Unexpected Arrival
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Unexpected Arrival


Band Hip Hop


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The best kept secret in music


"Spotlight: Unexpected Arrival"

By Keith Ancker

The kid known as (Neema of) Unexpected Arrival has made his mark on Seattle Hip Hop by hustling his a** off, moving units of various projects and just keeping his name bubbling in the scene. After five years, Unexpected Arrival feels like it might be time for Seattle to touch down in the big time. Peep game from one of the (formerly) brokest cats you ever met...

1. For those who don't know, who are you, where are you from, what are you reppin' and what are you doing?

My real name is Neema, but most people know me as Unexpected arrival. I been doing the Hip Hop thing in Seattle for about five years, this is my third album, second full length and fifth release, since I started. I pretty much been putting out a release every year since I came out. I represent Seattle Hip Hop. I live Seattle, I breathe Seattle, I love Seattle.

2. Give people a history lesson on Unexpected Arrival, what has happened to get you up to this point?

My story. I graduated Inglemore High School. I grew up in Kenmore, on the eastside. I graduated in 2000 and my senior year I started to...I'd always been writing poetry, but then I started to turn it into rap. I was looking in The Stranger, in the back and there was advertisements for studios, and I saw an ad for a studio that was just starting out called Undercaste, and I started going there just to record a demo. The demo turned into an album, then I put the album out and every year since then I've just been putting out product. Everything I do, I do 110%, I just try to put everything I have into it. I don't half-a** anything. If you ask me to come fix your plumbing, I will learn how to do it and do a d**m good job. You're not gonna get a half-a**ed job out of me. So everything I do, I do it do death. The first album came out, then the next year I dropped the "Take Control" maxi-single, that KUBE 93 picked up and added to their rotation, it ended up going number one on Hot 7 At 7. The next year I dropped this album called If We Try, which was my second album, we moved about 2,000 units. Moved that, did a few shows, that was in 2002, that year I did the Showbox. I headlined the Showbox. "Unexpected Arrival at the Showbox." That was my big show at the time. I was constantly doing shows. In 2003 I dropped a mixtape. And actually, in 2004 I didn't drop anything, in 2004 I was in the studio, so not every year, almost every year. And then this last year I dropped My Life For Sale, the album, and it's been out for about a month. We just been grindin'. I've doing shows, I've worked with a lot of artists. I've been blessed. A lot of artists, they'll complain about resources and whatnot, but as difficult as it is to make it out here in the Northwest, to make things happen, I will also say that I've earned everything I've gotten. No one's ever given anything to me, I've always worked for it. But at the same time, I have been at the right place at the right time more than once. I recognize that and I'm thankful for that. Because Karma is a motherf***er man. I learned that the hard way.

3. What is the idea behind My Life For Sale, what was going through your head while you were putting it together, and what do you want people to get out of it?

I got evicted. I was living in this apartment in the U District for about three years, and we got evicted, so we were living out in Federal Way at this other apartment. We didn't have s**t. No furniture, no bed. You walked into that apartment and it was nothing. I a little comforter and these two pillows. That's what I slept in for three months. This was right after we put out the If We Try album, we sold out all the copies we had pressed up. I just got to this point where we got evicted, I had no money. I had no record out. All the buzz that had come out on me had died out. A lot people around me, who I thought were friends at the time, threw their hands up in the air and were like "I'm not f****n' with this dude." Financially I had hit rock bottom, I didn't have nothing left. I was in Federal Way, me and my guys, I got a job and said f**k it, I'm going to put out an album. I went back to the studio and just started writing the best records of my life. Every song on the album came from my heart. At least five of them I wrote lying on the floor. We didn't even have a table. When your backs against the wall, you learn about who you are. But I'm doing much better now. I have a futon. I'm living life and loving it. I just bought a car, so I can't complain.

4. Last of Unexpected Arrival

The last book you read?
DMX's autobiography.

The last fast food place you ate at?
I had a cobb salad from McDonalds.

