KEXP Documentaries: “Hip-Hop - The New Seattle Sound” - Ra Scion (of Victor Shade and Common Market)

Victor Shade

photo by Patrick Richardson Wright

Ra Scion is the rapper/frontman/lyricist for Seattle hip-hop bands Common Market and Victor Shade. His raps are conscious, collegiate even, and are sometimes written in a kind of code, so the listener has to listen several times and pay close attention to get his meaning.  Originally from Kentucky, Ra got his first radio airplay in 2003 when he submitted his  self-released solo debut, The Apostrophe, to KEXP.  Since then, he’s worked with Sabzi (the producer from Blue Scholars) on the project Common Market. He’s recently dropped a new release with producer MTK under the name Victor Shade. Taking the new band name from the alter-ego of a comic book hero called Vision.  Victor Shade’s sound is based on funky soul samples. And Ra Scion sounds better than ever.

In this surprisingly personal interview, Ra talks about how Victor Shade was a name given to him by his (recently passed) brother-in-law who was into comics. How he was thrown out of high school in his native state of Kentucky for questioning authority through rap, and about his own struggles adjusting to the tension between his rap persona and being a family man with a day job.

Listen to this KEXP Documentary:

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Ra Scion’s band Victor Shade plays the Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday, July 25th!  KEXP Documentaries are created by Michele Myers. With assistance from John Felthous. Executive Producer is Kevin Cole.  If you would like to follow along more closely in the creation of these radio stories, we post research materials, songs and videos on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

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