State Of The Artist
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State Of The Artist

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop EDM

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Jul
03
State Of The Artist @ Crocodile Cafe

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

May
15
State Of The Artist @ Nectar Lounge

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

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Press


Just caught another free local EP in my inbox well worth your precious time: dapper upstarts State of the Artist (that is Parker, Young TH, and Hyphen8d) and their Californication-inspired three-song suite, the Hank Moody EP. It's mellow, contemplative, and stylish, with all three MCs standing out with their own individual presentation—and at a mere eight or so minutes, it's the SOTA boys' best-yet document of their ever-jelling vibe, chemistry, and slick wordplay ("A taste test tantalized by the zest I possess/Some flavor for the labor we put in as creators/The essence of my sweet/Strawberry to match the leaf"—from "Common Senses"). The growth from this summer's Shapeshifters mixtape is evident—do like me, and look forward to more from these three in 2010. - Larry Mizell Jr., The Stranger


“Y’all need some f*cking coffee,” Cape Cowen, of opening act Dark Time Sunshine, growled toward the tail end of their set before up-and-coming Seattle rappers State Of The Artist (SOTA) took the stage at Fremont’s High Dive on Saturday. The duo of Cowen (better known as Onry Ozzborn of Grayskul and Northwest collective Oldominion) and producer Zavala, met a lukewarm reception to their brand of fringe-hop headphone rap. What the crowd really needed was some party music, a dose of what the SOTA boys so aptly described in the title of their debut album: some Seattlecalifragilisticextrahelladopeness (or SeaCal for short).

The energy was palpable prior to the trio of TH, Parker, and Hyphen8ed taking the stage in front of an eager crowd shortly before 12:30 Sunday morning. Even while just setting up their “State of the Artist” graphic mid-stage and readying the playlist on their laptop, one could feel excitement in the air and, more tangibly, hear the anticipation from the shrieks of female audience members. Beginning with “Us” the SOTA boys ran through a 13-song barrage of work from SeaCal, The Hank Moody EP, and their five mixtapes. Collage is a more apt description of their performance because SeaCal is a feature-heavy 206 block party, a who’s who of anybody who’s anybody in the Emerald City scene. At the High Dive they only spat verses from the artists present, keeping it a nearly SOTA-only affair with the exception of a Lace Cadence cameo (who also performed earlier with Clockwork) and help from vocalist Jordan Thompsen and guitarist Preston Thomason, both of Seatown rockers Striking Back, on “Innovation.”

The criticisms of SeaCal are that the LP is too guest heavy, that the listener is left wondering what the true SOTA sound is and what the group is capable of doing on its own. Those questions are still up in the air, but what the group is capable of doing live, strictly as a threesome, has been answered: SOTA puts on an energetic, tight show drawing on influences they named to me in a pre-show chat: the hype of Mystikal, the old-school showmanship of Kool Moe Dee, and the swagger of Will Smith. The three demonstrated a chemistry that can only come from rocking many stages together and from being close friends (“A brotherhood like no other,” TH said), fluidly ebbing and flowing across the stage, complementing each other during each others’ verses. The performance complemented the music well and, in fact, added to it. In the best live hip-hop sets the artist showcases something in addition to the music (some aspect that does not translate from the studio) rather than simply shout lyrics in scattered unison over pre-programmed beats. The aforementioned “Innovation” rocked harder than its SeaCal studio counterpart, due to Thompsen’s angsty singing. And the good-vibes Hank Moody track, “My Shine” became an anthem as the three emcees matched the chorus’ celebratory optimism with live exuberance.

State of the Artist’s set ended with the single — and SeaCal highlight — “Extrahelladope.” Ironically, the finale presented the night’s only real stumbling block due to the lack of guests rappers Tay Sean and Jarv Dee on stage. “We’re just trying to remember all the lyrics,” Hyphen8ed half-joked during our earlier conversation in his description of the group’s onstage goals. Arriving off-beat where Tay Sean’s verse was supposed to be, he admitted, “I forgot my lyrics,” before launching into a solid freestyle that came off better than his sing-songy hallucinogenic tour of a verse would have. The crowd was abuzz after the performance, in part due to the drinks ingested, but not from any presumed necessary caffeine intake — everyone was just Extrahelladope‘d up. - Joe Gustav, Seattle Show Gal