The last car you crashed?
I didn't crash my car. My roommate and manager - Ryan - crashed it. He didn't even ask if he could take it out. I was at work, I was retarded and left the spare key on the counter, and he decided he needed to go pay some utility bill, and he took it and he never made it to the utility pl - Seaspot.com

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

By Larry Mizell Jr.

...Thursday, October 12, and Friday, October 13, at Chop Suey, Neema of Unexpected Arrival celebrates 10,000 units independently sold of his My Life for Sale LP. Even his many detractors can't be mad at that—or maybe they could. The all-ages Thursday-night show features D. Black, Byrdie, Grynch, Rubio, HD, and Cop n Flip Records; the 21+ Friday-night show features the Parker Brothaz, Cool Nutz, Mr. D.O.G., Futuristic, and Stre Loc and Five One of UTI. In his defense, Neema contends, "Look, I include everybody. I put 15 million cats on my shows, I never took nobody's money, I ain't rapin' nobody, I don't sign artists. I'm a team player. See, this whole scene is bubbling and I love that. What's more, I've been so blessed to have the team I have. I'm not a one-man show by no means."

When it comes to the question of local politics and media coverage, however—both of which have not exactly been friendly toward him—Neema grows visibly agitated. "That's honestly a source of frustration for me, dog. I think Seattle, in my god-honest opinion, a lot of time, they don't wanna be leaders; they wanna be followers. If a lot of the media outlets decided to not follow trends, there's a lot of good shit everybody could get put onto. I'm not gonna sit here and be mad because I'm not getting my shine, because I get it in other ways; I am getting my love, but there's still a grip of local tastemakers that sleep hard on me." Seattle's most-hated-on MC even has words for some of those tastemakers in question: "Yo, Seattle Weekly, Stranger—when your 'best-ofs' come out, I need to see Unexpected Arrival in there, because in the last five years, nobody has moved more records. I'm sorry, but it is a factual statement." Duly noted. - The Stranger


-“Take Control” Remix (KUBE, 2002)
-“If We Try” (KMIH, 2003)
-“Julie” Remix (KNHC, 2003)
-“Angel” (KMIH, 2004)
-“Hat Low” feat Dylan of Da Band (KMIH, KUBE 2005)
-“Dance for Me” feat Wingo of Jagged Edge (KMIH, 2005)
-“Stick and Move” (KMIH, 2005)
-“Whispers in the Wind” (KMIH/KUBE, 2005)

“Unexpected Arrival” (2001)
“Take Control” Maxi Single (2002)
“If We Try” (2003)
“UA” Mixtape (2004)
“My Life for Sale” (2005)
"Goodfellaz" Mixtape (2006)
"The Essence" (2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


The collective known as Unexpected Arrival has been not only a trailblazer, but a mainstay in Seattle and Northwest hip-hop. With numerous hit singles and the ability to stay relevant to not only Seattle hip-hop but to his fans, Unexpected Arrival's Lead MC Neema has been able to adapt to the ever-changing sound of hip-hop and grow as an artist.

His last release “My Life for Sale” he has been able to transcend his music to the masses through songs like “Whispers in the Wind” and “Hat Low”. This album appeals to the most picky of hip hop and general music fans. With guest appearances from Twista, Wingo of Jagged Edge, Kurupt and Dylan (formerly of Da Band), the album propelled to the top of popularity around Seattle, selling 11,000 units independently around the region.

Currently promoting his latest album, The Essence, as well as upcoming projects, Neema continues to sell thousands of CDs and sell-out shows. The dedication he and his crew have to their music shows through their accomplishments and the respect they receive wherever they go.

In addition to the success of Neema, Unexpected Arrival also features one of the hottest upcoming DJs in the Seattle scene, DJ Nphared. In addition to his duties in Unexpected Arrival, Nphared can be see collaborating with artists such as Grynch, D. Black and many more artists.

Through his Revenge Series, he has released sucessful and acclaimed mixtapes including "Goodfellaz" from his collective Unexpected Arrival crew, and "The 40 Bar Dash" showcasing 19 local artists as a collective. With upcoming mixtapes from Jay Barz, Grynch, D.Black, Neema and many more, Nphared seeks to cement his name amongst the already accompished DJs in Seattle