Because of its geographic location at the very far west of the US, and its relative isolation, Seattle has developed a rap subculture like no other: there’s a distinct sound which marks it as different to any other in the country. Emerald City has produced the likes of Sir Mix-A-Lot, Macklemore, and DoNormaal, and their style is notable for its idiosyncratic storytelling, humour, and big personalities – as well as an unswerving commitment to honesty, MariBased1 is in this respect, a man of his city, and along with his label mate Mr Benjamin, is a proud exponent of Seattle hip hop. Their new track, ‘Doe Boi’, comes with a music video which shows a side of Seattle that tourists are unlikely to ever see.
MariBased1 is well known in Seattle, and has won awards for his hard-rhyming and four to the floor straight to the gut emcee style. He’s got a distinctive flow and tells vivid tales of the Seattle streets, illuminated by the bumping beats and tight, tough narratives. His mixtape, ‘Mariotto Volume 1’ is what has made him famous, and his latest single, ‘Doe Boi’, will no doubt help even more; he works fast, pulls no punches, and gets across what he wants to put across.
MariBased1 and Mr Benjamin tell their story with determination and grit. They turned to fellow rapper and video director Sonny Bonoho, who records as WRLORD. Bonoho brings together the local’s eye view of Seattle: the squat houses, spare scrubby vegetation, and the corner stores, gated up in their low-income neighbourhoods. It’s stark and dark – and definitely doesn’t need special effects to create the mood, with Bonoho getting massive emotional response from the shots of lone streetlights, dark parking logs, and deserted intersections. Even more nightmarish is the white mask worn by MariBased1, which works well with the quick cuts and double exposures.