Photo by Rafy8

SneakGuapo’s Got an Eye Trained on the Future in ‘Guapseason’

The rapper and ThraxxHouse forerunner’s latest is meant to be played loudly.

Behind one of the rawest and most nationally competitive PNW rap albums this year is a sweet story involving ’70s/’80s soul and funk legend Tony Gable. A crucial part of Seattle’s sound as a drummer with the band Cold, Bold, and Together, Gable died last year after dealing with Alzheimer’s. But he never stopped making music and uplifting others.

That’s what the rapper Sneakguapo remembers, and what he says he wants to do, too, with his new album Guapseason. “My eighth-grade summer, right before high school, I met Ned [the rapper Mackned] walking around the neighborhood, and met his dad, too. He was always down there playing the drums. That’s where Ned gets his music influence from … His dad was always talking about music, showing us pictures of going on tour. ‘You can do that?’ I had no clue you could do that off of music. Ned and I sat down and were like, let’s make some music.”

He’s been rapping since. Sneakguapo joined Mackned during the early phase of Thraxxhouse, a wide-reaching Internet rap collective which Ned pushed hard for years. They toured and made many songs together, including Sneakguapo’s Thraxx classic “Suicide Capitol” in 2013. That enduring blues-rap tune about the dark side of Seattle is drearier than Guapseason. But while the album’s songs about drugs, money, loyalty, and loss aren’t exactly not dreary, they do have an overall message of staying sane with an eye trained on the future. There are a lot of lyrics about taking yourself seriously, leveling up, and believing in yourself. It’s music to endure to—something that will come in especially handy once the vitamin D wears off.

Guapo says it was crazy to see the Thraxx wave blow up before his eyes, and to see the West Seattle house where he lived with Ned and Key Nyata, another Thraxx principal, turn into a pipeline sucking rappers to L.A. Sneakguapo stayed here, for the most part, and stayed in touch with local talent, which benefits him on Guapseason. Take BassKids, a producer who lives two miles from Guapo and provided the musical bedrock for the record. “We recorded four songs, and then he started working with Fetty Wap and a bunch of industry cats. I was like, ‘I’m going to turn this into an album.’ I felt like, you know, this is my time. I wanted to showcase my talent.”

It’s a record meant to be played loud, with trap drums and personal poetry written at home in his room, rapped sober. It’s the sound of an improved rapper trying to get back to his essence—that energetic spark Gable provided in the first place. “I have [Mackned’s] dad’s picture on my refrigerator right now, to this day. I look at that every day when I wake up. His dad helped me out a lot.”

More in Music

Travis Thompson’s Ride From Burien to the “Corner Store” and Beyond

The local hip-hop up-and-comer and Macklemore protege readies to headline The Showbox.

Top 10 Seattle Albums of 2018

The best the local music scene had to offer.

Minus the Bear is Ready to Hibernate

After 17 years of influential innovation, the Seattle rock band prepares to say goodbye.

Brandi Carlile Notches Six Grammy Nominations

Fellow Seattleites Alice in Chains, the late Chris Cornell, and the Seattle Symphony also are up for awards.

The boys are back in town: Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus combine forces to form Boygenius. Photo by Lera Pentelute
The Girl Power of Boygenius

Julien Baker discusses her new indie songwriter supergroup with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus.

Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall). Photo by Julien Bourgeois
Cat Power Powers Through

The acclaimed singer-songwriter chats about her stripped-down new album ‘Wanderer,’ motherhood, and when performance gets in the way of the song.

Sloucher displaying surprisingly decent posture. Photo by Eleanor Petry
Sloucher Is Not Posturing

The Seattle band doesn’t shy away from embracing ’90s guitar rock on ‘Be True.’

Blues Traveler Still Giving the Run-Around

Now-local John Popper marks the 25th anniversary of his band’s big break.

Greta Klein (center right) brings the soft indie pop Frankie Cosmos to The Neptune. Photo by Angel Ceballos
The Soft Comfort of Frankie Cosmos

Sub Pop’s tenderest band brings its indie pop to The Neptune.

Pedro the Lion. Photo by Ryan Russell
Pedro the Lion Returns with “Yellow Bike”

After nearly 15 years without new music, the Seattle band releases a song and video from the upcoming album, ‘Phoenix.’

Mitski auditioning for a role in a new <em>Poltergeist </em>film. Photo by Bao Ngo
Seattle Halloween Concert Guide

With a handful of stellar options, how should one celebrate Rocktober?

Wild Powwers Gets Under Your ‘Skin’

With its new album, the trio proves that it’s the only modern Seattle grunge band that matters.