Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Northwest Hip-Hop Scene : Tribal Music Inc.

As for me, Northwest Hip-Hop scene is certainly the most interesting after the Canadian and the East Coast scene.  Especially Seattle (WA), which is represented by a lot of groups with jazzy productions and a laid-back East Coast vibe. 
First, I discovered this scene via Conception Records, with the fat productions of Jake One and Mr Supreme. But later, I was surprised to discover this indie label under the name  of Tribal Music Inc or Tribal Productions. I had never heard about this label until I watched a skate video with this dope track called "Don't think about It" performed by Sinsemilla, a group composed of H-Bomb and Topspin.

H-Bomb, Infinite, Topspin- Photo courtesy of Deven Morgan

This track is from "Untranslated Prescriptions", the first release of Tribal Music Inc. It was a tape produced by Vitamin D which came out in 1995, featuring Ghetto Chilldren (Vitamin D, B-Self, Capabilities, Culture Born), Infinite, Sinsemilla (H-Bomb & Topspin), Phat Mob, Union of Opposites and more...

Tape - 1995 - Tribal Music Inc. 

01- Gett Off Me Intro w/ Culture Born
02- Ghetto Chilldren feat. Truth - I Wanna Win
03- Infinite feat. Taj - 93-94
04- Sinsemilla - Confrontations
05- Phat Mob - P.H.A.T.
06- Sho Nuff - Retrospect
07- Ghetto Chilldren - Elevation
08- Intro
09- Sinsemilla - Don't Think About It
10- Leave Me Alone (skit)
11- Phat Mob - She Wants Me
12- Oh! (interlude)
13- Sho Nuff feat. Vitamin D - Shapelee Utopia
14- Union of Opposites - Enter the Cipher
15- Ghetto Chilldren - I'm An MC
16- Shante's Last Stand

In 1996 , their first official release "Do The Math" came out with productions by B-Self, King Otto, Poetry, Samson S, Shahzad, Topspin, Truth and Vitamin D. 
The album featured the same MCs as the tape plus newcomers like Narcotik (Tizzy-T & C-Note).

CD / Tape - 1996 - Tribal Music Inc.  

The same year 14 Fathoms Deep on Loosegroove Records came out. I remember reading a little review of this compilation written by Schenectadyfan in 2009 on T.R.O.Y Blog

« Fourteen Fathoms Deep is a semi-obscure compilation from The Emerald City. The vibe on this cd is mostly rugged and moody which is appropriate for a place that gets about 50 inches of rain a year. If you need some heady tunes for zoning out during the winter months, this is the ticket. Seattle's Scene is a bit different from its neighbors. The gritty nature of this collection is worlds away from much of the keyboard funk the west coast is known for. Shift gears and take a ride, northwest style. »

2xLP / CD - 1996 - Loosegroove Records 

Two years later , a new comp presented by Impact Entertainment & K Records representing the Olympia-Tacoma-Seattle underground scene saw the light of day : Classic Elements.
Slim Tribal Productions's representation in this comp with only 2 groups : Ghetto Chilldren & Sinsemilla, but the album mostly produced by Dj Sayeed & Brian Weber is really dope. The other artists are Jaleel, Troubled Sums, Beyond Reality, Soulstice, Black Anger, Blak, Nomad, Jace who is also a member of the Silent Lambs, Source Of Labor ... 
For Info, Source Of Labor started out in 1989 with Dj Kamikaze, Negus & Wordsayer but in 1997 Kamikaze was replaced by Vitamin D.

CD - 1998 - Impact Ent. 

From CMJ New Music Monthly Magazine - August 1998 

From XXL Magazine #4 - 1998

Vitamin D, Capabilities, Culture Born, B-Self - Photo courtesy of Deven Morgan

Between all these comps, one of the most prolific crew is certainly The Ghetto Chilldren. Vitamin D formed the group in 1991 with B-Self while they were students at Garfield High School in Seattle. I know a tape has been released under the title "Monologs & Soliloquys" but I've never seen a physical copy.

From the tape "Monologs & Soliloquys" - Courtesy of PugetSoundz.

In 2013 , the Freestyle Demo Tape came out with tracks recorded between 1996 and 1997.

Demo - 2013 - Tribal Music Inc. 


I couldn't stop talking about this Northwest scene for long hours because there are so many albums and groups to discover ... but we'll talk about It in a next chapter...  Peace 

Props to Tribal LegacyDeven Morgan, Topspin, Diana Adams, Mike Clark, Jack Devo & Alex XelaSchenectadyfan,  R.I.P Taj Abdul Randall aka Tizzy T (Narcotik)


  1. Awesome! I grew up on all of this stuff. Still glad there's people that still care about the classic NW hip hop scene.

  2. Been enjoying music from Tribal Productions since the mid 90s. Still havebmy Narcotik intro casette i got in 95. Bought the do the math comp cd in 96. HClassic NW Seattle hip hop i still play to this day. KodyB Tac. Wa