Yesterday, V1Creative, a local media agency group, released a video featuring some of the members of today’s hip-hop scene in Portland. Eight different MCs are showcased, ranging from the well established (Luck-One, Servge Severe, Braille) to the relatively new (Th3ory Hazit, Jon Belz), and they each pick a spot around town—Cassow’s choice to rap in front of a Tom Cramer mural is my personal favorite—to demonstrate their lyrical abilities over a heavy-hitting beat by Stumptown beat maker Terminill.
Aside from the impressive talent shown by most of the MCs featured, two things jumped out to me when I saw the video: First, it’s sunny, which is a refreshing change on the constant gray usually shown in local music videos (we have summers, too, damnit!). The second thing is that five of the MCs featured are of color, which disproves the false notion shared by some that Portland hip-hop is overwhelmingly white. While color has nothing to do with how talented of a rapper someone is—see Canadian import Josh Martinez—it’s nice to see how hip-hop continues to be an all-encompassing art form, even in a city that’s known for its lack of diversity.