Art Vandelay
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Art Vandelay

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"206up's Top Ten SEA Hip Hop Albums of 2011 - 206up"

MC Ricky Pharoe and producer Mack Formway are Art Vandelay, an affiliate of the left-of-center Black Lab Productions camp. On They’ve Got My Number Down At The Post Office they question the honesty of our government, point shotguns at their televisions and generally wonder indignantly how anyone in their right mind could see worldly goings-on as anything but a degradation of all that is beautiful and just. “Art Vandelay” is a self-delusion perpetuated by Seinfeld‘s George Costanza — a lie in the form of a heroic archetype that helps George feel better about his otherwise mundane existence. Pharoe is calling us the liars on They’ve Got My Number: We’re fools to think for even a second that anything is all good. Oh well, at least when the world begins crumbling down around us we’ll have Art Vandelay’s soundtrack playing in the background, telling us so. -

"Album Review: Art Vandelay - Face Tattoo"

Art Vandelay
Face Tattoo
Unimpressive Records; 2012

The strangely edifying thing about Art Vandelay’s grey-skied, tongue-only-partially-in-cheek, depress-o art-house rap, is that the MC responsible for setting the gloomy table (that would be one Ricky Pharoe) is loathe to admit the rock you — and all your fellow busy-body, oxygen-depleting friends — crawled out from under is probably the one located right next door to his own. In a musical genre where the primary goal of every MC is obtaining as much genuflection as is required to begin believing in one’s own hype, it’s nice to come across an outfit like Art Vandelay. One that relishes basking in a deafeningly melancholic solace, preaching to each empty and occupied space that everyone’s shit does, in fact, stink. Human nature is a motherfucker, isn’t it?

At least that’s what I took away from the crew’s most recent project, Face Tattoo, which can be had for freebies at the group’s Bandcamp page. Likewise their previous release, 2011's They’ve Got My Number Down At The Post Office, which saw Ricky and production partner Mack Formway preaching to no choir in particular about dark days and wanton human nature from the comfort of their own raggedy sofas. Actually, “preaching” is probably the wrong word as those in religious affiliation often find themselves the victims of lyrical beatdowns (see here: “Vitiligo” and it’s blasphemously comedic video).

Then again, the degradation opined upon throughout Face Tattoo is not exclusive to human spirituality. Art Vandelay hesitate even in placing their faith in empirical evidence, concluding on “What Is Matter?” that the only sure thing in scientific experiment is the addition of further questions. Pharoe is an expert at deconstructing both the questions that drive human exploration and the minutiae of a daily stationary existence. And that’s before he even tackles the kinetic doomsday machinations of crooked government and broken social systems (“Presidents And Prime Ministers”). Ultimately, the man is revealed as an MC trapped inside his own head, the hip-hop medium being his only reliable form of release and, dare I say, salvation.

The dense and vital soundtrack to Pharoe’s firing synapses is Mack Formway’s well-executed production. Guitar-laden sonic frameworks, moody samples and rugged breakbeats are combined to darkly atmospheric (yet often traditional) effect. This is not top-down, cruising-in-the-ride summer music. It’s far more pensive than that. “Hey Zeus!”, for example, is a sort of post-Grunge futurist meets El-P dance track. That might mean little to nothing on paper but in execution it sounds unlike anything currently spinning in Seattle hip-hop.

Art Vandelay’s threat of branding us with face tattoos finds its genesis in Pharoe’s standard MC desire of blemishing rap marks with his proverbial dopeness (which he possesses in spades). But it also seems to reference the consigned shroud that we and our neighbors persist to carry on under. Beneath all of Face Tattoo’s spoiled ink lies the notion that the world has sadly vacated the strive for something better. That maybe if the human race just moved the hell out of its own way, things wouldn’t be so constantly fucked up. -

"Home again Home again, Art Vandelay and more"

First off, my apologies for falling off on my tour blogs. I have a huge one with all the shit I missed, do you want to read it when it's done? Now, though, I'm home, on my couch, with my dog (he's got a big plastic cone on his head right now following some eye surgery). Traveling the country was awesome and eye-opening (no shots, Khujo), but goddamn it feels good to have lunch at Hana and get a haircut at Sal's! So now let me get back on some local sounds.