Here is the new single from the 206's own SOTA Boys aka State Of The Artist, a young, fashion-forward rap crew you might've seen around town doing their thing; off of their upcoming LP SeattleCaliFragalisticExtraHellaDopeness(soon to be brought to you by the same Members Only cats that brought you that Magnetic Blackness 7"), the cut features the crew explicity namechecked in the title, Beacon Hill's Helladope (along with HD's Cloud Nice crewmate Jarv Dee riding along). Helladope are the kind of crew older heads would point to and say "the next generation is doing it" (even though HD's Jerm, closer to my age, has been at it steadily for some time)-and SOTA is the kind of crew that Helladope would probably say the same about. Youngsters Brothers From Another would probably be the crew SOTA would point to, and so on. If you pay attention, there's no shortage of good stuff coming out of Seatown and you just can't help but feel pretty goddamn good about the fact.

SOTA has been grinding out material steadily, but it was their Hank Moody EP from a couple of months ago that really caught my attention with it's mellow-fly lyrics and blunt-ready production. Their previous tape Shapeshifters showed promise but the production needed some polish- a concern addressed on the Remixtape, an upcoming collection of SOTA remixes by the LA-based "hipster-rap" production team (Dom Kennedy, Hollywood Holt, Rob Roy, U-N-I) known as Ski Team. Here's the video for the remixed SOTA jam "Real Hot", with the Teen Vogue-approved rap squad getting their Long Beach backyard boogie on. - Lineout (The Stranger Blog)


Any group that’s interested in properly representing Left Coast hip-hop should first take a trip down I-5 to the Golden State, the place where the West Coast sound was originally developed, nurtured, and fully realized. Something about the combination of fresh Pacific Ocean air, perpetually sunny weather, and other (ahem) “natural” remedies, fuse to get the creative juices flowing something proper.

Seattle keeps losing some of its biggest and brightest hip-hop artists to California (THEESatisfaction, GMK, et al). Thankfully, the exodus for these groups has been temporary for the most part. State of the Artist (SOTA) had a brief dalliance with the home of the Dodgers this past Fall when group members Parker, Young TH, and Hyphen8d went south, looking to take advantage of all Southern California has to offer in the way of hip-hop inspiration.

They returned rejuvenated, sounding more focused on the brief (but still crackin’) Hank Moody EP, a three-track suite that felt like the last warm rays of sunshine reflecting on an endless Pacific Ocean horizon. The threesome’s July 2009 entry into the local rap game, Shapeshifters Mixtape, introduced us to the raw talent of these 206-natives, but the Hank Moody EP showed a glimpse of true progression in their craft.

Now, the SOTA boys have released the first track from their forthcoming debut album, SeattleCaliFragalisticExtraHellaDopeness. “Extrahelladope” (featuring also-set-to-blow local cats Helladope and Jarv Dee, both of the Cloud Nice camp) is a further chapter in SOTA’s coming-of-age story. It’s decidedly West Coast G-funk, updated for the 21st century. Parker handles production, doing his best imitation of Beacon-Hiller Tay Sean (one half of Helladope), with spaced-out synths, a danceable computerized beat, and licks of electro high-hat and bass.

“Extrahelladope” is a worthy successor to “Just So You Know” (Helladope’s already established hip-hop/funk Town anthem), and a further indicator of great things to come from dem SOTA boys.
- Chul Cugich, Seattle Show Gal


Here's some interesting freshness from State of the Artist. On the surface, "ExtraHellaDope" is flutter/sparkle synth rap with a West Coast edge, a great song, fresh and bright as Seattle's current spring weather.

Produced by Parker, who also raps in State of the Artist ("oh-so-cute" says Teen Vogue), "ExtraHellaDope" speaks to a deep appreciation of Beacon Hill rap&B group Helladope (MC/producer/singer Tay Sean and MC/singer Jerm).

Sonically, the track is a note-perfect homage to Tay Sean's space-funk production style, and has the word "Helladope" is in its chorus, which chants something very similar to SOTA's about-to-be-released album title, "SeattleCaliFragilisticExtraHelladopeness." Helladope itself guests on "ExtraHellaDope," and Tay Sean has the best verse on the song, a twisty, razor-sharp set of South End boasts and hater dismissals. - Andrew Matson, Seattle Times Blog


Seattle hip-hop still hasn’t found its definitive “sound.” Artists over the last two years have, for the most part, taken a get-in-where-ya-fit-in attitude toward determining their particular place in the 2-0-6 hip-hop sphere. The closest Seattle has come to forming its own unique rap persona was the so-called “conscious boom-bap” stylings of Blue Scholars, Common Market and Abyssinian Creole way back in the mid-aughts. (And yes, I say “way back” with tongue planted firmly in-cheek. The South Bronx, Seattle is not.)

