Ken 'Tryfe' Pryor
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Ken 'Tryfe' Pryor

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The best kept secret in music


"The Black Diamonds Present- Federal Offense: Knockout Kings Mixtape Vo1. 1"

The Black Diamond clique out of Federal Way is holdin’ it down for the South End on their Knockout Kings Mixtape. Primarily featuring Quality, Tryfe, Rocka, and Rion, the K.O Kings Mixtape also includes other Northwest and national talent.

North Philly native Rocka is the most impressive lyricist on the album, and the production is pretty consistent throughout. Some of the best joints on the mixtape are “U Can Ride” from LIFE, Rocka’s “Y’all Don’t Want None,” and “Five-Trey Niggas,” with G. Digga, Quality, Stretch, and Tryfe. The Black Diamonds camp definitely holds it down for the 253 and shows a good deal of potential and talent. Most of the beats are club-friendly and easy to ride or smoke to, or however you get down. Several tracks on the mixtape are up to par with most major label releases, which is surprising for a local compilation. Lyrically, some of the cats don’t hold it down as well as others, and end up getting out-shined by some of the hotter MC’s. The K.O. Kings Mixtape is the first in a three volume series and you can go buy one at the Foot Action down at Sea-Tac Mall. ‘Aight.

"Hip hop spotlight shines on Federal Way"

Staff writer

Federal Way’s hip hop scene is rising, and its stars are hoping to take the music outside Puget Sound with the release of a three-part mix-tape series and street-level promotion.

Quincy Henry, 19, Ken Pryor, 19, and Rion (pronounced Ree-own) Pryor, 18, members of the local rap group Black Diamonds, are the engine behind the new hip hop label Tre’dmarx Records, a collective of three other production companies from the Federal Way area.

The first of the three tapes in the mix tape series, called “Federal Offense,” was released Nov. 26. Artists on the tape include Black Diamonds; Eclipse, a St. Louis rapper; Stretch, also a St. Louis rapper; Black Style Family, California and Houston rappers; Kuddie Mack, a Seattle producer and rapper; and Rocka, a Philadelphia rapper.

Tre’dmarx is working on parts two and three of the series, but hasn’t set release dates yet.
Tre’dmarx comprises three producers — the people who mix the music and beats part of a track — and about nine artists — the people who rhyme over the music.

All together, they are known as Fed’s Finest. “We all one way or the other found each other,” Ken Pryor said.
Henry and Pryor are students at Highline Community College. Henry said he’s studying everything the college has to offer, but mainly business. Pryor, a business major, said he’s focusing almost exclusively on business.

The trio had to hit the ground running when they decided to start Tre’dmarx Records. It’s been tough learning the business while they’re running it, and the fact that their business associates also are their friends has served both to sweeten and complicate operations. “It’s kind of hard when you have to call and get on your friend because you grew up with him. But it’s business,” Henry said. For example, some people don’t take the business as seriously or treat it as professionally because the studios are based out of their houses. Sometimes people want studio space for free because of their friendships, and others show up at the door hoping to get access to the equipment without asking first. Saying no and denying friends is never easy, but Pryor said they keep their friendships separate from business. “It can get personal,” he said. Besides, the mess-ups go both ways. Sometimes, the guys from Tre’dmarx fall behind on their responsibilities, too. “Some days you wake up and say, ‘Today I’m a rapper. Today I’m a producer.’ And you get it all done and you’re not late,” Pryor said. “But some days you want a social life and then you’re late.”

Starting a label requires dedication and a true belief that it will work, but they know they can’t sit around and see if someone else makes it happen for them. The Tre’dmarx trio will promote the first of the three tapes themselves at parties, at clubs, on the streets and among their friends and associates. “Unless you’re the filthiest artist alive, unless you’re Prince, you can’t just say I’m a rap artist and stop there. It starts with being a rapper, but you have to be more than a rapper,” Henry said. “We’re out promoting — in the cold, in a t-shirt,” Pryor said. “We’re getting confronted by people who disagree with us. We’re standing there like, ‘Yep, we’re rappers.’ “We’re doing it from the ground up. In this business, you can’t go too far because there’s no one to fall back on. The streets is where it started.” A lot of people in Federal Way make music, Pryor said, but someone needed to start breaking ground for the Northwest to get some recognition. “Someone had to get a name for Federal Way. It needs a name,” he said. Securing a spot for Northwest hip hop is proving challenging because grunge, the music that emerged from Seattle in the early 1990s, established the region’s musical reputation.

“You’re clouded by it, that’s what the industry thinks,” Henry said. “They’re kind of shocked by it. They say they didn’t know there was hip hop out here.”

Henry and Ken and Rion Pryor want to set up Tre’dmarx so it’s at the forefront when eyes fall on the West Coast. Their six-month plan is to saturate the local market, reach across the state and eventually make inroads into cities across the country. Eventually, they want to distribute for other labels. While the label is a new endeavor for the Tre’dmarx trio, the three aren’t new to music. Rap, hip hop and blues have called to them since they were little boys.

BustaRhymes is the artist who changed everything for Henry when he was in the third grade.
“That was me. I saw me,” he said. “I saw the video, heard the beat and I knew I had to do it. I’ll never forget that.” He also has four older brothers, the oldest and middle of whom rap. “The first keyboard I ever touched was the one I own now. I got it from the studio,” he said.

Ken and Rion Pryor were exposed to music at home. Their father is an accomplished musician. “My dad’s a blues player, so I’ve had tapes since I was 3 years old,” Rion said. “I was little — 3 ye - Federal Way Mirror


Production of the following projects:
Sarah English 'Select Poetry'
Common 'Be'
Anonimous (aka Tha Loc) 'My Life, My City'
151 'Power & Priviledge'
E-Dawg 'Contradictive'
Aluzjun 'Sophmore Release'
Choklate 'Sound Sessions Vol.1'
Quality 'Death is Dying'
Slum Village 'Detroit Deli'
Lloyd Banks 'The Hunger for More'
LL Cool J 'DEFinition'
Lil' Scrappy 'King of Crunk and BME Recordings Present: Lil Scrappy & Trillville'
Tre'dmarks Music Group 'Tre'marks Radio Vol. 1 (mixtape)'
Fed's Finest 'The Knockout Kings Vol.1'
GBH 'Special'


Feeling a bit camera shy


Impossible is nothing. According to Tryfe this is the very thing that guarantees his succession from the depths of Seattle's remnant hip-hop music scene.

Born junior to the accomplished Chicago bassists, Kenny Pryor, Sr.; Tryfe has always had an ear for music. First trying his hand at both the bass and drums, it wasn't until he began rapping that he would realize his gift for productioh.

Some of Tryfe's early production has been praised with radio play, mixtape buzz and even a placement among Seattle's yearly top 10 regional releases. None the less, Tryfe's production can be found on several regional 'Sound Sessions' (Kashmere Recordings/Jasiri Management), J.Loc aka 'Anonymous' sophmore release 'My City, My Life' and 151's second helpng 'Power & Princes'. Though none of these productions mean more to him than his famed Knockout Kings series.

Writing, producing and directing the 'Knockout Kings' project gave Tryfe seasoning and prepared him for the task to come. Aside from several remixes, including one for Common and John Mayer's 'Go', Tryfe's focus is on coming into his own with his artist Fame Rill and his independent debut album 'Walk of Fame'. With a keen hustler's skill and sheer determination, any break in the clouds will be room enough for this star to take off.