From time to time, Seattle's hip-hop has gotten a helping hand from the vision of independent labels that spring up to support its artists. The Blue Scholars, Common Market, and Gabriel Teodros came together as Massline in the mid-oughts; Sportn' Life has played home to the likes of D. Black, Fatal Lucciauno, and Spac3man; and the Members Only family that encompasses State of the Artist and DJs 100proof and Swervewon has been an increasingly important force. And as last night's Nectar Lounge lineup indicated, Cloud Nice--one of the town's youngest cliques--seems to be next on the list.
On a stage littered with an eclectic list of props--everything from an empty bottle of
Veuve Clicquot to a console TV playing Fritz the Cat--Cloud Nice rocked an all-family bill, and looked at home doing it. The night was headlined by the swagger-heavy trio of Jarv Dee, Nacho Picasso, and P Steez as BadAssYellowBoyz--stylized as BAYB--who celebrated the release of their debut mixtape Ziplock Hip-Hop, which dropped online in February. Support came from the Tay Sean/Thaddeus duo Helluvastate and The Good Sin with his producer 10.4 Rog--responsible for two of the best local hip-hop releases of the year.
One of the most exciting parts, standing out from an already stellar show, was the impromptu addition of Kingdom Crumbs (the collaboration between Tay Sean and Jerm of Helladope alongside Jarv Dee and Mikey Nice) after Sax G Whiz had to drop out. Playing unannounced, unheard, and unrehearsed music that, according to an announcement, probably won't be heard again for a while, the set went to prove that most people haven't seen the best the Cloud has to offer.
As a collection of notably young artists, Cloud Nice's hallmark has been its impressive rate of development. Each show is notably more put together than the last--but always the kind of raucous party where it only feels natural to have nine people onstage, pulling tighter and tighter as mike cords tangle into a demonic ball courtesy of the weaving MCs. Last night's show wrapped up amid thundering staccato shouts of "Swag!" and some near master chef-level cooking, and Cloud Nice made it clear the best is yet to come--but you should start watching now.