Tulsi
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Tulsi

Seattle, WA | SELF

Seattle, WA | SELF
Band Hip Hop

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"Tulsi's Golden Age Rap Revamp"

Seattle MC Tulsi doesn't receive the degree of shine some other local rappers attract, but his mic skills are tight and deserve to puncture many more receptive ears than they're currently reaching. Tulsi's hiphop persona is an everyman going through everyday struggles, an underdog striving to overcome mundane shit that gnaws away at a significant chunk of the population on the regular. On his two full-lengths—2006's Fresh Points on Life and 2007's Waterflow—Tulsi benefits from his producers' true-school funk imbued with soul that's gimmick- and bling-free. This approach is exemplified by "The Bullet" (from Waterflow). Producer Confidence—a solid Premier/Pete Rock/Large Professor disciple—buttresses Tulsi's True Crime tale with slick Bo Hansson–ian guitar licks, distant Rotary Connection–esque female backup vocals, and one of those funk breaks for which collectors spend three figures to score the original 7-inch from where it derives.

Tulsi currently has two releases ready for mastering in December: the Nothing to No.One EP (produced by the great loco local beatmaker Specs One) and his third full-length, Cold Smoke. They're part of his master plan to burnish those Golden Age hiphop verities to an even higher gleam. - The Stranger


"Power to Heal"

Yes, Tulsi is a holy herb with amazing healing powers, but it’s also the name of a Seattle-based artist/emcee who’s striving to "keep it true school," he says. Drawing from the four essential elements of hip-hop: graffiti art, breakdancing, emceeing and scratching, Tulsi has polished his steadily evolving craft to turn out "Waterflow," his follow-up to 2006’s "Fresh Points On Life." Released late last year, "Waterflow" is a poignant portfolio of personal struggles, triumphs and socio-political commentary more aptly suited for the golden era of rap. It just happens to be current reflections set to dope beats and flawless production.

"The art of emceeing got me into hip-hop. I was able to follow the words at a young age. I liked the Beastie Boys and Run DMC early on, which transformed into Public Enemy and NWA. The lyrics and rhythm drew me in the most. There was a lot of personal stuff in hip-hop that I connected to. I thought it was cool that you could say anything you wanted as long as you said it in a fresh way. I did dig and still dig the other elements too. I remember being completely fixated on graffiti," he divulged.

On "Waterflow," Tulsi spits about relevant themes littered with style and substance that clearly profess his dedication to preserving the integrity of real hip-hop. With influences ranging from the Juice Crew (Masta Ace, Kool G Rap) and Ice Cube to the Clash and Elliot Smith, Tulsi "soaked it all in," he admits. That explains the eclecticism of both records. However, "Waterflow" is a bit more cohesive.

"With this release, I didn’t feel like I needed to introduce myself. I made the beats consistent by using my guy Confidence from Boston. He did 10 out of the 14 tracks. I made the vocals consistent by recording with a vintage microphone over two separate weekends. I almost lost my mind recording by myself in the emotion of ’Waterflow,’" he said.

"Bleeding" expresses nothing but emotional vulnerability, which reveals Tulsi’s special connection to the lyrics. "Come and Get It" delivers one of the tightest beats on the record with DJ Modul8r adding signature cuts throughout the song. Another standout track, "Pay Attention," is beautifully orchestrated. Backed by a simple old-school beat and an eerie sounding piano, it gradually gains momentum until culminating with a sample-filled scratch session. Tulsi is actively working on an EP produced by Seattle artist Specs One called "Nothing To No.One" and finalizing his third LP, "Cold Smoke," slated for a fall release.

Solidly clever and innovative, "Waterflow "is worth exploring.

-Kyle Eustice - City Weekly


Discography

Cold Smoke (2010 - LP)

1. Crooked Letter
2. Fast Lane
3. Don't Front
4. College
5. My Steez
6. Truth Hurts
7. The Originator
8. Humble Beginnings
9. Sideways
10. Smokers Cough
11. Jet Lag
12. Suitcase & a Trunk
13. Whispers in the Wind
14. Ozone

Nothing to No One (2009 - EP) - Produced by Specs One

1. No Umbrella
2. Breaking Away
3. Dexter and Denny
4. Don't Relax
5. One Interlude
6. Evaporate
7. Tearing Myself Apart

Waterflow (2007 - LP)

1. Ruin Us (produced by Confidence)
2. Graffiti (produced by Confidence)
3. Come & Get it (produced by Confidence and J.Ferra)
4. Keep it Moving (produced by Confidence)
5. Rolling Papers (produced by Confidence)
6. Bleeding (produced by Mallard)
7. Simple Softly (produced by Product Eon)
8. Use (produced by Copperpot)
9. The Bullet (produced by Confidence)
10. People Watch (produced by Confidence)
11. Flirtation (produced by Confidence)
12. Blue Water (produced by Confidence)
13. Sophomore (produced by Confidence)
14. Pay Attention (produced by Specs One)

Fresh Points on Life (2006 - LP)

1. Headcrack (produced by Confidence)
2. Every Now & Then f. Mia Karter (produced by Skip Whitman)
3. Humble Man's Trilogy (produced by John Robinson)
4. Downtown Interlude (produced by ID 4 Windz)
5. Mind Reading Contest (produced by Tost)
6. Sharpest Blade (produced by Confidence)
7. Travel Back f. Kontinuwis (produced by Emynd)
8. Pro and Con f. Mia Karter (produced by Emynd)
9. Halo (produced by The Wizard)
10. Flip the Script (produced by Skip Whitman)
11. Love Makes a Shadow (produced by Omid)
12. All I do is (produced by 7L)
13. Do Something (produced by Elusive)
14. The Breeze (produced by Omid)

Photos

Bio

Tulsi is an independent hip hop artist based in Seattle. He wrote his first song at age 12 while under the influence of golden-age icons (such as Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, NWA) and has never looked back. He performed his first set at age fourteen in Spokane working to hone an authentic voice over the years that doesn't preach but strives for a meaningful comment on the complexity of the human experience from his point of view.

Tulsi seems to be seriously prolific, releasing his 3rd album, Cold Smoke, (at Seattle's famed Crocodile) in the past five years. If you haven't listened to Tulsi yet you're in for some great sonic moments when you find Fresh Points on Life (2006) and Waterflow (2007). Tulsi loves to honor hip hop history while saying what needs to be said now. Rocking to the the beats of Confidence, Blake 9 and Mallard – he performs with a DJ, Modul8r (or DJ Able if Modul8r can't make it). A storyteller, the lyrics take you on a journey, each song with a destination translated from the Sanskrit of Tulsi's take on the why, who, how, when and where of it all.

In the past five years Tulsi has rocked over 150 shows including XGames16 and 3 West Coast tours. He keeps surprising himself and his fans with passionate performances, finding a knack for vocal clarity, projection and a love for getting it out there live. Add that to innovative beats and lyrics that flow like the Puget Sound rain and you've got Tulsi.

You'll hear his 4 year old son Tre on the final cut of Cold Smoke. Tulsi works a day job, supporting his boy and his music, hoping one day to be able to have even more time to mine the veins of his convoluted brain.

Seattle Weekly “Tulsi, an alliteration master…”

The Stranger "An ultracompetent MC...Tulsi gracefully harks back to Del tha Funkee Homosapien and other gilded-age West Coast rappers..."