.
Shelton Harris – Friday 4:35pm-5:20pm - @Cthulhu
BFA – Friday 5:40pm-6:25pm - @Cthulhu
Nacho Picasso – Friday 6:45p-7:30pm - @Cthulhu
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Friday 10:30pm-12:00am - @Sasquatch
Ra Scion – Saturday 1:00pm-1:45-pm - @Cthulhu
Tilson XOXO – Saturday 2:05pm-2:50pm - @Cthulhu
Knowmads – Saturday 3:10pm-3:55pm - @Cthulhu
Xperience w/ Big World Breaks – Sunday 1:15pm-2:00pm - @Cthulhu
Kingdom Crumbs – Sunday 2:20pm-3:05pm - @Cthulhu
OC Notes – Sunday 4:15pm-5:00pm - @Cthulhu
Nissim – Monday 1:00pm-1:45pm - @Cthulhu
Theoretics – Monday 4:45pm-5:40pm - @Cthulhu
Grieves – Monday 7:00pm-7:45pm - @Cthulhu
Last year SIFF screened Welcome to Doe Bay, a picturesque documentary about a small music festival on Orcas Island that has had an outsized impact on the Northwest music scene. Filmed during the festival’s three-day span on a somewhat remote island, the parameters for that film were well-set. The Otherside, this year’s local-music-zeitgeist doc premiering in SIFF’s “Face the Music” program, was created with no such parameters. Directed by Daniel Torok and produced by J.R. Celski and Vinny Dom, it’s an inside look at the Seattle hip-hop scene, following its subject wherever it may go.
As some of you have already heard, we’ve been selected to premiere The Otherside at SIFF! This is great news for us and we couldn’t think of a better place to debut our film than to the city that helped bring it to life.
We are scheduled to screen on Friday, May 31st and Sunday, June 2nd. If you’re interested in attending, the SIFF box office opens tomorrow morning. Be sure to get tickets early, as we are unsure of their capacity.
- the MADNW crew
EDIT: Tickets are now available here!