The revived Seattle MC (revived as in, I think he was in a coma for a couple of years) Ricky Pharoe and his producer PNC Alton Rountree are the group known as Art Vandelay, as I've explained here before. Today they dropped their LP Face Tattoo, which has album art dope enough to make Michael Richards start shouting racist obcenities. Listen to the damn thing:

You can download it for free here.
Thaddeus David's new EP Apprentice, scant months after his solo debut Maven dropped, is here. 1st class rhyming and proper beat selection are his trademark, so expect good things. Or, just listen and see:

Yukster #1 BeanOne produced this grimy-ass new joint for one half of Heltah Skeltah, Rock AKA the Rockness Monstah. It's been years since Framework's Hello World, so it's nice to hear some legitimate gangsta shit over a Bean beat.

Last but not least, avowed Marvel Zombie and EVT-repping rapper Ripynt psychs himself up for this weekend's momentous movie opening:

I usually make it a point to talk shit about ol Rip (his breath, his face, his life) but I won't lie, I'm going to see Avengers on opening night myself. I'm keeping my expectations low though, so as to protect the feelings of my inner 12 year old. - The Stranger

"Seattle Weekly Q&A with Art Vandelay MC Ricky Pharoe"

Art Vandelay is the product of local rapper Ricky Pharoe and producer Mack Formway, with occasional back up vocals/Jesus impersonations by manager Alton Roundtree. Their new album Face Tattoo was released today on their own imprint, Unimpressive Records. The follow up to last year's stellar They've Got My Number Down At The Post Office, Face Tattoo is more of the same: high fidelity, guitar-driven beats; and wandering lyricism from Pharoe's media-warped notepad. It's free for download/stream on their Bandcamp page. Also, a new video for their track "Of A Face Tattoo" is here.
I recently threw a few questions at the album's anti-hero, Pharoe, over the email, and just got the answers--and probably a couple of computer viruses--back. Enjoy:

Your lyrics are usually pretty left-of-center. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Mostly straight from the heart of the beast. Nothing compares to real life. I've been exposed to every kind of media for my entire life, I've learned a lot from other artists, writers, actors, but my day to day interactions with people is the ultimate source. I have a love/hate relationship with people. I think they're disgusting, but also pretty interesting and sometimes awesome. Somehow I've known a ton of super weirdos in my life. I mean some fucking weirdos. So yeah, they're definitely my biggest inspiration, as a writer at least.

You seem (rightly) discontent with the state of the nation/world on several levels. What would your ideal world look like?
I think my ideal world would have no government, no explicit laws and no currency. I don't think you need prisons and bureaucracy to regulate what most people find morally unacceptable, and I don't think you need money to keep communities of people functioning. I'll spare you the explicit details, but I can argue that the majority of people would lead much happier lives without these entities. Culture evolves much faster than human beings do and somewhat independently. Working 40 hours a week in front of a computer or even at a construction site is not what our bodies are designed for. This is why most people hate their jobs and/or lives.

If The Man offered you a large sum of money to sign to His record label, how would you respond?
I'd sign in a heartbeat, granted that I liked the music I was making at some fundamental level... Or probably even if I didn't. Any form of work that isn't illegal is under the authority of "The Man." Why not get paid well to work and do something you enjoy? I'm not mad at anyone on a major label no matter how horrible their music is. Even making shitty rap songs is better than being a custodian or whatever else. And really most all of my favorite MCs were on a major label at some point.

How do you protect yourself from the invisible thought-reading beams that are constantly send down from CIA satellites?
I actually have an impenetrable adamantium lined helmet that I'd be willing to sell you for $750.
How can normal people help make the world a "better place"?
Probably suicide would be the simplest method, but I consider myself normal and I don't plan on killing myself because then I don't benefit from a more spacious world. Really though, the first thing that comes to mind is just being nice to the people you interact with. People are assholes to each other, usually for no reason at all. When someone cuts you off in traffic, most people think "Nice, you fucking moron! Learn how to drive!" or something along that lines. But when we cut someone off, we're not a moron, we know how to drive, it was just an accident or it was absolutely necessary. I think this stems back to most people hating their jobs and/or lives. If you don't hate life you're probably nicer to people. And I guess if you hate life, you should consider suicide.