For the record, the three-man outfit known as State of the Artist (SOTA) don’t do anything to further clarify Seattle’s unique rap complexion on their debut album, Seattlecalifragilisticextrahelladopeness and that’s okay. It’s not the point of the record, and maybe not important at all in Seattle hip-hop’s grand musical scheme. Those previously mentioned conscious boom-bappers are still practicing their art with great care, while second and third waves of style crest and touch down on the Puget Sound shores with equally enthusiastic receptions. There is, at least currently, room for everyone to do how they feel.

Seattlecal finds itself landing during the hottest part of Seattle rap’s extended summer, which carried over without a proverbial rainy day from a scorching 2009 into a consistently excellent first half of 2010. This LP, in its own way, is a massively important release because of its breadth of artist representation. There are fifteen tracks on Seattlecal and every song features a guest shot from at least one major Town player. But group members Parker, TH and Hyphen8d, don’t seem concerned with crafting a monumental “This Is Seattle Rap Music” statement album. They seem more interested in throwing a really, really damn good party at which all of their best emcee friends get to shine while the three SOTA boys play the gracious and gregarious hosts.

The downside to an album format like this is that it doesn’t lend itself to any sort of meaningful conceptual continuity. Then again, that’s not the point of Seattlecal. SOTA isn’t shooting for ardent depth. The group’s goal is to get the party cracking with their favored brand of free-wheeling hip-hop whimsy. In this regard, the album is a huge success. Seattlecal offers a nice sonic range, embracing the dance/pop/electronic spectrum all while grounded fundamentally in hip-hop’s fine art of emceeing. Danceable numbers like the P Smoov-blessed opener, “Hey Hey” give way to updated true school tracks like “Be Yourself” (where a Phife Dawg vocal sample ties an obvious aural lanyard to A Tribe Called Quest, clearly one of SOTA’s biggest influences). Members of the Cloud Nice crew show up on the catchy title track, which features a heady mix of electronic bass blips and waves of electronic synth as the three SOTA emcees show off a cocky Cali sensibility gathered during their time spent in the Golden State. Still, SOTA sound best when rejecting fancy audio embellishments and sticking with what got them here in the first place: a love for rhyme. “Open Bars” (featuring the hungry-as-a-starved-lion, Kung Foo Grip) is lively battle rap, and the excellent Golden Era-throwback, “You Know Girls” (featuring Sol), is a clever charmer in both rhyme and production.

For an album with no definitive mission statement (other than just to have a good time), Seattlecal finds a comfortable evenness through its entire length. It’s probably due in part to the consistency of Parker, TH and Hyphen8d’s vocals. The three find a nice chemistry together, a group effort that comes easily when the rappers play off each others different styles. The stars of the show are TH,an emcee with that sort of natural command that gives listeners the impression he never has to work very hard for big results, and Hyphen8d who has the least-commanding voice but the best rhymes. Generally, the men of SOTA don’t display any terrifically weak lyrical moments. They do, however, get upstaged by many of their guests. The drug-fueled, free-associative “Peyote Kids” bounces along just fine for SOTA; that is until the ladies of THEESatisfaction step in on the last verse and steal the track right from under their skateboards. Similarly on “Be Yourself” where two emcees greater in talent and presence — Thig Natural and J. Pinder — make a guest-bar sandwich, handling the first and third verses, respectively, leaving Hyphen8d stuck helplessly in the middle. And “Choppin’” is a thumping, hard-rock battle anthem on which Candidt and Lace Cadence helm the front line, while SOTA fling stones from the back. Normally, being outshone by so many of your guests would be the unforgivable sin on a debut album, but hip-hop is, after all, a collaborative effort, and SOTA has created space for just that on Seattlecal.

With Seattlecalifragilisticextrahelladopeness, SOTA has made a memorable LP that should go down as one of the highlights of local hip-hop in 2010, both for its breadth of appeal and massive ambition. Like Phife said in ’91, “Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have,” a boast applicable to the hip-hop scene in Seattle today. Fans should be happy that the majority of what’s coming out is free of derivation and mainstream blather and, while the 2-0-6 may continue to struggle in finding its unique voice (in fact, it may never be found), the attempts at representing our humble city are being made honestly by students of the music like State of the Artist. - Chul Gugich, Seattle Show Gal


