photos by Dan Muller
intro by James Truitt with Christy Thacker
The last decade has seen Seattle rise as a Hip Hop hotbed, and a large part of that movement’s success is due to the talents and hard work of DJ Sabzi and MC RA Scion, who together form Common Market. Since coming together in 2004, the pair has been bringing positive, artful rap music back to the arena while getting hands in the air everywhere with their killer combo of Sabzi’s soulful and infectious beats and the smooth delivery of RA Scion’s conscious lyricism. The duo’s self-titled debut coolly strutted onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2005, grabbing the attention of hungry Hip Hop fans as well as the endorsement of legendary Hip Hop pioneer KRS-one. The more conceptual Tobbaco Road followed in 2008, an ambitious record that further proved Common Market’s creative prowess on the mic. Sabzi and RA Scion’s skills in the studio are matched only by their engaging presence on stage. Before their scheduled set on the Fisher stage Sunday, KEXP was lucky enough to host them in the Bumbershoot Music Lounge.
Ra Scion hopped across the stage introduced by Scion’s epic, gospel-like mix of sounds and samples. Thirty seconds into the set and you knew you weren’t about to sit through half-an-hour of bitches-and-hoes-based rhymes. Ra Scion slammed the audience with his powerful voice and storytelling lyrics, painting vivid imagery of social, political and personal trials and tribulations. Between Ra Scion’s commending voice and Sabzi’s all-encompassing programming, the two truly broke away from the typical Hip Hop confines and took us on a musical escapade filled with gospel, blues, electronic, and even classic rock. In an audience uproar, the Hip Hop masters left us with the southern blues piece “Tobacco Road,” sending us off in a triumphant, everything’s-gonna-be-ok spirit.
Check out Common Market 5:45-6:45 p.m. at the Bumbershoot Fisher Green Stage, Sunday, Sept. 6.