The MC Type
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The MC Type

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

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

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"The Let Go: Outsourcing Success"

When Seattle rap trio The Let Go released the album Anything Can Be on December 22, their label had 10,000 CDs ready for distribution, and the LP was promptly sent off to record stores and radio stations across the nation. The initial response was overwhelmingly positive, and the band soon found themselves featured on promotional posters and listening-station displays in Tower Records outlets and charting on pop radio stations in several large markets—including the nation's second- and fourth-most-populated cities. In the month since the release, the band's label, Goon Trax, estimates they've run through between 1,000 and 1,500 copies of the CD—a decent number for a local act, on par with the number of units local hip-hoppers Mad Rad sold to their dedicated, local live audience. Except that The Let Go doesn't have a dedicated, local live audience. Confused?

No, Tower Records hasn't made a comeback in the states, but it's selling records in Japan, the same place The Let Go, curiously, have found an audience after years of local effort and shameless self-promotion proved fruitless.

"We certainly do not fit into the current, popular Seattle sound," explains TLG's MC Type—better known to his Homegrown sandwich-shop co-workers as Jeff Tune. "The electronic, party movement is cool. And I enjoy it. But we are far more [in] the vein of Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, and Sage Francis. And that stuff isn't huge here."

Back home, the group has struggled to gain a foothold, but not for lack of effort. They've pumped money and long hours into their recordings, but aside from a smattering of KEXP play and a bizarre combination of contest wins (including "Most Deserving of National Attention" in SW's 2009 online readers' poll, which the group admits came mainly via out-of-town fans who had been prompted through web forums and e-mail lists), they weren't well-known, and concert attendance here was fairly consistent with that of out-of-town shows. With tensions mounting and funds waning, the group decided to throw in the towel after the release of their second album, Morning Comes, last March.

The defunct band's members resumed work on their solo projects for a few months until they received an e-mail with an offer from Goon Trax, the Japanese label to which they had submitted material after putting out their first album, Tomorrow Handles That, in 2008, then again while recording its follow-up. Goon Trax had the idea of remastering selected TLG songs lifted from their two self-released U.S. albums, and releasing them to the Japanese public as a new third album. All the group had to do was choose the "new" album's title, sign the contract, and cash the check. Now that they've found an audience, they're ready to give things another try back home.

"The Japan thing kinda brought us back together," says producer Captain Midnite (real name: Joe Symanski), "and made us realize we can really do something real with it."

Tune, who lays claim to one of the raunchiest vocabularies in town, says the comparative ease of success has come as a bit of a surprise after years of fighting an uphill battle for recognition in their hometown, but he's grateful for the new opportunity.

"I will go anywhere that people appreciate my music," he says. "It makes sense, in my case in particular, that they might not understand the words . . . seeing as I am a foul-mouthed individual."

Ian Waller, who appears on record as Kublakai, the (slightly) mellower half of the group's MC corps, says, "We all didn't expect anything. When they told us about it, 'We're gonna be selling it to our vendors,' that to me kind of meant they'd be selling it on street corners, you know, bootlegs . . . so when we saw the pictures and heard the news, it was pretty cool, and a pretty big deal. We didn't think it was gonna be that legit, and it was."

Philipp Potz is the Goon Trax producer responsible for much of their trans-Pacific exposure; he attributes the attention to the somewhat outmoded musical leanings of the country's rap listenership.

"Japanese hip-hop fans still like the jazzy, mellow '90s-style hip-hop, even though this trend has long vanished from the U.S. hip-hop scene," he said in an e-mail. "The Let Go create a wonderful blend of melody-infused beats as well as smooth MCing, which works out here pretty well."

This outsourcing approach has become increasingly common in Japan, aided by the growing ease of transferring large amounts of music electronically, and Goon Trax has taken advantage of the U.S.'s vast pool of hardworking rap artists for a number of years, although this is the first time they've signed on to work with a Seattle group. Artists like Nieve (Los Angeles), CL (aka Chaotic Lynk, from New York), and ArtOfficial (Miami) have become legitimate success stories in Japan, despite their mostly humble standing in this country. ArtOfficial may even be flown overseas to tour with Japanese artists this year, says Potz, a rare feat due to the obvious expense. He goes on to explain that opportunities like this could become available for The Let Go as well, although he estimates their sales would have to creep closer to the 5,000-unit mark for promoters to consider the idea.

