Daudi AbeMar 23, 2022
A History of Hip Hop in Seattle
University of Washington Press 2020
West Coast hip hop means much more than LA, argues Dr. Daudi Abe, a professor of humanities at Seattle Central College. In Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle (University of Washington Press, 2020), Abe argues that Seattle deserves an honored spot in the cultural geography of hip hop in the United States. Although less well known than Los Angeles, New York, or even Atlanta and New Orleans, Seattle has spawned two Grammy-award winning artists (Sir Mix-a-Lot and Macklemore) and has had an active hip hop, graffiti, and breaking scene since the early 1980s. Hip Hop, as Abe argues in the book, is all about making yourself known and representing where you're from as a means of communicating to others what it's like being from that place. In that regard, Seattle has consistently been a loud and proud voice in that regard, with the city's hip hop sitting alongside grunge and indie rock as parts of the musical landscape of the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.