Just got hold of the State of the Artist LP SeattleCaliFragilisticExtraHellaDopeness, in stores now. Every one of the 15 tracks features some of the town's best and brightest: Fresh Espresso, Helladope, J.Pinder, THEESatisfaction, Candidt, Lace Cadence, Thig Natural, GMK, and Champagne Champagne are just a few of the towndren repping. The varied production stays lively (and in a few cases, outstanding), and the town-love movement feels as genuine as it is sales savvy. It's a crispy crystallization of this Kodak moment in local rap (shouts to party monsters Members Only for putting it out), connecting dots between scene vets and newer crews like Gran Rapids and Kung Foo Grip. The classic vibe of "You Know Girls" with Sol and "Say Say" with its slinky DJ100Proof track, cocky Grynch verse, and crazy no-really-is-that-Bilal R&B hook courtesy of Xperience are just a couple favorites. The SOTA MCs themselves—Young TH, Parker Joe, and Hyphen8d—bubble accordingly and handle theirs, though admittedly in descending order of fluency, with TH setting the bar. I heard better crew chemistry on their Hank Moody EP, where they didn't seem to have as much to prove and weren't crowded out by a phalanx of local all-stars—but SeaCal is still a slick, summer-ready debut that hella crews, new and old, would give up a year's weed budget to put out. So keep it lit. - Larry Mizell Jr., The Stranger


Boy band-esque Seattle-via-Cali rap group State of the Artist (SOTA) releases its "Seattlecalifragilisticextrahelladopeness" album Tuesday, and the first single is "Hey Hey" featuring P Smoov. Produced by P Smoov, the song's maddeningly catchy hook is a distorted synth bleep somewhere between the "door's open" reminder on an old car and a digital alarm clock. It's an annoyingly magical rhythmic pulse that scratches its own itch and reminds me of G. Dep.


- Andrew Matson, Seattle Times Blog


Discography

Singles:
"Common Senses" (KUBE 93, KEXP Seattle)
"Extrahelladope" ft. Helladope x Jarv Dee (KEXP Seattle)
"Hey Hey" ft. P SMOOV (KEXP Seattle)
"What You Asked For" ft. Champagne Champagne (KEXP Seattle)
"Chief Seattle" (KEXP Seattle, KUBE 93)
"I Think I Love You (KEXP Seattle, KUBE 93)
"Alive" ft. Shaprece (KEXP Seattle)

EP//LP
"Altered State" --May 2010
"SeattleCaliFragilisticExtraHellaDopeness"--4/27/10
"The Remixtape" (w/SKI TEAM)--March 2010
"The Hank Moody EP"--October 2009
"Shapeshifters"--July 2009

Photos

Bio

Seattle rap group State Of The Artist is comprised of three MC’s from the West, North, and South ends of the city—and have gained a significant buzz since the 2010 summer season came to a close. The group’s strong array of production and memorable approach to lyricism has helped define the new age direction Hip-Hop is taking this year—and it will continue to set them apart from others as they continue to progress.

Always thinking forward when it comes to their music, as well as fashion and presentation the trio of Parker, Hyphen8d and TH have defined themselves as a mainstay in their hometown. They have begun to get outside looks as well, receiving mentions in Teen Vogue and URB Magazine. Recently, SOTA took their brand on the road down the west coast and east to SXSW to perform at the festival.

SOTA has shared stages with Gym Class Heroes, Goodie Mob, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Fashawn, Mickey Factz, and a majority of Seattle’s hottest acts as well. After 5 mixtapes, the Hank Moody EP, and time in LA and New York, the group released their debut album ‘SeattleCaliFragilisticExtraHellaDopeness” to local acclaim, tops of sales and radio charts, including #1 NW and #1 Hip-Hop album on KEXP 90.3.

Fresh off their first tour and SXSW appearance SOTA has a new seven track EP set to drop in May. Featuring a drastic shift in sound taking cues from an assortment of modern international sounds, group leader Parker got behind the boards and found himself producing for the group for the first time in almost a year. This new direction is sure to keep asses moving and energy high.

PRESS:
• “A crispy crystallization of this Kodak moment in local rap” –Larry Mizell Jr. (The Stranger)
• “The group's songs, with suignature attitude softened by a smooth beat, deserve to be heard.” –
Leigh Belz (Teen Vouge)
• “SOTA has had next for a while, yet offered their envy-free support to their fellow artists the entire way.” –Travis Hay (EAR CANDY)
• “At the end of the day, SOTA (State of the Artist) brings it, and they live up to their reputation.” – Brooklyn Benjestorf (Seattle Peach)