What do you hope people take from Art Vandelay music?
As long as they don't take us too serious I'm good. Whether they just love Mack Formway's production (and I don't know anyone who - Seattle Weekly

"Four Local Rap Albums To Look Forward To - Seattle Weekly"

Quality local rap albums by artists like Nacho Picasso & Blue Sky Black Death, Don't Talk to the Cops!, Grynch, THEESatisfaction, Hi-Life Soundsystem and La have already found our ears this year, which begs the question: What does the scene have left to offer us? Answer: plenty. In a frantic attempt to prove such claims, I've compiled a list of releases on the horizon to whet your appetite:
Dark Time Sunshine, ANX
Potential release date: Summer
Label: Fake Four

What I've gleaned from their Twitter account is that the new album should be mastered within the next week, and that the first accompanying video will be shot in New York City mid-May. The two-man team consisting of Chicago producer Alex Zavala and Seattle MC Onry Ozzborn happened upon a nearly unparalleled chemistry with 2009's free album Believeyoume, and released one of the best Northwest-associated hip hop albums of all time a year later in Vessel. The two create monstrous music together, and news of a new full-length has me jonesin' for a fix.

Kingdom Crumbs, (Untitled)
Potential release date: Summer
Label: Unsigned/Cloud Nice

During a recent in-studio interview the group did with KEXP, somebody who sounds like Kingdom Crumbs MC Mikey Nice explained that to him, the new project is "Creatively the path of least resistance. We kind of just throw on the music and go with the gut feeling...really honest music." The new group--who's members are Mikey Nice, Jerm, Jarv Dee and Tay Sean--is the most recent combination of [Beacon Hill hip hop collective/family] Cloud Nice MCs/producers, and the sound is as laid back as anything you'd expect from the camp. There are a few Kingdom Crumbs songs floating around the internet, and they all bear producer Tay Sean's trademark stoned innovation. The rhymes are mainly stream of consciousness, and equally inventive. Listen to "Pick Both Sides Of My Brain":

CopperWire, Earthbound
Release date: April 17
Label: Porto Franco Records
"What you think we do all day, swat flies?/We got two-ways and flip phones shipped in from Dubai" is the first line CopperWire MC Burntface (who's also listed under the names Askala Bilaq, Scholar Black and Ellias Fullmore) spits on "Phone Home", one of two songs the group (which comprises Oakland's Burntface, San Fran's Meklit Hadero, and Seattle's Gabriel Teodros) has posted on their website. Their elaborate site makes the project out to be part album, part sci-fi novel, but is billed (by their label) as "a hip-hop space opera created by three American artists of the Ethiopian diaspora: singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero (San Francisco) and emcees Gabriel Teodros (Seattle) and Ellias Fullmore (Oakland)." The group's sound is energetic and jazz-influenced, and has already earned some national press. Listen to "Phone Home", and "Wake Up" here.

Art Vandelay, Face Tattoo
Release Date: May 1
Label: Unimpressive Records
A year after the group (MC Ricky Pharoe and producer Mack Formway) blew minds and sent delightfully creepy vibes across the internet with their debut album They've Got My Number Down At The Post Office, the duo has announced its follow up: Face Tattoo. The first single, "Vitiligo", is just as intense and penetrating as anything they've put out before. The artwork is horrifying. I can't wait. "Vitiligo": - Seattle Weekly

"So You Don't Have a M.I.A.-Sized Budget, You Can Still Make a Good Video - Seattle Weekly"

While we're all talking about M.I.A., and being fingered by her or whatever, I'd like to mention that she has put out the best music video of the year so far. Have you seen this thing yet?! Her vid for "Bad Girls" is a blockbuster, and is visually stunning. The car stunts: rad. The resolution: brilliant. The overall vibe: ballin'. This video is easy to like, sure, but what if you're a local musician who makes normal person's cashlola? Here are a couple of things that I think will help you avoid the dreaded boring video (and also M.I.A.'s video, because it's super cool):

Make Something Shocking
Doesn't have to be on the scale of M.I.A.'s ginger-cide "Born Free" video (again, proooobably hitting your budget ceiling), but look at Ricky Pharoe and those Art Vandelay boys. They're some local guys that chose to use religion to ruffle some feathers (always a safe bet), and you can bet they didn't break the bank doing it.