The three members now hope their foreign success will translate to larger local audiences, and have begun to book shows again, including a headlining spot at Nectar Lounge on February 18. As for whether another stateside album is in the cards, Symanski emphasizes that he would love to see it happen, as long as it's clear the demand is there. "It also does depend on what Japan wants," he says. "If we end up doing really, really well out there, we might have to release a bunch of music just for them." - Seattle Weekly


"Artist of the Week: MC Type- Whiskey Blues feat. the Day Laborers"

Dope MC out of Seattle, Wash. He sent us his new stuff and we found that it had quite a few bangers on it. Most of his songs are comical in topic, like an ode to chewing tobacco, and an anthem for sex in airplanes. Either way definitely check out his stuff and see if it's your flavor. - Radio 1190 AM Basementalism Blog


"My Philosophy: Hip Hop Ya Don't Stop"

"I recently acquired Mustache Immaculate—no, not some transcendent state of facial-hair nirvana—the debut CD from local MC Type, also known as Typecast, and member of Illegitimate Children with Grieves and Murder Dice. Type is your friendly neighborhood shitbag MC, an everyday dude with regular issues: His team can't win for shit, girls hate him, and he's bald as a mufucka. Thankfully, it doesn't mean he can't contribute a fresh album to the local catalog. Speaking on his own trials and errors, Type's got a sense of humor that (with the ill, quirky production) keeps things light, instead of the straight pity party many concoct. It's clear Mr. Immaculate loves the scene too, as evidenced by his Indie Hop weekly going down at Tommy's, as well as the album opener "For the Love," where he pulls a bit of a "Connect For," namedropping several crews and MCs from the town. Speaking of, the kid Rik Rude absolutely murders a couple of appearances, so watch out for this dude. To keep it funky though, there're a few moments where Type plays the stereotypical "underground" MC, humorlessly railing against the mainstream and preaching the redemptive power of hiphop. Shit, that might be right up your alley, but I vastly prefer when he's not up on a soapbox, but down in the crowd... which, thankfully, is the majority of the record. Don't sleep. Hit up www.myspace.com/perfectstrangers and get you one." -Larry Mizell, Jr. - The Stranger


"Band of the Week: Type"

"On "Hobby Rap," Type is a talented rapper quickly spitting out thoughtful dialogue about the hypocrisy in Seattle's hiphop scene: "The city of haters, I'm telling you dog, that's why Grayskul doesn't even sell out the Chop/The heart of the six just started to flatline, lookin' for a reason so we targeted Mass Line/the last time I showed my face down at Pine and Fourth/Gabe was there spittin' rhymes of course/so I have to say, I'd rather ride a hearse then hate on a homey at the time he bursts." On "Junk Punter," he shifts personalities to a Dave Chappelle–worthy character singing a song "dedicated to that special feeling you get when you run up to a stranger and kick him square in the balls." Impressively, both efforts—one thoughtful, one a joke—are genuine and fantastic." -Megan Seling - The Stranger


"We Review: Kublakai, Illegitimate Children, and Unexpected Arrival at Nectar"

"Illegitimate Children, a.k.a. Type and Grieves plus Swervewon and Murder Dice, pulled off a charmingly wry, friendly set involving tequila shots ("These are not drinks. These are not drinks," they reassured Management). The two of them give the impression that they are inseparable best friends who just happen to be musically talented; we loved "My Girlfriend Beats Me" in particular. At the end of their set, Swervewon dropped Lenny Kravitz and Queen in quick succession, which was just... fun, and in keeping with the spirit of Illegitimate Children's mission statement: fun-having." -Katelyn Hackett - The Seattlest


Discography

Type: Mustache Immaculate (Feb 9th, 2007)
Type: Well Known Secrets (Sep 14th, 2007)
Illegitimate Children: My Girlfriend Beats Me EP (Feb 26th, 2008)
The Let Go: Tomorrow Handles That (Aug 27th, 2008)
Type: Amateur Hour (Dec 5th, 2008)
The Let Go: Morning Comes (Mar 26th, 2010)
WUF TIX: Scumbag Delirium (April 19th, 2011)

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Bio

The MC Type is a Seattle native with a unique blend of crude humor and sharp rhyme skills. To label his music as comedy rap would not do justice to his capabilities in either field. Type can rap and sing at an amazingly high level, as well as write a cleaver song with fully developed musical structure and professional execution. What he is doing has never been done.

Best known for his material with indie rap group The Let Go, Type has toured the country 14 times. His group has charted as high as number 19 on CMJ for hip hop/rap and was picked up by over 210 public radio stations for regular rotation. Their lead single gained placement in MTV's The City, Season 1, Episode 10. A dynamic writer, Type is also a member of two other groups, Illegitimate Children (with Rhymesayers' Grieves) and WUF TIX.

Type's strong suit is easily his extremely specific song topics. Best displayed in his popular videos, his humor shines on "Man Crush (No Homo)" and "After I Came," both directed by Griff J.

There is no performer around that can bring standup comedy and hip hop to the stage and fuse them together quite like Type. The songs and the videos are great, but the live show is what will really make you laugh.