Porter Ray’s “Past Life” Video Tells a Story Rooted in Seattle

The video off the rapper’s Sub Pop LP (out tomorrow) features scenes from MLK Way and Lake Washington.

Tomorrow, almost three years after getting signed to Sub Pop by Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, Seattle’s Porter Ray will release his long-awaited label debut, Watercolor. Through a consistent stream of dusky, noirish EPs, the gifted local MC has been telling the story of his life piece by piece—but on Watercolor, he finally paints the whole picture for listeners—a story he recently told Seattle Weekly in our Spring Arts Guide.

Today, Ray’s released the newest video off the record, album highlight “Past Life.” On the track, Ray reflects back on the eventful ups and downs of his teenage years: the death of his father and brother, friends he and guest vocalist Cashtro lost, and the feeling of being “stuck in the past.” The song’s atmospheric production certainly has a time-warped sensibility to it—echoing, delayed drums and crystalline synth shards that slip in and out of earshot. Director Patrick O’Brien-Smith’s video features Seattle almost as prominently as Ray and Cashtro—the backdrop of MLK Jr. Way and the docks on Lake Washington become characters in and of themselves:

More in Music

Sasquatch! Music Festival 2018 Lineup Revealed

David Byrne, Tyler, the Creator, Bon Iver, The National, and Modest Mouse headline the Gorge.

Courtesy Barsuk Records
Song Premiere: Hibou’s ‘Black Mirror’-Inspired “Junipero Love”

The Seattle indie pop songwriter gets lost in dreamy sound on a new track from ‘Something Familiar.’

The Encyclopedic Sets of T.Wan

Seattle’s most multifarious DJ finds her voice.

Versing Ascends to ‘Nirvana’

On their new record, the band explores self-criticism and problematic faves.

Heatwarmer. Courtesy of the artist
The Best Local Records We Heard This September Smooshed the Unsmooshable

Mackned, Heatwarmer, and Darto brought together styles we didn’t know could coexist.

In “Undying Light,” Tomo Nakayama Glows Amid the Darkness

Written as a balm before the election, forgotten, then revived, the song imagines brighter days.

Quoth the RVN

A local rapper trades hip-hop for soft grunge, exploring the darkness within.

On the Labor, Ego, and Reward Behind IVVY’s ‘Safe Within’

For Madi Levine, dance music is no place for rock stars.

Redoubling Its Efforts, an Artist-Lead Activist Group Asks Vulcan for Equitable Development

Initially emerging before the Upstream Music Fest, the coalition returns with new support and goals.

Tune In to the Lovesick Stylings of LV:SK FM

Martín Sepulveda’s hip-hop debut deconstructs masculinity and the complexities of love.

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

As appetites for live music fade, Seattle’s independent venues see the light in dance nights.

The Top 5 Local Records To Look Forward to This Fall

Don’t miss new albums from Macklemore, IVVY, Versing, Mackned, and Darto.