Make Something Funny
Don't Talk To The Cops! makes funny videos and you can too. All it takes is some imagination and a sense of humor. Butts' "Panty Exchange" video is another great example. If you can make people laugh, they will show their friends, and before you know it, you'll be on making those big-time internet bucks.

Oh! Make A Good Song!
No. Shit. Right? Good music heals all. Even the worst video is watchable with an awesome soundtrack, and as an added bonus, you'll have a good song to play people. Imagine that! - Seattle Weekly

"The Rebirth of Cool -"

Coffee, grunge and Bill Gates might be things that come to mind when and if you choose to ponder on Washington State?s largest city. Famed for its skimmed lattes than it is for prolific MCs, things might just be changing in Seattle. Producers such as Jake One and Vitamin D are already repping in the beats department and to throw a light on the lyricists is Ricky Pharoe and Tru ID. This duo who is well able to maintain individually have just released their first combined effort Key in the Lock. Beyond pushing their limits as MCs, the duo is appealing to a wider fan base as time marches on. But is this the key to success? They may be “80's Babies” or even, “The Real Kings,” taking it back to see the future might just be what gives them the opportunity to become Seattle?s breath of fresh Hip-Hop air. How did you two originally meet, did you go to school with each other?Ricky: Well actually we used to record at the same studio and that is how we hooked up. It has to be about five, six years ago. I was about 17.Tru: Yeah it was a while Ricky: Tru used to be in a group called Pretty Mysterious with some other cats and we just linked Why are you laughing Tru?Tru: They were good times. So was there a mutual respect for each others work?Ricky: Well we started making a couple of tracks and then got to know each other and became friends. We used to sell CDs together in Seattle.Tru: It was a couple of years before we even put an album out.Ricky: Then after that Tru moved into my little studio apartment after an interesting living situation and we had drama with the owner of the apartment. Then we started working on this album we just released. Are you both born and raised in Seattle?Tru: I was actually born and raised in St. Louis until I was 14, then I moved here to Seattle and I have been here ever How hard is it to get recognition in Seattle when it comes to Hip-Hop? Ricky: The hardest task is there are a lot of artists out there doing things but it stays local a lot of the time. Becoming a local celebrity is not a hard thing to do as long as you have a decent product and stage show. It is easy to get put on as it is a small community. But to branch out afterwards it is difficult to know where to go after you get a little recognition.Tru: It is hard out Is this why you have relocated Ricky?Ricky: No not necessarily. You know being born in Seattle, I know it?s a great city, I have traveled you know. I have been to just about every state in the US and I like to get out and get a bit and life is a little faster paced down south so I am That has to be a good music move as well? Tru: It is definitely influenced with music as well as with life itself. You recorded your Key in the Lock project as a duo, what is the deal with you guys?Ricky: Well Tru is the same way that we are family no matter what. We have been through so many hard times, you know if he gets a deal I will be happy and jump through the roof. And I know it is the same way for him, but ideally it would be both of us. Tru: This album is the beginning of something.Ricky: He will be coming down here Do you both get involved in the production?Tru: We work with a few different producers in terms of beats but we are our own lyricists. We work with about four or five producers. I like to write as much as I can.Ricky: I like to handle as much as the business as I can. We have worked with some hot producers as that is one thing Seattle does not lack in and that is production. Yeah we are getting a little shine with the likes of Jake One and I think that is the strong point.Tru: Yeah we get more recognition How hard is it getting representation where you are? Ricky: In Seattle they are looking for a certain style of music, the laid back free revolutionary type of Hip-Hop which is what we are about anyway. I have spent a lot of time networking with people in California for the last couple of years. Tru: There is only so much you can do in Seattle as it is very separated. You just have to be persistent. And thick skinned?Tru: Yeah being thick skinned in always good in this game. Ricky: There is no room to be sensitive; I am about telling the truth. I love the truth, you know I might deny it for a minute but then I appreciate it [laughs.] Do you believe working with a minimum of producers is a more thorough approach?Ricky: I prefer making an album with just one producer.Tru: The old school way.Ricky: Yeah it is just more fun. I like to have a concept for the album before any of the songs are made. What?s concept? [Laughing]Ricky: [Laughs] Yeah we have more dance concepts today. So when you go in to record do you always have a concept in mind?Tru: I wouldn?t say always, but I would say concept is crucial on both song and an album -

