Keepers of The Flame
They call it conscious hip hop, as in socially conscious – sometimes it can be almost political. This emerging sound is at the forefront of the local music scene in Seattle, a place that has been known to spark a music revolution or two.
Proud practitioners of the art form are the members of My Brother’s Keeper, a hodgepodge of performers comprised of a military veteran , an artist with the stage name Diggles and a recent Russian reform school student. They are also the founding members of L.A.C.O.S.A. (www.lacosamusic.com) a platform for local solo artists in the Pacific Northwest that has become a large collective of up and coming artists.
My Brother’s Keeper has a sound and feel that prepares you for some intense rhyming about bling and cars, but when they start spitting it makes you rewind and listen again when you first hear lyrics that focus on helping a homeless man you walk past every day or how the troops are victims and not just heroes of the war. You stop and ask yourself - did they just make giving change to a homeless man sound hardcore?
The listener immediately recognizes in the lyrical content in their music there is something different about the message they convey. In a music industry flooded with repetitive messages of sex, drugs, money, and bling, My Brother’s Keeper is carving a niche a music based in everyday reality. Their focus is on love, respect, and individual growth. They bring that message in a hardcore format that can go toe to toe with any hip hop act out there.
With so many tools out available today on the internet and the ability to make your music so accessible, but also with so many artist using those tools how difficult is it to get your music to a new listener?
Diggles: I feel like the hardest aspect is just getting people to click the button and listen to the music. What I found is it is the personal one on one encounters with people. It’s easier to get people to find you by clicking a button but very difficult to get them to push it.
MackE: Word of mouth is a powerful tool. You cannot underestimate the power of human connection. Being an artist in 2011 presents it’s own set of challenges .
The group that has seen each member release solo albums is also very community oriented with their music, the work they do with each other, L.A.C.O.S.A. and Cypher Mondays. Cypher Mondays was a recent addition to their long list of uniting local hip hop artist in yet another way through this free style weekly ciphers broadcast on its own internet show.
Together they have made their mark on the music scene performing with such artists as Kidz in The Hall, Macklemore, and 88 keys. Plaimaka is working on his third album titled “The InnTerview” which he describes as an experiment in which the entire album will be recorded from memory alone. None of the tracks have been written on paper. Mack E is working on his third body of work “Excuse The Interruption” which will be released this November. Diggles just released “What is This?”.
What can we expect from you guys and what are you working on right now?
MackE: I am producing an entire EP, the beats, the recording, the video, the album artwork will be done on my Iphone. I like to challenge myself. I have all ready made one beat and started writing. It is just a cool fun project. Just something that may or may not have been done before.
Plaimaka: I have a new album releasing, The InnTerview, and a new video of the second single releasing November11th. I'm starting a production duo called Nocturnal Diurnal with the producer whose done the production for my last two albums and have been recording new artist in my home studio.
Diggles: I am shin deep in my freshman album. My main source of expression recently has been Cypher Mondays. It is one of the greater projects I feel we are undertaking now.
With so much music and so many tools available on the internet and other outlets it is easy for an independent artist to get lost in the mix but count My Brother’s Keeper among the keepers of the flame.