"Art Vandelay - Vitiligo - The Stranger"

Recognize ol boy? No not Jesus, the MC. If you've been paying attention to local hiphop (ever hear me talk about it?) since at least 2005 you should know this guy. He's been around, under a couple different names: at first he was Greasy Earl (his 2003-or so EP was great, and was had great features from Sonny Bonoho and Billy The Fridge, but since at least 2005 he's been known as Ricky Pharoe. That year he dropped Civilized—a record with producer Budo, who that same year produced 60 percent of Macklemore's Language of My World, and is now one half of Grieves & Budo, duh. In my eyes, it was part of the formidable mid-decade wave of great, smart and well-put put together local hiphop.
He's been active since—including an album with Tru ID a move to California, a return, and his The Next Life EP—but cats should most be excited by his newest name, Art Vandelay. That's a group consisting of Pharoe and producer Mack Formway Alton Rountree; their They've Got My Number Down at the Post Office from last year was a repurposed bunch of odds & ends remixed and processed into a funky, funny stew of bored-at-stupidity satire and spit. Their new one, which by my count is their first real one (at least with initial intent as a unit), is called Face Tattoo, and drops this spring. Isn't it nice to think about spring now that it's February? Shit, that means it'll be summer soon, and then fall. Oh man, we're all gonna die. - The Stranger

"My Philosophy - The Stranger"

Speaking of, Seattle's own Ricky Pharoe, despite his claims of "semi-retirement," appears to still be at it, recently letting fly a couple projects brimming with his usual mix of belligerent shit talk and open-eyes message rap. First, there's the Sex with Myself mixtape, which is a, uh, tossed-off warm-up full of insults and brief flashes of flow over some back-of-the-crate industry beats. More compelling is his LP with producer Mack the Knife (not to be confused with MTK, mind you) under the name Art Vandelay, They've Got My Number Down at the Post Office. For a bunch of unreleased joints expertly retrofitted and stitched together into an edgy electro-rock-influenced backdrop by the producer, it's Pharoe's best stuff since his unfairly slept-upon 2005 album Civilized. A tinfoil-hatted conspiracy misfit who hates fat, stupid Americans and first-world empire as much as shitty rappers and pandering radio, he's a bit of a classic backpacker, just with a sense of humor, an Aesop Rock–esque voice, and a gift of gab that's equally adept at self-deprecation as it is bone-tired resignation to the greased-lightning hell-ride we're all lucky to be privy to these days. Whee! - The Stranger

"Album Review: Art Vandelay - Seattle Weekly"

The guy Ricky Pharoe, a wonky Seattle MC whose style and voice land him somewhere between Aesop Rock and Slug, just released a remaster of his Art Vandelay ("he's an importer/exporter") project, entitled They've Got My Number Down at the Post Office (listen for free!), which was brilliantly produced by his bud Mack Formway. Originally released this past June, the remaster is just a few simple tweaks apart from the original, but since we didn't get to it originally, this is a good time to talk about it, because it deserves proper props.
Formway's production on the opening track "Slept In" conjures Cannibal Ox's (El-P's) "Iron Galaxy" or, more locally, Taco Neck's (PeGee13's) "I Heart U.S.A." with its dreamy, dumb fade-in that is grounded with a crossfade twitch before the beat thumps in. The production as a whole is pretty heavy: lots of feedback (on what occasionally sounds like live guitars/keys), filter treatment, and bassy currents tugging at the rug underneath the hard-hitting drums. From a production standpoint, it's among the most thoughtful albums I've heard locally in years, and it creates a perfectly unsettling dreamworld for Pharoe's deranged verses.

His lyrics focus mainly on social criticism: In Pharoe's opinion (and mine), there are far too many people out there making half-assed attempts at whatever it is they do, or falling back on a subpar collection of skills to be content with the general outcome, and in Pharoe's world, it's worth a constant reminder. Whether it's those at the pinnacle of the political shitpile, you sitting on the couch, or the world's massive legion of lazy MCs, you should check yourself, for all of us really. He's opinionated, but it's his rich tenor, natural knack for cadence, and thought-provoking songwriting that make him a winner, whether he would ever admit it or not.

Catching up on other Pharoe news, he apparently released a mixtape (also in June) called Sex With Myself, which is just him rapping over other rapper's indie beats (tracks are renamed things like "I Had Nothing Better to Do" and "I Had Something Better to Do But I Did This", so yeah), but you get trademark Pharoeisms like "Most people never pee the bed, but I still do," and "Clinically, I got the brain of a centipede." What?! We like Ricky Pharoe. - Seattle Weekly

""I'm Not Saying That You're Stupid" -Seattle Weekly"

"Jesus is the fuckin' guy, dude," says a voice at the front end of Art Vandelay's new single "Vitiligo", from the group's upcoming LP Face Tattoo. At the other end, though, AV MC Ricky Pharoe surmises: "I bet you've never seen a man like this/probably 'cuase he's made up and didn't exist/I read the Bible, nothing in it seemed to make any sense/I'm not saying that you're stupid, just weird, no offense."
The first ever video from the Vandelay camp was released today, and brings to life all the avidly untrusting counterculture inklings that make Pharoe such an alluring character. The video follows a Jesus-clad Alton Roundtree (the group's manager/occasional backup vocalist) on his merry way around town, supplying a homeless guy with some grub, and Pharoe with an ass-beating (which all fits the plot of the song, in which Pharoe talks some serious smack about the old carpenter). Dictionary-wise, "vitiligo" connotes a medical condition that causes the loss of skin pigment (think Michael Jackson), and is yet another twisted jab at the evolution of theology--or shall we say a jab at the twisted evolution of theology.

Musically, producer Mack Formway supplies another (go back and listen to their debut They've Got My Number Down At The Post Office while you're at it) rock-inspired gem, while Pharoe slaps his deranged humor over the beat in his trademark tenor. Check out the song/video below and find gems like "They're apes anyway/we'll keep waitin' for the rapture, sure it's comin' any day," within. - Seattle Weekly

"Ricky Pharoe - The Next Life"

I'm not sure how I missed this one, but here's a new-ish album (released in October) from Ricky Pharoe who is yet another very talented artist out of Seattle, WA (now residing in Los Angeles). The Next Life is a five track EP to prepare everyone for his full length album from Black Lab Productions. - Underground Hip Hop Nation

"Ricky Pharoe on KEXP 90.3 playlist"

Time Artist Song Album Label

7:58 Shabazz Palaces Capital 5… Shabazz Palaces Templar Label Group

DJ Comments:

7:54 Digable Planets Jettin' Blowout Comb Blue Note

DJ Comments:

7:51 Macklemore The Ego Language of My World

DJ Comments:

7:45 Freeway & Jake One Stimulus Outro The Stimulus Package Rhymesayers

DJ Comments:

-- air break --

7:39 MC Paul Barman Props

7:35 MF Doom Hoe Cakes MM...Food Rhymesayers

DJ Comments:

7:34 MC Paul Barman Hot Guacamole Mmm...Food Rhymesayers

7:31 Coolzey Little By Little The Honey Public School

DJ Comments:

7:28 Dr. Octagon Blue Flowers Dr. Octagonecologyst Dreamworks

DJ Comments:

-- air break --

7:18 Ice Cube Now I Gotta Wetcha The Predator` Profile

7:14 Tilla Voorhies Piece Of Me

7:10 Ricky Pharoe On My Own The Next Life

DJ Comments:

7:05 Tyrone The Bug Heavy Labor, No Breaks Subnoise

DJ Comments:

7:02 Narkotik 2 Emcees Tribal - KEXP 90.3fm

"Sound Sessions Interview on KUBE 93.3 Show#36"

Show #36 (1-15-06)
1. Matisyahu – “King Without A Crown (Live)”
2. Slum Village – “1, 2”
3. Supernatural ft. Choklate – “I’m A Fighter”
4. LaRue – “Certified Hip-Hop” (Local Artist)
5. Ghostface Killah ft. Ne-Yo – “Back Like That”
7. Dilated Peoples – “Back Again”
9. Sergio Mendes ft. Q-Tip & Will.I.Am – “The Frog”
11. Ricky Pharoe – “Radio Ready”
12. Lupe Fiasco – “And He Gets The Girl”
13. Statik Selektah ft. Lloyd Banks, Paul Wall, & Kool G Rap – “I Got It Made”

Read more: - KUBE 93.3 fm

"Seattle Hip Hop Star's Return To The Rainy City"

The Seattle hip-hop scene lost one of its most beloved figures and one of its rising stars last year when Ricky Pharoe and Mr. Xquisit decided to leave the underground status of Seattle for the possible mainstream success of Los Angeles.
The move came after Ricky, aka Dave Burke, came to a crossroads in Seattle. He had established himself as a heavyweight in the local scene but essentially reached his highest point.
"I could definitely bring more people to a show in Seattle than I could in L.A.," says Burke. "But if I feel if I had put the time in I did in Seattle in L.A., I'd be a hundred steps ahead right now."
So Burke and Chamberlain decided to make the move. Armed with little else than a place to stay and a head of ambition, the two uprooted and moved to the city that acts as the hotbed of west coast hip-hop.
Now one of those two has decided to make a homecoming. Ricky Pharoe, will be leaving the pollution of Los Angeles to return to the gray skies of Seattle for a short time.
After selling an unprecedented 4,000 copies of his first CD simply through old school street hustling, and receiving a glowing review on hip-hop juggernaut, Burke thought the time was right to take a shot at the big time.
"A lot of people disregard Seattle," says Burke. "No one's going to Seattle looking for the next big hip-hop star."
The move was less of a shock for Xquisit, aka Kamoore Chamberlain. The Jamaican born, Seattle raised MC spent four years at Occidental College in Los Angeles before moving back to Seattle to take a job at Yellow Book USA. Chamberlain had just dropped his debut full-length "Hypnotix Music," when he decided to make the move.
"I wanted to move back for the culture and the environment," says Chamberlain. "Being born in Jamaica, the sun is also very important to me."
Pharoe left after reaching the conclusion that mainstream success was only a dream if he stayed in Seattle. Despite the firm opinion held by most artists in the area that Seattle will one day blow up on a national level, Pharoe saw the opposite, as the same fans showed up to shows and the same people bought his CD. His return to the emerald city is only temporary, as he hopes to record some of his next album and work with his partner in crime, Tru ID. The duo teamed up on an album that dropped last summer and hope now to expand their sound, as Tru ID, has begun to branch into the producing realm.
"He's been around so many producers for so long, I don't think it's going to sound like its fresh out of the womb stuff," says Burke.
Xquisit has decided that the Los Angeles scene fits his more west coast style. Although he has been rapping for more than five years, his style only really started to come together when he started working with Pharoe and others in the Seattle scene.
"I've learned so much from watching Ricky that it didn't make sense to stay in Seattle," says Xquisit.
Although both are working on writing their next albums, the pair says for fans not to expect anything soon.
"At this point, I'm going to make an album that's for me," says Pharoe. "So don't expect anything for a couple of years. - The Spectator


Face Tattoo (2012) LP

Vitiligo (2012) single

They've Got My Number Down At The Post Office (2011) LP



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